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issues with hangs when installing or uninstalling programs

Posted on 2011-03-20
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Hello There,

I am throwing this out on this forum because I have tried everything with no avail here is the situation.  I am working on a computer for a client who has windows 7 64 bit.  The problem is that whenever you try to install or uninstall a program it hangs or is really really slow.

I notice most of the time an installation might get to a certain point and just churn and churn.  In other cases when trying to uninstall some antivirus program the iuninstaller started but just hung for 3 hours or more till I finally had to shut down the computer by holding the power button in for 3 seconds because the shutdown routine was hanging as well.

When I got booted back into windows I noticed that the program I was attempting to uninstall at least looked uninstalled from the program and feature list but certainly it was plain to see that it wasn't totally eradicated after a quick look at the windows registry in which case I got rid of the left overs of keys that I was absolutely sure was part of that given program.

Anyway having said all this I have tried everything in the book to try to troubleshoot why this install/uninstall was so slow if indeed it would actually finish and why turning off the computer many times would hang.

I did everything from booting into safe mode to booting into normal mode and using msconfig to selective disable certain services.

In fact I attempted to at the start disable all services that were disabled in safe mode with networking since it seemed like everytime I restarted or shut off my computer from this mode it was successful it was only in normal mode where it failed.

Once I didn't get to far in normal mode even with all the services disabled I than went ahead and disabled all the hardware I felt I could via device manager even to the point of diabling the graphic adaptor hence getting a lower screen resolution.

Anyway having said all this it appeared that when I had the display adaptor disabled as well as the microsoft framework 4.0 services I could usually shutdown and restart successfully in this normal selective mode but still ran into the same issue with installation hangs as I tested trying to reinstall an antivirus program and saw it just churning and churning on the screen that said please wait.

I also observed in some cases that if I restarted the computer and than immediately shut it back down many times it would shut down successfully but when I did a few things in the computer first and than tried to shut down it hung with the words shutting down or sometimes it hung with the words preparing to update your configuration do not turn off your computer.  

I know it wasn't doing anything because I left it in this state for about 5 hours or more this morning and when glancing at it again I saw the words shutting down yet still hadn't shut down.

It seems like it's hard for me to install msi extensions for sure.  I am wondering if for some reason something is flakey with the windows installer in this windows 7 64 bit.

I also wanted to check for viruses since my client thought they may have had a virus so I tried to install malwarebytes which did install successfully and I did a full system scan with this after updating its database and it found about 17 pieces of adware but nothing more than this so I assume that if their was a virus in this system it was taken care of.

The client had bitdefender and avg free installed in their computer and I eventually got these two programs uninstalled thinking this might be the reason for the hangs but in vain it did not work.

What was consistant is that anytime I was in safe mode I seemed to be able to always shutdown or restart successfully without holding the power button down for 3 seconds.  Of course I couldn't test the ability to install or uninstall software since this is not possible in safe mode even in safe mode with networking.

But in normal mode even with all the services and hardware turned off that I felt I could it was finiky in the way it behaved in regards to shutting down or restarting correctly though one consistant thing seemed to be that when all this stuff was disabled and I immediately shut down windows without doing anything after restarting the computer it seemed to shut down correctly every time it is just if I were to open a few things, test a ;few things and than shut down this is when things became problematic in regards to successfully shutting down windows though as I mentioned all that I have done did not seem to phase the issue I am running into in regards to installation or uninstallation of programs.

Thanks,

Bo
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Question by:cyborama
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Expert Comment

by:IanTh
ID: 35177645
hmm it sound really flakey

try an inplace repair or sfc /scannow

http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/1538-sfc-scannow-command-system-file-checker.html

this will tell you if a system file is damaged as it certainly sounds likely
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by:ded9
ID: 35177849
First i would boot the computer in safe mode and make sure all the anti virus software is uninstalled.

Then i would recommend restarting the computer in safe mode again and run

Combofix from safe mode with networking

http://download.bleepingcomputer.com/protected/a64e0ec365f5688144b516a0223cabcd/4d81ab9c/ComboFix.exe

and then run

Run malwarebytes free scan from safe mode with networking to check for any hidden virus.

www.malwarebytes.org/

Last step would be to create a new user account and check in the new account.


These steps should resolve your issue.


Ded9
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Expert Comment

by:Nivlesh
ID: 35177857
Seems more like a hardware issue. Have you done a checkdisk to ensure the harddisk is not about to die or has lots of bad sectors? Try scheduling a checkdisk on the next bootup.

