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Explorer fails after a few seconds

In Vista Home on a relatively new HP Laptop: Windows Explorer fails after a few seconds, preventing any clicks or opening menu's joining networks, etc. Very suspicious virus/trojan behavior! Forces restart, numerous chkdsk scans, mounting in Safe Mode seems helpless.

This user did not have restore points turned on and no options to go back to earlier times.

I have scanned with AVG/MalWarebytes/etc. without success. I know there is something in there causing this malware behavior but have not found it yet. I am now tethering the drive to another clean and protected PC for far nothing found. I Have read numerous strings on reg key mods, using Spybot S & D, Trojan Remover, etc. tried several but no luck so far. Any help would be appreciated!
Avatar of JPetersen92020
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sounds like you know the drill, time to format and start fresh. I would bet on virus.
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...yes as a last resort, but I am trying to go one better than Geek Squad hacks and actually save the users system. So I will carry on with the battle until I'm bloody and beaten. ;-|
Thanks for your reply.
The step before starting fresh as suggested above is to open a command prompt using Run as Adminstrator and then run SFC /SCANNOW. This replaces any bad Windows files (to the extent it can) and has helped people correct their Windows issues. If this does not help, then proceed as JP suggested above. ... Thinkpads_User
Good Call! I will do as suggested.
BTW: will that .exe perform as expected on a tethered drive exhibiting the problem from the tethering OS? i.e. I have it as a local disk e:(w/vista OS), hanging off of a WinXP as the startup OS running the command. Or would it be more effective to run from a Vista DVD startup at command prompt?
I don't know about the tethered drive, as it expects to run in an installed system (that has the windows files stored in special folders on said system).  You can try. Run SFC /VERIFY (no changes made) to see.
... Thinkpads_User
Thanks again!
This sounds more like a problem being caused from your AVS. I would try removing it using a removal tool.
Use this one for AVG.
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boot from a live knoppix cd, and check if you can connect to the internet; this will show if it is a hardware -or soft problem, before running into  all sorts of scanning and repairs : 
There is merit in the concept: too many cooks in the kitchen. Original AVS on scene was Norton. This crap has been early on the scene of many train wrecks like this that I've witnessed. In many cases the norton "solution" is worse than the problems they pretend to resolve. I've been trying with difficulty to extract their cancer from this mess for 3 days now. Stay tuned crime fighters!
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Thanks for the link. Problem is keeping the OS running long enough to do anything. I will try it in safe mode.
I knew of the possibility of this as a solution...however, disregarded it at first. Thanks to this person's reminder, I followed his suggestion and the problem has been resolved. Thanks for being there! Here's 500 points!
Thanks to all who contributed, but the underlying cause of all the failure of Windows Explorer, freezes, inability to get to menu's, start NIC's, etc. was all the refuse left about by Norton AVS. In the short time, I had (literally seconds) I was able to fire up the Norton Removal Tool and it took care of cleaning up whatever was left of this botched installation or expiration?!
I am now replacing that AVS with another clean install of AVG Anti-virus, and I do mean clean, compared to what happens when one installs Norton. I don't mean to bash them unfairly, but I have just observed one more instance of troubles when using this product. As I write this the laptop is merrily skipping along, connected to it's NIC driver, internetting away!! RECOVERED without wiping out this customers valuable data, files and program installations. Persistance and the help of my buddies out there on the Experts Exchange. Best regards!
That's great, glad I could help.