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I am administrator but am locked out of administrator functions

Posted on 2007-11-30
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Last Modified: 2008-02-01
The OS is XP-Home.   Recently, someone installed a high-speed internet modem and software on this computer, which belongs to a friend.  Now, even though he is the only administrator for this computer, he does not have access to his control panel, nor can he run regedit or control.  Basically, he is told that the action has been canceled because he lacks permission and should contact his administrator.  He cannot run a restore operation.   There isn't any obvious way to get to his "users" area to make any changes, since he has no access to his Control Panel.
The usual tricks don't work:  Cannot access any Control Panel operations and can not edit registry.

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Question by:rdaves
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orangutang earned 167 total points
ID: 20387275
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by:and235100
and235100 earned 167 total points
ID: 20387279
This sounds like a malware-related issue that has changed a couple of registry entries.
Run a full system scan with an updated version of SuperAntiSpyware:
http://www.superantispyware.com/download.html

Then, try a full online scan using Housecall:
http://housecall.trendmicro.com/

Otherwise, post a HJT log:
http://www.trendsecure.com/portal/en-US/threat_analytics/hijackthis.php
Do not fix anything - just post the log to this question for the time being.
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by:and235100
ID: 20387283
This is the most likely entry that has been changed to stop registry editing:
http://www.pctools.com/guides/registry/detail/543/

I would run this tool from symantec - it should give you registry control back:
http://securityresponse.symantec.com/avcenter/venc/data/tool.to.reset.shellopencommand.registry.keys.html
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by:veaygn
veaygn earned 166 total points
ID: 20387886
This is a malware infection (w32.brontok or w32.fujacks IIRC).  You will also not be able to see any hidden files and folders in Windows, even when you make changes under "Tools > Folder Options > View".

What anti-virus product do you have installed?
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by:rdaves
ID: 20389467
and235100: I will do the downloads you suggest and give it a try.

veayqn: The fellow who owns this computer is not computer literate.  I cannot find any anti-virus on his machine.  He goes on the internet via a DSL modem, which is a hardware firewall, however, he has no anti-virus program for offline projects.  I don't know if he has his windows firewall turned on, since he lacks privilege.

Both you guys:  I will spend about another half hour on this project (have already spent about 3-hours) and then I am going to reformat his hard drive and reinstall Windows XP.  In my experience, a computer this screwed up can't be fixed and rather than spend the rest of my life on earth trying to fix it, I am going to spend an hour wiping the HD and reinstalling.  Malware cannot survive this and it is often the best way to go.

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by:and235100
ID: 20389474
To ensure that a viral infection (if that is the issue) does not remain - crate a bootable cd of DBAN (http://dban.sourceforge.net/) and wipe the computer's hard disk with it. This will ensure no data is present on the disk.
Some data can actually survivie a windows-style format - as the format is a high-level format - not a "low-level" - which is much more effective. DBAN uses a proper low-level format.
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by:rdaves
ID: 20390494
System was too fouled up.  Wiped HD and reinstalled software.
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by:and235100
ID: 20391844
Thanks - no problem.
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