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windows 7 programs won't load/run

Posted on 2012-08-26
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Last Modified: 2012-08-28
Hi,
Since yesterday all programs except for iexplorer and Norton Internet Security stopped running/loading. Also the last activity that I was able to do before running into this problem running System Mechanic 11 and accepting all changes it suggested.
I have checked the solution you have for that similar problem and it suggested is a malware but I can't even download a malware software. It just freezes while running security scan...
My computer is an HP running Windows7 SP1 - 64bit -4G RAM
Any help?
Thanks,
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Question by:LETA2012
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12 Comments
 
LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:PaulHend
ID: 38334431
No doubt it is a malware issue or virus.  Nasty one at that and I am reluctant to say that you need to reformat.  When and if you do, please create two accounts: one for administration of the machine requiring you to type in a password to install anything or change the properties of a installed application.  Then have another for client operation, day-to-day work that requires no changes to the system.

Anytime a person gets into the issue you are in is because of running as "root" or administrator.  If you do this all day, a simple mistake of typing the wrong URL can bring you to a malware infested site that will then destroy your computer.

Reformat.
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Author Comment

by:LETA2012
ID: 38334451
Thanks Paul for the answer.
Let me ask you also. If it is a malware issue or virus, wasn't Norton Internet Security supposed to catch it before. It is always running in my system, right now is running a full scan and it hasn't detected anything so far. Should I wait until it finishes to find the threat or would you suggest to go directly to reformat the HD. If it detects anything would it be able to fix it?
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Assisted Solution

by:PaulHend
PaulHend earned 99 total points
ID: 38334473
It is not impossible to fool any virus scanner unfortunately.  Personally, and having done this type of thing for years and year, I would reformat and have all your ducks in a row for your reinstall to make it super easy.

On a separate machine have your service packs downloaded, have your Norton install disk ready to go, and install everything while not connected to the internet (completely unplug yourself) and install your updates up to SP2 because you need to in order to install Norton.  

When you are done and you have Norton installed you should consider creating a list of firewall rules with Norton to restrict access to the Internet for everything except your web browser, IM tools, etc.

I know it sounds like a lot but it is not too bad.  My favorite time to do it is around 4PM, from 4-9PM I will periodically check on the machine while it installed, updates, etc.  When when I get Norton installed I will then log into my fresh machine and plug it back into the network and run all my big updates.  By morning it is ready to go, for the most part.

Please keep in touch, if you need any more help.
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LVL 81

Assisted Solution

by:arnold
arnold earned 99 total points
ID: 38334542
Boot into safe mode and see whether you can run different programs.
You could explore what is being started at boot.
Check c:\windows\prefetch there might be malware remnants.
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Software/Internet_Email/Anti_Spyware/A_5124-Stop-the-Bleeding-First-Aid-for-Malware.html

The author of this articles, has others that might help.
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Author Comment

by:LETA2012
ID: 38334586
Thanks Arnold.
I'm just waiting for Norton to finish its full scan to test what you suggested.
I'll post whatever result I find.
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LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:PaulHend
ID: 38335120
Arnold, your are suggesting that this person should fix the virus, not knowing what it is, perhaps furthering the damage to non-fixable problem?  And that backing up his data, reformatting and then locking his system down is NOT the solution?

Without prior knowledge as to exactly what this virus is and/or what the malware is, it is a bad call to hope that you can "fix it."  If it was preventable, the anti-virus software would have picked it up.

-PaulHend
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LVL 81

Expert Comment

by:arnold
ID: 38335127
Often, the user is how the virus gets through the installed anti-virus/malware apps. I.e. gets a warning, but proceeds anyway.
Can not run any executable in both safe and normal mode, would suggest the change is in the shell definition.
If the user can execute. While in safe mode, the issue is with something loading in/starting during the process.

The link for younghv's article includes suggestion, but most of those require the user to be able to execute/run additional applications.
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LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:PaulHend
ID: 38335132
Assuming that the user doesn't have a Admin account and is running as root, like most OEM distros come as, I would assume that it is safe to recommend a reformat.  Should this system have a key logger running the user can be losing his private life's information by the minuet.  Have it weigh on your mind, I wouldn't risk it.
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LVL 93

Accepted Solution

by:
nobus earned 102 total points
ID: 38335574
please download the windows offline defender CD on another PC, and make the cd
then boot from the cd on the infected PC - it will start a quick scan; stop it, and set it to do a FULL scan
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/what-is-windows-defender-offline

after this, run an update on your AV - and do a scan, followed by an mbam scan :
http://www.malwarebytes.org/mbam.php
0
 

Author Comment

by:LETA2012
ID: 38336619
Thank you guys for all your suggestions. However, after Norton Internet Security ended the full system scan and didn't find a single threat, I went over to follow its suggestions and found that there was a conflict between System Mechanic and Norton. It suggested to uninstall System Mechanic and restart the computer, which I did, and guess what... problem solved. All programs are running as usual. That's unfortunate because I have been using System Mechanic for several years now and never gave me any problems, and I thought it was helping me to keep my pc moving fast, until now that I downloaded the last update.
Also, I lost a whole day trying to find a solution for a malware or virus that didn't exist. The good think may be that a full scan was made and I know now that all hard drives are safe...

Thanks again and I hope the time spent will be of any help to someone else.
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LVL 93

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 38336706
if no more help si needed -don't forget to close this Q
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Author Closing Comment

by:LETA2012
ID: 38336904
Keep in mind that not always is a virus that is messing up with your computer. Unfortunately, conflicts between legitimate software could be also the cause for non-expert user's problems.
Thanks,
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