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An access denied error was returned while attempting to change a service. You may need to log on using an adminstrator account to make the specified changes

I'm using Windows XP sp3 with all patches installed.

Whenever I make a change in msconfig I get "An access denied error was returned while attempting to change a service. You may need to log on using an adminstrator account to make the specified changes", but the changes are still made.

I also get "Operation could not be completed" if I try to start the add printer wizard from the printers folder.

I am desperate to install a printer and suspect that these two errors are somehow related.

I have scanned as a slave drive for viruses and also with the pc booted up.


Any help is appreciated.

TIA
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WhoIsThatChild
Asked:
WhoIsThatChild
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2 Solutions
 
cantorisCommented:
http://www.techspot.com/vb/topic42578.html
Lots of suggestions there - do you have the HP "PML Driver HPZ12"?  Or McAfee software?
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ibrahim52Team LeaderCommented:
But are you sure,that you have administrator privileges on your account ?
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acl-puzzCommented:
you simply need to login by administrator account..
 have you forgot its password? if this is the problem simply paste this into command line

net user administrator   *

now it will u to reset admin account password give urs custom password there.

now login with administrator account and do whatever you wanna do.



Cheers
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WhoIsThatChildAuthor Commented:
@ Ibrahim - yes I am sure I have admin rights

@ acl-buzz - I am administrator and have used the actual admin account too

@ cantoris - I had already checked the pml driver thing but there's a few other tips on that link I hadn't seen before so I will start checking them now and post back when finished.

Thanks
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WhoIsThatChildAuthor Commented:
@ cantoris - OK apart from sfc (which I am running now) I have pretty much eliminated all those possibilities from that link. No traces in registry of HP driver. I have copied msconfig from another machine and still the same problems. Don't have mcafee (doesnt seem to be any traces of mcafee from any previous installs either). Currently running Norton 360.

I am downloading an HP printer cd as I type and will try to do an install then removal to see what happens - after sfc finishes of course.

I will post back ASAP with the results.

Thanks
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WhoIsThatChildAuthor Commented:
OK - installing and uninstalling did leave the pml driver in services but disabling it made no difference.

Any more suggestions?

TIA
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cantorisCommented:
Have you tried turning Norton off or even uninstalling it?  Any more 3rd-party software on there?
And what about creating a new local administrative account and try it from within there in case your current account has some obscure corruption.
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ibrahim52Team LeaderCommented:
Or it must be a spyware script which is stopping you to install anything.Please scan your system with Anti Malwarebytes,if possible and one more thing if you can do.Please post the hijack logs if possible.Thank you.
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cantorisCommented:
You might want to try RKill as it can fix weird registry problems caused by malware that lock you out of things an admin should be able to do:
http://www.technibble.com/rkill-repair-tool-of-the-week/
Also look at the author's comment:
http://www.technibble.com/rkill-repair-tool-of-the-week/#comment-12139
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WhoIsThatChildAuthor Commented:
@ ibrahim52: Mate I already scanned with Malwarebytes, Comodo, Bitdefender,
 as a slave drive and then with Malwarebytes, Norton and Bitdefender with the pc booted up. (Please find hj log attached)
@ cantoris: I've downloaded rkill and attached the log file - nothing found, still not fixed


Help please????

TIA





rkill.log
hijackthis.log
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WhoIsThatChildAuthor Commented:
@ Cantoris - sorry I missed your post timed at 8.47.

Yes I have tried disabling norton but have no confidence that it is actually completely disabled. I have taken the key from Help>About and assume it will re-install OK if I uninstall it. But as this happens in safe mode too I suspect it is one or more reg entries that have been screwed up, and wether they would be reverted back to a working condition after uninstalling the program that screwed it up remains to be seen (if we ever identify what caused it).

Please guys, remember that I need to install a printer and the add printer wizard gives me the error I stated in my question, - the msconfig problem is something else I noticed and assume they are related.

TIA
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WhoIsThatChildAuthor Commented:
PS - yes I created a local admin account too
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cantorisCommented:
From power on, what errors if any are logged in your System and Application event logs?  And are any logged when you try adding a printer or using msconfig?  Perhaps there are some clues there.
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WhoIsThatChildAuthor Commented:
@cantoris : I looked in event viewer then googled one of the errors and hey presto! - It was mscms.dll missing from system32 folder which seems to have been causing the printer error. For completeness I have attached a copy of the event viewer entry.
Still have the msconfig issue, so seems they were not related, but as we can now install a printer we can carry on using it. Would love to know what is causing msconfig problem as I have previously re-installed windows to cure this problem on another machine (something I hate doing and see as a failure on my part).