Also, do you have any previous restorepoints that you can go back to? Might have been a windows update that broke it. You might be able to restore to previous checkpoints to see if it helps. Remember, that installed programs might break if you do go back in restorepoints.
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Author Comment

by:cyborama
ID: 35177916
@Ianth: I tried your suggestion in regards to the sfc /scannow routine and evenwhen I right clicked on the command prompt and ran program as administrator I still got the following error:

"windows resource protecton could not start the repair services"

I read about this issue and the main stream thought in this regards was to either try this in WindowsRepair Environment (WRE) or try to book into windows via the windows 7 boot dvd.  For me neither one is an option here.

@ded9:  the combofix thing would seem applicable if their were a known virus I don't know should this tool be used even if you don't think their is  virus.  Again I did a scan with malwarebytes and did uninstall the bitdefender and avgfree 2011 that was formerally on this cmputer but again only found 17 adaware's.  I have used both hijackthis and combo fix after using other antivirus programs like NIS and the pc tools spy doctor (forgot the exact name for this) but at anyrate I did this on a different person's computer when they did have a serious virus and suceesfully took it off using all these methods (some vundu virus or somehing nasty little worm) but in my case now I am not suspecting a virus but something else tha is going on here.

@Nivlesh:  Good idea in regards to the check disk idea.  You know this would have been a good thought before I was trying all these other steps that failed.  Just never thought of a potential harddrive crash could cause a hang only when installing and uninstalling various software.  An update is that I did find I could successfully install adobe acrobat reader updates but still had the hang going on when I tried o reinstall AVG Free so nver did get past the initilization stage on this.  

I always thought of hard drive issues creating errors like lost file such and such or having the whole computer slow down where as the cmputer is really qute fast except in the instances where I am trying to install or uninstall a prgram or update windows or in many cases shutting down or restarting my computer but simply browsing the internet or interacting with previously installed programs worked.

In regards to the system restore idea this is a good thought but I don't have any system restores and my client really cannot recall when this first started happening so all I have to go on is pretty much a recovery partition and any other hints I can get.

So ya I am going to try this chkdsk thing and if I find many bad sectors I will know.  By the way I forget now where is this chkdsk info logged in the event viewer.  Is it logged in the same area they were logging them back in the windows xp days under either system or application category I forgot whch but system would seem the more logically area to find the entry.

I'll let you know how this chkdsk turns out.

Thanks,

Bo
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Accepted Solution

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ded9 earned 200 total points
ID: 35177923
Combofix does not only fix virus but fixes incorrect entries in the system. I would recommend running it.  and then create a new user account .

Try it.


Ded9
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Author Comment

by:cyborama
ID: 35177964
hello ded9:  Before I got your update I had already gotten a check disk under way but after this is done and if things are still not resolved I definately will take your advise.  Only thing I am leary about is when I create a new user how can I ensure that the new user gets the exact same rights, desktop, icons, etc... that the old user got.

I have not worked in windows 7 64 bit an awful lot but from my experience with windows xp I know that a lot of times when you create a new user on your computer it is like the new user gets their own desktop that doesn't have the icons and such that the other user had.

Further more in some cases isn't their issues with other users having rights to certain programs if the program was not set up for all users on the computer.  I understand the new user would be an administrator wth full editing rights but I guess I want to make this new user as transparent as I can to the old one.

Is their anywy in which I could create this new user get it set up just like the old user including I.M. messaging programs Itune library (I know this is normally found in the user account who initially had the itunes library opposed to some super folder that allows itunes program to populate wth any library found on any user on a particular system.

I guess hese are just a few of the questions I have in regards to making a migration to a new user account.  Also if I do opt for this approach and I am able to get everything pushed over to the new user accout can I than delete the old user account and renme the new one the same name as the old one had or is that not possible since somewhere windows would still have memory traces of this user so would tell me it can't be used again.

Thanks,

Bo
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by:Nivlesh
ID: 35177966
checkdisk will be interactive so you will see what it is doing when it runs. I think it also logs to eventlogs but not too sure
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by:ded9
ID: 35178024
Right now running combofix and creating new user account is part of troubleshooting step to nail the problem.

You can create a new admin user account and can tranfer info from one user account. to another.

Also i noticed your comments are detailed. You can write short comments which would be easy for you. You dont have to give a detailed explanation .   :)


Ded9
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Author Comment

by:cyborama
ID: 35178269
@Nivlesh:  Ok the computer just went through the whole check disk routine.  It seems like it is going much faster but still is getting stuck half way through an installation even after I specifically checked that I wanted to fix bad sectors as well as repair any issue with the hard drive.

