Can't Restore to Earlier Time - Windows XP

Posted on 2005-05-13
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-06-27
The story starts with Symantec/Norton.  

I run Norton System Works and Personal Firewall on a 2GHz Windows PC; XP Pro OS.  the Norton programs have been working fine forever.  Today, however, I kept getting a "virus profile out of date, please run auto Norton update" message.  When I ran the Norton update, I got a "can't find the auto update, please reinstall autoupdate" message.

I first tried to restore the computer to a couple earlier dates.  This did not solve the problem.  I decided to uninstall and reinstall the Symantec programs.

To reinstall them, they must first be uninstalled.  I did this.  When I tried to reinstall them, I got "detected prior version, can't complete install" messages.  

So, hating Norton, I did what any good idiot would do.  I went to the registry and deleted every entry containing Symantec and Norton.  I figured with nothing in the registry, the reinstalls would work.  There must have been a gazillion entries.  I deleted them all .... thinking I could restore the computer to an earlier time if this failed.

I tried to reinstall the programs and still get "can't complete installation" error messages.  I tried to bail and restore the PC to an earlier time.

But now I can't access "Help and Support" in Windows XP.  When I click on it, nothing happens!!!  It tries to execute the program (according to Task Manager, but it immediately unloads.  I also tried running restore from the command line, and this did not work.

I need help getting the PC back to a point where I can restore it to an earlier time - where "help and support" gets me to a restore option.  After I do this, I'll figure out how to re-load new firewall and virus software
Question by:Beavis911
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Expert Comment

ID: 14001929
when you boot up and press f8 to enter the options screen here you can choose last known good config that worked. To reste your cmaos to its original settings remove the battery drop it out, then reboot without.
Or you can set your computer to boot from cd first put your xp cd in and boot press enter at setup then r for recovery, at the c:\windows  prompt type in
chkdsk /r  press enter
once done remove the cd then type in exit press enter and reboot
if your computer has been infetced from any number of baddies one option is to find the hosts file in the c windows system32 drivers etc and delete all the sites below the  main entries this will should allow you to access all anti virus sites again, it was good to remove Nortons as its a pain, try avg free edition7 it works well.
you can download it here but do scroll down to the bottom and download the free one not the trial one the other is below this>>



Author Comment

ID: 14002090
Merete:  Thanks for the comments.  

Before I screw with the CMOS, can you explain why you think its a CMOS and not Win XP OS problem?

The PC runs fine.  Windows XP runs fine, with the exception that I can't get to the restore screen.  That is the only anomality.  

RE firewall and virus software.  I loaded and am using PC-cillin.  Consumer Reports ranks it better than Norton.  So far, it looks pretty good.  The PC was not infected with anything.  Norton did a good job ... until it broke.  

The Windows XP restore function remains the issue.
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Accepted Solution

Merete earned 1500 total points
ID: 14002446
Beavis911,  Norton system works has many issues with lots of complaints and is known to be a problem to uninstall completely so I included that.
also the original drivers/settings can become so corrupted by uninstalling re-installing or deleting regestry keys patches not installed correctly, that windows may have been dependent on and as in your case Norton may have been using them that the machine cannot perform its normal functions as some little thing is missing.. re-setting the cmos is a fast way to put it back to the original..

You cannot restore files deleted using the system restore thought I'd mention that.

If you prefer run the sfc /scannow and if there is any corrupted files windowsxp cd will repair/restore them.
Norton does use everything to attain a very high security level however if you removed system regestry before stopping all its services you may have damaged some crucial windows files.
put your xpcd in the rom let it open then close that startup screen, from the start button> run type in sfc /scannow press enter

You may have used up all your restore points, try setting a new restore point to see if it works.. go to start all programs accessories>system tools>system restore


Author Comment

ID: 14006556
For certain, I did not terminate System Works or NAV or Personal Firewall services before I tried to manually delete all components out of the registry.  If critical windows files could have been damaged, that's what I did.

I ran sfc /scannow, but that did not fix the problem.  Maybe it's because my original XP Pro disk is a first issue ... does not include Service Pack 2 stuff.  It ran the whole scan, lots of hard drive activity, but nothing changed.  

RE restore points.  I also run TuneUp which provides secondary access to Windows XP restore points.  I can see all the restore points using TuneUp.  When I attempt to restore the PC to an earlier time using TuneUp, though, it goes through all the motions of restoring, but it does not work.  I should say all the motions but one.  During a retore operation, the last screen that appears before completing the restore is the screen that says "Restore successful, if this does not fix the problem, try another point."  That particular screen DOES NOT appear.  The PC reboots as if it completed the restore without this screen and without having made any changes.

And your suggestion to see if I can set a new restore point ... remember ... I can't access the restore screen or help and support.  

Current status:

- I can't access the "help and support" page to attempt a system restore.  The restore points are visible using TuneUp, but not working.
- The search function no longer works.  
- I can access the internet but the PC behaves strangely.  I have to bypass my wireless router and connect direct to the dsl modum.  Then it connects, but the systray icon shows that it is attempting to connect - and has not yet connected.    
- I have PC-cillin on the machine and am keeping an eye out for viruses.  The system corruption, however, has presently disabled the firewall function.  PC Cillin behaves as if it is not registered when it is.  When I try to re-register it now, I get conflict errors.

Again, I appreciate the help!

Author Comment

ID: 14006788
Merete:  I don't know why it worked, but one particular restore point I accessed through TuneUp restored my system to a state with which I can live.  PC-cillin is working, the restore and search functions are working, Norton is completely off the machine, and network connectivity is normal.

I reset the restore to a clean working copy and deleted all other restore points that probably got corrupted.

Although none of the ideas you offered actually worked, I did appreciate the help, and I did learn a couple things.  

If you don't run TuneUp, I highly recommend it.  

Cheers, Beavis911
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Expert Comment

ID: 14008070
great to hear Beavis911  I think your right too maybe there was some corruption in one of the restore points, hindsight windows98 used to get that damn setup.dll corrupted constantly preventing installs correctly, could even have been some kind of virus in one the system restore folders, been known to happen a lot lately, then you cant update or access anti virus sites and your current antivirus programs wont update, do you know that no antivirus program can scan a system restore folder? it is a good practise to delete them occasionally..  you may have inadvertantly cleaned it out. Thanks for the points too.
Regards M ;)

Author Comment

ID: 14008196
You're welcome M!  It's my own fault.  I've been wanting to try PC-Cillin for some time so I figured worse case, if I screwed up Norton and couldn't restore the Symantec products, I'd switch.  Norton really pisses me off.  No free tech support and it's harder than hell to reinstall if necessary.  PC-Cillin provides free tech support, scans more quickly, and has all the features of Personal Firewall and Norton Antivirus rolled into one.    

I just didn't plan to break Win XP.  

Before posting to the exchange, I got PC-Cillin and XP working fine.  But I got greedy and tried to reinstall System Works.  It loaded fine, but in the process, I picked up a worm from guess where ... the Symantec website.  Ironic, no?  What a pain.  I downloaded the repair tool on my other computer and ran it on the XP machine.  Guess what?  The Norton product wouldn't scan Norton-related folders ... which is where the worm was.  

I found the reminants of the worm in the NProtected Recycle folder once I finally got a restore operation to work; 5,300 entries!  

Even after all this, there is still a Symantec Common Files folder on my hard drive.  It's got 8  sub folders full of .dlls, .exe programs, etc.  I tried to delete the folder and subfolders, but it caused the PC to crash and I had to restore it ... again.  I guess I have to leave these on the PC.  

I do delete all restore points once every couple months - just a habit.

Thanks again.
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ID: 14008414

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