Thanks for your help
printer-fix.txt
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yodabugCommented:
Try installing this: Autoruns for Windows

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-ca/sysinternals/bb963902.aspx

then try using it to do yer system startup changes. If it works we know the problem is only with msconfig. If it does not we know the problem is system wide and that generally points to malware of some type, whether the scanners find it or not. Either way, autoruns is way better than msconfig.

We need to know where the problem is....
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WhoIsThatChildAuthor Commented:
@ yodabug : Nice tip - used autoruns to disable a service and no error message. I have always been able to change anything I like in msconfig though - it just pops up that message about needing admin rights, but makes the change anyway.

How to proceed from here?

Thanks
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yodabugCommented:
Try this:

open msconfig=>services=>check box "Hide MS Services"=>Click Disabled all=> close, reboot as necessary=>re-open msconfig=>change something--is the error still there? Yes report here. No? ==>re-enable one non MS service, apply changes, reboot as necessary, try it again, error? report here. No error, try re-enabling another service.

I am fishing.
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WhoIsThatChildAuthor Commented:
@ yodabug : OK I have done that (your comment at 06.10pm) and I still had the error after enabling one service.

I eagerly await your next comment :-)


Thanks
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yodabugCommented:
but did you have an error when opening msconfig and all the non-ms services were disabled?

If so, do it again, leave all services disabled, reboot pc, open msconfig, re-enabled a service but not the one that cause the error last time you did this, try a different service...

AND, have you checked permissions and ownership on msconfig to ensure the admin group has full access and is the current owner of msconfig?
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yodabugCommented:
Do you have this reg key?


HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\PML Driver HPZ12


Change the dword value from 2 to 4


I did not read the above documentation, if this is already mentioned and ruled out as a solution I apologize.
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yodabugCommented:
Check the permissions on msconfig also:



C:\Users\username>cacls %systemroot%\system32\msconfig.exe

the output should be like the following:

C:\Windows\system32\msconfig.exe NT SERVICE\Truste
                                 BUILTIN\Administr
                                 NT AUTHORITY\SYST
                                 BUILTIN\Users:R
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yodabugCommented:
I just noticed the above paste is missing some stuff:

:\Windows\system32\msconfig.exe NT SERVICE\TrustedInstaller:F
                                BUILTIN\Administrators:R
                                NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM:R
                                BUILTIN\Users:R



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WhoIsThatChildAuthor Commented:
@ yodabug: The dword value was already 4 - I think I may have changed that earlier in troubleshooting

The cacls returned an error as there is no msconfig in system32. I did look at this before too and another fully functioning machine doesnt have it in system32 either so I thought it was OK.  I've checked the app path in the registry - the one for msconfig points to C:\WINDOWS\PCHealth\HelpCtr\Binaries and edited your cacls command to reflect this and here is the result:


C:\Documents and Settings\jason.HAWKINS>cacls C:\WINDOWS\PCHealth\HelpCtr\Binaries\msconfig.exe
C:\WINDOWS\PCHealth\HelpCtr\Binaries\msconfig.exe BUILTIN\Users:R
                                                  BUILTIN\Administrators:F
                                                  NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM:F


C:\Documents and Settings\jason.HAWKINS>




I notice that I am missing a line in there "NT SERVICE\TrustedInstaller:F" (but not sure how to add it to the permissions - unless I can do it in safe mode which I will try in 5 minutes when I reboot after posting this message.

I'll update when I reboot....

Thanks
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yodabugCommented:
not sure if it makes a difference or not but only the trusted installer services should have Full access, everything else should be read only, I am on a Windows Vista system so maybe that's the difference.
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WhoIsThatChildAuthor Commented:
OK I rebooted into safe mode and couldn't add the permissions so added them with cacls instead but after checking my other xp machine and noticing that the missing line was :

everyone : r

I added that instead of the trusted installer as it seems that that one is for vista not xp.

Anyway, the upshot is that it still isn't working! Bah - thought that was gonna be it when I read your post about cacls.

Anything else to try?