I'll tell you what one common factor here seems to be that when ever the computer is trying to configure something that is where it hangs.  For example I just tried to install the free AVG again and it downloaded files very quickly, it initialized fairly quickly but as soon as it got to the point where it said:

"configuring product" this is where it hung.  The same is true with the shutdown or restart routines.  When windows 7 does not pop up the message during shut down that windows is configuring my computer so please do not shut down at the moment this is where it hangs.

So why it hangs at the poiint of attempting configurations I don't know but it does seem wierd that in many cases it will get through initializing but just churns over and over again at configuring.

I think the checkdisk routine didn't hurt anything anyway because as I said it did something for the system to speed it up but just didn't solve the big question which is why does it seem to freeze at the configuration stage of either installing/uninstalling or rebooting windows.

@Ded9: I am going to take you up on your suggestion in regards to the combo fix thing tomorrow.  I just want to know is there anything I should know about combo fix before doing this.

I have heard it is a good idea to basically close all background programs as combo fix takes up a lot of horse power or something like this, is that true.

Also once again after creating a new user account how easy is it to make it looking exactly like the account I am abandoning and how intuitive is it to delete the old user and name the new user the same name as you had given the one before it.

I really don't want two users on this install if I can help it as the client is use to just going into windows without a welcome screen and I believe if you have more than one user on your account it is going to force the welcome screen as the computer can't know what user you want to log into your account with.

Thanks again and if you have anymore suggestions in regards to this issue I would be happy to listen.

Thanks,

Bo
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by:ded9
ID: 35178279
Again new user account and combofix are just troubleshooting steps. You do not have to delete the old account. If the problem is still there in the new account you can delete the new account.

Its up to you now whether you want to perform these steps.


Ded9
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Author Comment

by:cyborama
ID: 35178363
@Nivlesh,

Hay I guess I spoke to soon about this check disk not working.  I was planning on unplugging the computer and doing this combo fix thing tomorow morning but I had to pop on one last time to tell you that I do believe this was the answer.

For all my attempts today prior to me doing a check disk their was no way that the configure product part would have gotten to the place where it was almost done.

It took longer than I thought for this to happen but than again it was AVG free 2011.  But the point is it didn't take 2 hours or more only about 30 minutes or so which isn't near as bad.

I'll test out the shut down and restart routines next to make sure they are working properly now.

So based on this discovery what would you suggest in regards to what I ran into.  Do you think this is a faulty hard drive.

By the way I did check the winlogin event but couldn't find any details about weather repairs were made or weather it found bad sectors, etc.. etc... where in this winlogin  event should I be looking for this kind of detail.  Maybe it was right in front of me and I just missed it.

Anyway thanks.

Also ded9 just wondering since this checkdisk did seem to resolve the issue would you advise I still bring this system through a combofix or since the checkdisk seemed to work out should I just forget using ocmbo disk.

Again thanks for all your help,

Bo
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by:ded9
ID: 35178370
Do not using combofix if chdsk resolved your problem.


Ded9
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by:ded9
ID: 35178374
Do not use combofix if chkdsk resolved your problem.

Ded9
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by:Jackie Man
ID: 35178916
This thread is really long.

Just one question, have your client installed more than one anti-virus / firewall products with real-time scanning feature?

Having multiple anti-virus / firewall products installed will create a big mess which cannot be easily fixed.

So, backup the data, format the drive and do a clean install of Windows 7.
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by:IanTh
ID: 35179335
it could be a hdd problem but smart if enabled should pick that up I would say its more motherboard/ram issue try memtest 86) to see if the pc has a memory problem as the installation is taking up more resources

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Author Comment

by:cyborama
ID: 35180076
Hello Jackieman thanks for your reply,

Yes my client had installed more than one antivirus program but these problems continued since I deleted them both and attempted to install one of them back on.  However installing almost anything seems problematic.

I thought I had it cracked last night but when I woke up this morning it was just about complete and than I got the non responding error that the program had just crashed.

I will say though, that the check disk did seem to speed up the computer but apparently did not completely resolve the issue.

Yes I can try a mem test on this system but it does have almost 4 GB of Ram and by far is not over committing just by doing this installation.

Perhaps it could be the hdd.  I tend to lean on the fact that it is either the hard drive or the fact my client installed two antivirus programs that started monkeying with stuff.

Maybe my only option will be to back up everything and format though I was trying to avoid this especially since it doesn't appear that the computer was knocked down by a virus I assumed it was a driver conflict or some other thing like this but obviously it couldn't have been since I gave it such a rigirous test and again it seems to choke on the configuration stage of either installation or uninstallation of programs or if windows needs to configure the computer upon restart or shut down.

Thanks,

Bo
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by:ded9
ID: 35180533
I think combofix is worth trying and new user account if you want to avoid reinstall.



