ThinkPad R50p with XP fails at startup - Windows Explorer failure.....needs to close

I boot my R50p and log in. Immediately, I get a popup window that says "Windows Explorer has encountered a problem and needs to close.  This same message pops up if I try to open any browser (IE or FireFox).

Exception information:
Code: 0x0000005

System Information:
Windows NT 5.1 Build: 2600   (?? I have XP not NT???)

HenryWilfredAsked:
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younghvCommented:
"NT" just stands for "New Technology" and XP was a new version of NT.

Have you added ANY new hardware - even a mouse or something minor?
HenryWilfredAuthor Commented:
Not lately.  I added a 320gb hard drive (replacement) 3 months ago.  

This just started to fail a few days ago.  I restored the entire c:drive from a backup copy - vintage 3/29/2011 when things were working well (using Drive Snapshot) yesterday.  Even that copy fails in the same manner -- boots up to the log on screen - I log in -- Window Explorer error happens.
younghvCommented:
A good discussion here in a prior EE question, but I'll leave this one for other to offer thoughts.
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Q_23018296.html

If you decide to do a malware scan (never a bad idea), please review these EE Articles for some basic techniques:
http://www.experts-exchange.com/A_1940.html (Basic Malware Troubleshooting)
http://www.experts-exchange.com/A_5124.html (Stop-the-Bleeding-First-Aid-for-Malware)
http://www.experts-exchange.com/A_4922.html (Rogue-Killer-What-a-great-name)
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HenryWilfredAuthor Commented:
I have used malwarebytes for awhile. The problem now is that my PC is not stable enough to run malwarebytes -- I cannot open a browser -- it gets kicked off by the "Windows Explorer has encountered a problem and needs to close. "  message.
younghvCommented:
OK - you do have one functioning computer - right?

You can download MBAM (plus a manual updater) to the good computer, then copy them both to the desktop of the problem one.

Have you tried creating a new Profile on the problem computer - just as a trouble-shooting technique?
****************

Download, install, and run
Malwarebytes (MBAM) (http://www.malwarebytes.org/mbam.php)
When downloading, save to your "Desktop" and use the "Save As" function (Internet Explorer) to rename the file.
The instructions are included right in that link.

If you need to manually download the latest update, use this link:
http://data.mbamupdates.com/tools/mbam-rules.exe

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HenryWilfredAuthor Commented:
Thank You - II downloaded mbam-setup.exe and was able to install it and do a quick scan -- found one trojan  HKEY_current_user\software\microsoft\windows\current version\external\stats\\{1A26F07F-0D60-4835-91CF-1E1766A0EC56}

Rebooted. Same problem still there -- BUT, I was able to load MBAM and update it to the latest level (couldn't do that before). I am now running a full scan  5 mins. into it - nothing found yet.

I also created a new user. Sorry, I am not sure what to try with this profile?

Thanks for your help!
younghvCommented:
"Sorry, I am not sure what to try with this profile?"

Just a way to test if the problem is "Profile Specific".
What happens when you try to open IE with the user account?
HenryWilfredAuthor Commented:
Thanks, I logged off - switched users - welcome screen came up then the same message and the system hung.  ctl-alt-del then logged off new user and logged back into main user.  Full MBAM scan still running/. Tried to load IE -- -- can't -- get "Internet Explorer has encountered a problem and needs to close. "
younghvCommented:
Have you tried that Mr. Fixit thing that MS has going?
I have actually used it a few times for repairing systems.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/318378
HenryWilfredAuthor Commented:
This laptop was functioning fine for the entire month of March.  I decided to restore it to a backup copy from March 1st.  When I did that, the PC came up and needed some updates of course, but the puzzling thing is that it again showed up with the Windows Explorer failure just like before.

This is perplexing to me.  This backup definely was working properly on march 1st.  The Restore went fine.  I kept the internet line disconnected during the restoration and bring up -- How can it display the error that started on April 2nd????

I use Drive Snapshot for backup/recovery -- I have done this many times in the past with total success.  ?????
younghvCommented:
I'm having a bit of a hard time tracking your actual actions.

1. Did you 'rename/Save As' the MBAM download before copying it to the problem computer?
2. Did you run "RogueKiller" before starting the Full Scan of MBAM?
3. Did you try the "Fixit" link from MS? (You may have to try to boot to "Safe Mode with Networking" to hit that link.)
HenryWilfredAuthor Commented:
Sorry for the confusion.  I tried a RESTORE (on a different c: disk) from a month ago -- This restores the entire c: drive to a level that CLEARLY was working a month ago.  AND that boots up with the same problem -- "windows explorer had a problem and has to close"  --  Any ideas on why this issue would reoccur on a working system?

To answer your questions:
1. Yes I did the rename as you suggested
2. No
3. No

I will work on 2. and 3. later today.

Thank you for your help. I appreciate it a great deal.
younghvCommented:
This problem just keeps getting more..."interesting".
:)

We have been seeing several of these unusual connectivity type errors lately.

I have used both of the following links for solving this kind of problem in the past.

How to reset Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/299357

Repair/Reset Winsock settings
http://windowsxp.mvps.org/winsock.htm

HenryWilfredAuthor Commented:
Download, install, and run
Malwarebytes (MBAM) (http://www.malwarebytes.org/mbam.php)
When downloading, save to your "Desktop" and use the "Save As" function (Internet Explorer) to rename the file.
The instructions are included right in that link.

I do not get any Save As option -  I get a SAVE option -- no choice to rename it.  So I downloaded on a different PC and downloaded as mbam-setup.exe and renamed it as you suggested.  Then moved it to the troubled PC and installed it ---  Sound OK?

younghvCommented:
That is fine - as long as it had a different name before touching the infected computer.

I think I have a picture somewhere of what I mean by "Save As". I'll post it if I can dig it up.
embed=image 442382]
Step 2 - IESave.bmp
HenryWilfredAuthor Commented:
Do I need to rename mbam.exe in the program files folder.  Should I choose a different folder than mbam-setup.exe chooses?  What does this malware look for?  is it mbam.exe?
younghvCommented:
No renaming after installing.
There should be a new Desktop Icon that you just double-click.
HenryWilfredAuthor Commented:
The PC was infected by a malware disguised as MBAM. Evidently, when we thought we were running MBAM we were actually running Anti-MalwareBytes Doctor (the problem - not the solution).  We restored to a previous backup and then applied MBAM with this rename technique and the PC seems to be free of the problem.
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Windows XP

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