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Ctrl-Alt-Del: The window opens for a brief second then closes by itself

The same thing happens when i open MS Security Center from the system tray. Security Center opens for a second then closes by itself.

This  is a clients PC and I've tried many things to fix it but no joy. My current thinking is that McAfee version 7 may be the cause. I tried to uninstall it but it wont uninstall from Add/Remove programs.

This is XP pro box. Any ideas?
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3 Solutions

run a full virus scan,

if that doesnt find anything,
run ad-aware

Let us look at your hijackthis log to see if it's clean.

Please download HijackThis 1.99.1
Open Hijackthis, click "Do a system scan and save a logfile" don't fix anything yet.

Then go to the below link and login using your Experts-Exchange username and password.
Click on "Expert Area" tab
type or paste the link to your Question
"Browse" your pc to the location of your Hijackthis log and click "Upload"
Copy the resulting "url" and post it back here.

OR: paste the log to either of these sites:
1. http://www.rafb.net/paste/
then at the bottom left corner click "paste"
Copy the address/url and post it here.

2. or at --> http://www.hijackthis.de/ 
and click "Analyse", click "Save".  Then post the link to the saved list here.
Ryan_RIT Systems AdministratorCommented:
are you the administrator of your network? they can can set it up so that certain files will not run (no matter what their path is)
the only way around this is to rename a copy of the file
ie c:\windows\system32\mshearts.exe won't run
copy the file
rename it to mshearts1.exe
running the copy should now work

so try this:
goto %SystemRoot%\System32
find the file called  wscui.cpl    'this is the security centre file
copy it and rename it to wscui1.cpl
run this and if it works make a shortcut to it where ever you want

hope this helps
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What McAfee products do you have in that pc?

If the Add/Remove programs doesn't uninstall it then use VSCleanupTool.exe
All info taken from here -->  http://ts.mcafeehelp.com/?siteID=1&resolution=1024x768

Please follow the instructions below to run the VirusScan removal tool. This will completely remove VirusScan from your computer.

Download and save the Virus Scan removal tool VSCleanupTool.exe to your desktop.
Locate VSCleanupTool.exe on your desktop and double-click to launch.
The removal tool will schedule and display a time when the removal process will begin.
Note: The displayed time should be within one mintute of the current system time shown in the bottom right side of the screen.
Removal will begin at the displayed time.
During this process, several icons will be created on your desktop. All of these new icons, except one, will be removed when the uninstall is complete and the computer has been restarted. The file mccleanup.log will remain on the desktop. Once you have verified the removal was successful, you can delete this file.
When finished, the following message will be displayed: The machine must reboot to complete the uninstallation. Reboot now?
Press "Y" on your keyboard to restart your computer and complete the removal process.

If VirusScan is the only McAfee service installed on your computer, uninstall SecurityCenter.
Stephen McTigueAssistant Director of Information TechnologyCommented:
Try clicking in an empty space on your bottom task bar (where all the minimized programs go)  and go to task manager.
veedarAuthor Commented:
Thanks all for your suggestions. I had already performed adaware/virus/hijackthis scans but the problem persisted.

I just went to safemode and ran msconfig to disable all startup apps and that fixed things. So there must be something running at start up that is causing this odd behavior

The only McAfee product installed is Virusscan Enterprise. I'll give the VSCleanup tool a try.
Hijackthis is not a standalone tool, most often it needs another tool to fix if malware/viruses is present(especially if it's an infection)
I suggested hijackthis so I can look at all the entries present.

Since you already disabled entries in msconfig they wouldn't show up in the hijackthis log.

If Mcafee is not the culprit on this one, can you please enable ALL startup entries in your msconfig and run a Hijackthis scan again and let me see the log?
Ryan_RIT Systems AdministratorCommented:
did you try renaming the %SystemRoot%\System32\wscui1.cpl file to something else?
it could be as easy as that. Certain apps at my school network don't work - they start up and then quit automatically after a second - i rename it and it works fine.
I've also used freshUI to stop certain apps running on my computer (like viruses/apps that hog CPU time, etc)
in case some program is trying to not let you use your taskmanager, do the following:

- first try CTRL+SHIFT+ESC, thats a hotkey for the taskman, maybe that works.
- there are also two commandline tools integrated into xp to list and kill processes. click on "start", "run", enter "cmd". to display a list of processes like in the taskman, type in "tasklist". remember each PID of a suspicious and then for each of them enter "taskkill 2372" (in case some program has the PID 2372)
>>Thanks all for your suggestions. I had already performed adaware/virus/hijackthis scans but the problem persisted.<<
Can we please look at the hijackthis log?

>>I just went to safemode and ran msconfig to disable all startup apps and that fixed things. So there must be something running at start up that is causing this odd behavior<<
Doing that only stops the culprit from running at startup, that does not remove them from your system. And you need to know exactly what kind of malware they are so you can remove them properly, and that's where hijackthis' log helps.
Can you please enable all startup entries in msconfig and then run hijackthis and show us the log?(you don't need to reboot after enabling them, just get the hijackthis log and you can disable them again)
veedarAuthor Commented:
Thanks guys I'm all set on this one.
No problem, and thank you too.
Ryan_RIT Systems AdministratorCommented:
thanks for the points, what did you do to fix it in case other EE members have the same prob and stumble accross this post?
veedarAuthor Commented:
I'm not 100% sure what the fix was as this was a home system heavily infected with malware etc. It had no functioning antivirus and XP firewall had been turned off.  Disabling all startup apps with msconfig allowed me to get the system stable enough to run the usual tools to clean things up.
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