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stirlingit asked on

Explorer.exe not working - possible virus

Hello,

4 PCs in 3 different companies have developed the same fault.

They can get to the welcome / login screen and once logged in they get no desktop and no taskbar (startmenu).

Ctrl-Alt-Del brings up the taskmanager and we can run the explorer.exe direct but get only a browsing window and no start menu or icons.

We have tried Anti-Virus Scans, Anti-Spyware, Anti-Rootkit, uninstall of recent XP updates & replaced explorer.exe and SFC /scannow all to no avail.

Our only option is a fresh install, but without knowing what the issue is it may re-appear and it seems more PCs may fall under the same issue.

We searches suggest a virus/malware but nothing seems to pick it up. Running in Safe Mode give the same issue, no icons or taskbar. System restore does not work and Last Know Good Config.

Basically we are stumped.
Anti-Virus AppsWindows XPAnti-Spyware

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stirlingit

8/22/2022 - Mon
slam69

if you right click the desktop select properties and select deskotp select customise desktop and then see if my computer etc are enabled
ASKER
stirlingit

Right click is disabled even with explorer.exe running.

Customise desktop (via control panel) does not show anything odd.
slam69

blimey sounds pretty foobar'd

And this is happening across 3 seperate companies? where is the link and how did they come to be with you?

Can you see if anyof them have had a recent common update?

be doubtful 3 different companies could suffer the same infection at teh same time unless it was a [nother big virus problem and havent seen anything reported
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ASKER
stirlingit

Does seem odd,

Our thoughts were either a virus or windows update (maybe even SP3)

But after removing all updated (from a 30 day period) and rebooting with a SFC /scannow they are still blank.

Forums on the web suggest Virus "Vunto" varient I think, but scanned for that and still nothing.

Also its odd that a virus in this day and age would do that much damage as ususally they want the user not to know there is a virus so the machine can become a "bot". Weird.
slam69

im def away from virus too co-incidental, again could you advice are you the out sourced it for these three companies and they have all come to you? trying to see the link


id beinclined to take one machine and start rolling back teh updates one y one to see if this resolves it ive searched sp3 which sounded like a possible but cant find anything linked to that
slam69

you could try running a repair install on one machine see if that resolves, if it does then def poiting to an update
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ASKER
stirlingit

We do, do the outsourced IT, though the first instance happened on a laptop on a saturday. Our last workin on that laptop was over 2 months ago.

Running an XP re-install from setup at the moment.

Still would like to know what caused this, cannot find a single odd process
slam69

if we find that the repair install fixes it then we can work on one of the others back through the updates chronologically to see if thats the cause

its not somethign silly like a symantc auto scan on startup or anything like that is it?

Disable all av on one of teh other machines as if they all use teh same could be an update to that has caused it
ASKER
stirlingit

Cannot stand symantec

Machine had AVG but even in safe mode still the same problem.

Its something Core to the system, just dont know what.
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slam69

AVG did an update to their core program about 10 days ago i believe ??
ASKER
stirlingit

All the machine do have AVG, that is a connection.

Though there are about 50+ that also have AVG and they are fine.
slam69

needle and haystack spring to mind lol, how did teh repair turn out?
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ASKER
stirlingit

Repair from setup CD (2nd repair option, not the repair console) seems to have fixed the issue.

Need to do some testing but all icons are there and so is start menu.

Will give an update later.
slam69

cool im here for another couple of hours
ASKER
stirlingit

AVG 8 has been installed (without our knowledge)

Updating AVG and Windows updates

Running the repair on the 2nd machine.
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slam69

think you might be looking at your culprit......
ASKER
stirlingit

updated AVG and XP up to pre-SP3.

Still seems fine.

going to run some additional spyware / anti-virus scans
ASKER
stirlingit

Going to install SP3, see what happens :)
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slam69

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ASKER
stirlingit

Thanks Slam, have some points :)