Thanks
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yodabugCommented:
not yet and I am running outta ideas--all the "expert" solutions I have found involved the woulds "ignore it" (meaning the error message) as long as it IS working....and more than a few of them point to a (could be any service from what I am finding)service with improper registry permissions as the culprit

I want to be clear on a few things before continuing.

The error does NOT appear when all non-MS services are disabled? So all non-ms services are disabled, you've rebooted and are not opening msconfig for the first time. Does the error appear?

As soon as you try and enabled ANY of the services or make any other change within msconfig you get this error? For example could you say disable a start up program from starting and apply the changes and NOT get the error?

The error also appears in safe mode?
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yodabugCommented:
Ok break out yer Windows XP cdrom, put it in the cdorm drive, close whatever install windows open.

navigate to: Go to C:\Windows\PCHealth\HelpCtr\Binaries\

rename msconfig.exe=?msconfig.old

open a command prmpt using admin rights:

EXPAND -R D:\I386\MSCONFIG.EX_ C:\WINDOWS\PCHEALTH\HELPCTR

close command, try msconfig from start=>run again

if that does not work then:

http://www.dougknox.com/xp/utils/xp_emergencyutil.zip

Use that program with the Windows XP cdrom still in the drive. It will create good copies of a few basic utilities from the cdrom to C:\EmergencyUtils

once done go to that folder and try and execute msconfig from it...

Please report results

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WhoIsThatChildAuthor Commented:
@ yodabug : In reply to your 9.47 comment - it does it all the time no matter what, LOL.

I will now follow your 10.14 suggestions and post back asap.


Cheers
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WhoIsThatChildAuthor Commented:
OK that didnt fix it either. Interestingly, when I tried to run msconfig from the start/run box it came up with a message saying it needed me to chose a program to open msconf~1.old. (Be assured that I tried the new copies of msconfig in the binaries folder and also the emergencyutils folder with same problem - access  denied error)

Now I'm wondering how it looks at the same file when I have changed it's name (and ignores the newly created file with the correct name). Maybe a reboot will cure this weird symptom, but I assume not and will update in my next post anyway.

Anything else I can try?

Thanks
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cantorisCommented:
Download Process Monitor (procmon.exe) from  http://live.sysinternals.com/tools/
Open up msconfig right up to the point before the error would occur.  Then start Process Monitor, generate the error with msconfig and then stop Process Monitor.  Then look through through the Result column for it showing Access Denied (you can right-click and exclude the word Success etc).  See if you can see exactly what is denied access to what.
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yodabugCommented:
Yes that is interesting.

system restore is still on? Could you disable that please?

Well, like I said in an earlier post it seems to be related to a non-ms services applying incorrect registry permissions or virus activity. You have said you ruled out virus activity.

So, when did you first notice the problem?
How many programs were installed that also installed a service since you first noticed the problem?
What were those programs?

I have seen this error message in relation to HP printer driver, mcafee software, symantec software, cdrom burning software, and psooibly many more...each of these programs installs a service of some type and each has in the past caused this error by creating incorrectly applied permissions on their registry keys.

I believe a service or program has done just that. It would be a process of elimination to take a chance at finding the issue. I say take a chance because as was the case with the HP printer driver installation and it's associate incorrect registry entry causing the same trouble you are having, even uninstalling the offending program/service does no good because 9.9 out of ten times the uninstall routines are sloppy and leave registry entry's behind.

Some people have used procman from sysinternals to trace registry permission problems:

http://download.sysinternals.com/Files/ProcessMonitor.zip

when you open it select registry event only, then try msconfig, then close msconfig and look for the message generated in process monitor..
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yodabugCommented:
HHHHmmmm seems my long winded comments are getting me behind my fellows:-)
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cantorisCommented:
hehe done that myself too once or twice.
WhoIsThatChild, if you've not used Process Monitor before, I've just put some details in another post for someone here:
http://www.experts-exchange.com/OS/Microsoft_Operating_Systems/Windows/XP/Q_25612077.html#a29136166 
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yodabugCommented:
I need to go home for the evening to. Will pick this up tomorrow if it has not already been solved.
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WhoIsThatChildAuthor Commented:
Unless I'm using process monitor incorrectly there aren't any Access Denied results.

If you look at the csv I've attached all the msconfig process entries have Name Not Found in the results.

Any ideas dude?


