Unable to Launch Control Panel

Posted on 2011-09-13
Last Modified: 2012-05-12
A customer's computer had a variety of problems - not booting, viruses, Generic Host Process failures to name a few.

I managed to get the machine to boot, and I was able to run Malwarebytes and Combofix to take care of the malware, but I was still getting crashes, especially with Internet Explorer 8 and Windows Update.

I used a slipsteamed XP Professional disk (the OS on that machine) to do a repair installation.  I got past the Internet Explorer 6 vs 8 problem, but now when I attempt to open Control Panel, The MS Installer appears and tries to install HP Smart Web Printing. then gets to a point where it is asking for the installation CD  The installer does the same thing if I try to launch Internet Explorer.  It is not possible to close the Installer if I try to launch Control Panel.  If I try to launch IE, the only way to close the Installer is to terminate the iexplore process in Task Manager.  I have not done an exhaustive test, but the few other applications that I tried appear to be OK.

I used a registry fix for registering EXE files to launch correctly, and Control Panel and IE launched properly until I rebooted, then I was back where I started.

I reset IE to run as originally installed.  That did not help.

I have tried reinstalling a downloaded copy of HP Smart Web Printing (the HP printer disk is among many that the customer no longer has) without success.

What do I have to do to get Control Panel and Internet Explorer to behave?
Question by:rhavey
LVL 92

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 36533539
Control Panel is basic. On the two occasions I serviced machines with no Control Panel, the only solution was to start again. A reinstall of Windows cleared up all the issues. ... Thinkpads_User

Expert Comment

ID: 36533552
I found this issue when the virus or malware ... posing as internet security was loaded.

once I removed this, it fixed all the issues....

Its a common problems once this fake internet security is loaded..

But failing that re-install would be the quickest to get up and running...
LVL 12

Accepted Solution

marcustech earned 500 total points
ID: 36535506
I used a registry fix for registering EXE files to launch correctly, and Control Panel and IE launched properly until I rebooted, then I was back where I started.

This kind of implies that the malware hasn't been removed...  In fact, if that registry section gets borked on reboot then you definitely have not removed the malware.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 36554837
I'm sorry, I must have missed the submit button or something.  I thought I had closed this question a few days ago.

Thank you for marcustech pointing out what I should have realized in the first place.  Malwarebytes and Combofix appeared to run clean, but Kaspersky's Rescue CD found several problems - viruses, trojans, a rootkit.

The computer now functions properly.
LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 36555304
Glad you got it fixed.  I know how it is when you think you've cleaned it but it still doesn't play ball...

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