Ded9
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Author Comment

by:cyborama
ID: 35181547
I think this is a good point ded9.  Say do you know where I can find a 64 bit version of combofix.  I've been looking online for one and found one place that claimed they had a 64 bit combo fix on one of those file sharing sites that you have to sign up for (you know what I'm talking about) those kinds of sites that are known to be littered with viruses, trojan's and the like.

Anyway I guess my question is first if their is a 64 bit version of combo fix could you send me the link and if not is it safe to use the 32 bit version on a 64 bit system.

The check disk found no errors yet the problem still remains so I am going to be using this combofix as a last resort with the new username.  I just hope that doing this will still allow me to see programs I had installed and easily uninstall some as needed even though they were installed under the old username.

Thanks,

Bo
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by:Jackie Man
ID: 35181611
Here is the link.

http://www.infospyware.net/antimalware/combofix/

I am not sure whether using ComboFix will fix your problem.
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by:ded9
ID: 35181639
Its not an app its just a tool - i would recommend the same link.


http://download.bleepingcomputer.com/protected/9a7296810dad40bb423f3430d57c8b1d/4d876fa9/ComboFix.exe

This is from the authors website.


Ded9
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Author Comment

by:cyborama
ID: 35181650
just another quick note though I am sure I put this in my comment before that these issues seem to revolve around the configuration of something weather it be computer or program
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Author Comment

by:cyborama
ID: 35185496
Hello Ded9,

I have finished the combofix and have created a new administrator account.  Than I shut the computer down and restarted and still I am seeming to have issues.  For example after logging in as a new user and just playing a bit I went to restart the computer and the same old thing was happenign where it apparently froze when the screen said "preparing to configure windows"

I talked to one person about this and because their was a partial virus on this system at one time the thought was that AVG free 2011 may have well quaranteened this virus so it is no longer active so I don't see viral behavior such as low internet, freeze ups doing general tasks, etc..  All that seems wrong is that anytime you are dealing with installations or uninstallations or configuring windows it hangs.  

It does not hang when installing stuff like malwarebyes as described near the beginning of this thread and because their was only 17 pieces of adware detected I figured that this problem most certainly couldn't have been the damage done by the virus but now I wonder if it isn't since not of our procedures seemed to work even the combo fix and creating a new account.

Any other suggestions beside taking the plunge and formatting which means getting everything in order for this process.

Thanks,

Bo
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Assisted Solution

by:Nivlesh
Nivlesh earned 200 total points
ID: 35185565
I had had an issue like this before and had found that it was due to bad sectors on the harddisk. That was why I had suggested checkdisk since thats how I was able to find what was causing the issue for me.

I am now thinking that there might be some installation that got corrupted or uninstall that didnt quite finish. Try running the windows installer cleanup utility. You can get it from here http://majorgeeks.com/download.php?det=4459   or search on google if you dont find it there. This was offered by Microsoft sometime ago but is removed now for some reason.

Also, I would recommend running a registry cleaner. CCleaner is great. http://www.piriform.com/ccleaner

Hope this helps
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Expert Comment

by:ded9
ID: 35186252
Last two steps.

Clean boot and vga mode

Clean Boot Process
Click Start-msconfig-click on services tab -put a check on hide all microsoft services and then click disable add. Click on startup tab and disable all.

Restart the computer and monitor the computer for a day. If everything works fine then try enabling one service and startup item at a time and find out which startup or service is creating problem. Reboot is required during this process.

Also would request to boot the computer in vga mode by tapping F8 key while the computer is booting up and monitor the computer for a day. Could be  a problem  caused by  graphics card driver. Try updating the latest graphics card driver.



Ded9
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Author Comment

by:cyborama
ID: 35186421
Hello Ded9 I went through this before all the combo fix stuff.  I guess I didn't click on startup tab and disable all but I certainly did the safe mode thing and than went back into normal mode assuring only those services that were running in safe mode ran in normal mode but didn't have to much luck with that.

Nivlesh: I took your suggestion in regards to the registry cleaner thing.  I actually owned a registry cleaner via advance system optimizer 3 so that found over 700 errors and I know this is a good product unlike some of those out there.

anyway having said that I do know my computer is very fast but now I have run into another dilema in regards to my avg free 2011 which my client originally had on their system and I had to use renov uninstaller in order to pull it out since it was half their and half not.

Anyway to make a long story short after using combofix and various other cleanup tools I noticed that anything that dealt with avg did some odd stuff.  What happened was if I double clicked on the AVG installer it would start to initiate and than it would appear to go away.