Cheers
Logfile.CSV
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cantorisCommented:
You could try deleting the  HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Shared Tools\MSConfig   registry branch and then importing the same branch exported off a working PC of the same XP build and service pack level.  As with any registry hacking, a full backup is advised etc etc etc.
The instructions I wrote in that post for another user were for a specific 3rd party app.  Since msconfig is a Windows component it may not be appropriate for you to filter out all other apps first before you start in case it makes use of other components to do its stuff - I'm thinking especially of services and svchost.  Why not try it again but this time filter out no apps at all, just filter out everything in the results column that is not an "Access Denied"?
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WhoIsThatChildAuthor Commented:
Hey you guys have been busy.

@ yodabug : sorry I haven't mentioned its not my machine so I dont know what programs were installed when, or when it started I'm afraid. I was asked to help install a printer as that wasn't working but I noticed this error with msconfig too. With regards to system restore I am guessing you are telling me to disable it in case of virus but I turned sys restore off then on again after cleaning thoroughly, and with that in mind have left it on for now. If there's another reason please let me know so I can switch it off.

@ cantoris : I have tried (I think) as you said with pmon and still no access denieds! It's midnight here now (not sure where you are - Im in UK), and I daren't start hacking the reg on someone else's machine this late, so will be back on in the morning too.

Thanks a lot so far guys - I've picked up some great stuff with this one even if the culprit hasn't been ID'd yet.
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WhoIsThatChildAuthor Commented:
OK I have tried with the msconfig key from a working machine and still no joy.

I assume you guys will be back soon....


Cheers
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yodabugCommented:
Morning.

I just posted this from another thread. It may help you here. I believe the registry permissions are messed up. I would back up the current registry and just proceed with the following. You said you had troubles getting the HP (PML Driver HPZ12) printer installed and it is this install that cause's bad permissions on registry keys to begin with.  


http://support.microsoft.com/kb/313222

Try that.

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yodabugCommented:
Since you haven't mentioned whether this is winxp home or professional follow this article, choosing the appropriate OS.

http://www.winhelponline.com/blog/reset-the-registry-and-the-file-permissions-in-windows-xp/
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WhoIsThatChildAuthor Commented:
Morning,

I tried that and no good - I ended up with a .asp account or something similar on the login screen along with owners account and the one I created. I tried to do a sys restore and of the 5 or 6 restore points I have they all failed to restore. I have just manually restored the registry from sys vol and it seems to be back with printers working, msconfig error, and no .asp account on login screen.

I gotta hand it back in an hour or so, if you're fast replying I might still have it, if not thanks for all the efforts anyhow.
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yodabugCommented:
Well, stranger things have happened to me when dealing with PC's....and there is a lot of google advice that says simply, ignore it:-) - I on the other hand if faced with not being able to resolve it would backup my files and use fdisk/re-install...but thats me on my PC, I could never live with a problem like this no matter how minor:-)

GL--I am fresh outta ideas and would love to see fresh ones from other experts.
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WhoIsThatChildAuthor Commented:
I agree - I would re-install if it were mine, but would spend weeks trying to fix it first :-)

Crazy to go on with sys restore not working and this msconfig thing and god knows what else that hasn't come to light yet.

If I'm gonna close this question I reckon yodabug and cantoris should split the points as you have both been fantastic. Is that OK with you guys?
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cantorisCommented:
That's very generous of you thank you since we haven't actually fixed the problem!
It's been a very peculiar issue.
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WhoIsThatChildAuthor Commented:
In fairness cantoris your advice to check the event viewer led me to the missing file for the printing problem, which was why I was asked to look at this pc in the first place.

And you have both given me some fantastic ideas/tips/tools for future troubleshooting on a such wide variety of issues that it makes the subscription to this site worth every penny.

I too would dearly love to have gotten to the bottom of this problem but rest assured whenever I come across it on another machine if none of these tips on this post can ID the problem I'll make sure I post another question.

Thanks a lot for all your efforts.
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yodabugCommented:
Thank you. Like cantoris says, thats very generous of you.
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WhoIsThatChildAuthor Commented:
I said that the solution was complete as I had a problem where I couldn't print, but I used a not uncommon (and difficult to solve) error message as the title for this question as I assumed they were related.
The printing problem was fixed which was cool. The other issue has been pretty well exhausted, but whilst not being fixed I have been shown a lot along the way which is even better.
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