What I found was that in the task manager under processes was a process that got mounted called avgautorun.exe.  I suppose this is the process that is suppose to invoke the avg installer to go to the next screen for the continuation of the installation but instead of going to the next step it just disappears and unless I kill the avgautorun.exe process that seems to stick but for some reason the next window for this process does not get invoked any more.

Have any of you run into this at all when playing around with computer clean up without formatting where a software doesn't hang, or seem to give any real symptoms but simply starts to initiate and than nothing more happens.

It only seems to happen with this avg software which my client was thinking of getting the paid for version after that.  Of course I don't know if this is a good idea as I am not a fan of AVG line up anyway I prefer Norton Internet Security personally but that is me.

At any rate just didn't know if you had any ideas of what might cause something like this where it is not a hang necessarily just a start to load an installer but the process to load it remains but the installer doesn't continue to run for one particular program yet as far as I can see works ok for other programs.

I need to really thoroughly test the system to make sure it doesn't hang on computer configurations anymore as I am not sure about this but it is much faster and just has this annoying side effect.

If any of you have heard about this that would be great as it could help me in future troubleshooting where a format is not really where I would want to go as it would require digging out all those appliation cds again, etc. etc...

Thanks,

Bo
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Assisted Solution

by:Jackie Man
Jackie Man earned 100 total points
ID: 35186423
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Author Comment

by:cyborama
ID: 35186464
hello jackieman,

I am not surprised to learn this actually and I thank you for bringing it to my attention as this might be what I need to get my client on something like NIS 2011.  By the way I suppose the same thing goes for the paid for version of AVG too, right.

I actually tried to install the 30 day AVG 2011 trial version (opposed to the freee one) and I got the same response as I did the first time which was mounting the avgautorun.exe process but never going further that in the installation process but again never giving me an error just not activating or invoking it or something like this.

Well if all seems well except this one thing than I guess what I am going to do is simply install norton 2011 on this computer and recommend they not use this avg stuff.

Thanks for all you guys help and if anyone has anything to add in regards to this bizarre behavior of a process like autorun mounting but never invoking the rest of the installation and never giving any error about it let me know.

Again this so far has only occured with the AVG line up I noticed that micro trend house calls didn't do this than again that is just a help me I might be infected product and not a long time proactive solution more of a reactive one.

At any rate I'll hang in there and see if all the stuff I did do helped to the point that was really necessary.

Take Care,

Bo
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Author Comment

by:cyborama
ID: 35186516
Well Jackieman, Ded9, and Nivlesh,

I wish I could give each one of you 500 points because I feel that you three really hung in with me through this ordeal and have helped me get to the bottom of this issue.

Thanks Ded9 for all your tips and to Nivlesh thanks a bundle for suggesting I use a registry cleaner software as it really inspired me to use the one I have used on my computer countless times I guess I figured if none of my other steps got this thing off the ground what will cleaning the registry do but as I found out it did more than I could imagine for.

And thanks Jackieman for pointing me to the article in regards to the problematicness of AVG lineup.  I wouldn't be surprised if this is what started the whole ball rolling in the first place not to mention they also had bit defender on this system.  Wow what  a chore it was yanking those applications off as they didn't smoothly uninstall.

With AVG literally I had to pull it out by the roots sort of speak using renov uninstaller pro in order for it to sniff out all the registry entries etc... since it was damaged and would not uninstall properly using the normal method but just kept saying stuff like error uninstalling should reinstall.

Of course it hung on reinstall so it was like a catch 22 so I found this renov uninstaller pro for free for 30 days.  I actually use renov uninstaller free but didn't realize they had come out with a pro version.

Anyway I'll keep this thread open for a little bit longer in case any of you want to weigh in about something in regards to these things anymore than I will close it and award points appropriately.

Thanks,

Bo
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Author Closing Comment

by:cyborama
ID: 35189422
Thanks to all who had contributed to this issue. Because of your dedication to the issue I was able to resolve it.  The final step was the registry cleaner and installing a different antivurs program than avg free 2011.  I decided to install NIS 2011 which is the software I like to use for my own system and this seemed to solve the issue.

I think the problem was a combination of having avg free and avg free not knowing how to appropriate deal with a virus once in its system.   It was successfully able to neutrilize it but it couldn't repair the damage caused by it.

But through the use of multiple tools including Renvo uninstaller pro, combo fix, advanced system optimizer and other virus detectors like malwarebytes and house calls trend micro I was able to get the system back to running normally.  

I also completely removed the two antivirus softwares that were on the system which could be another reason for the disaster.  

Thanks for all your help.

Bo
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by:Nivlesh
ID: 35194641
you are most welcome :)
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