Unable to extract ZIP files or change File settings in Vista.

A customer complained that a particular download could not be extracted.  The files in question were updates for a game.  He had no previous problem with files from that game maker.  He called the game maker and was assured that the files were OK.  That it must be his computer or the download.  After trying the download again he called me.

When I investigated.  I found that no Zipped files can be extracted.  There is no "Extract All" selection when I right click any ZIP file.  When I tried to reveal the file extensions and expose hidden files do I could see what I was doing, the command did not work.  When I went back to the menu in "Organize Files" nothing had changed.

I also discovered that 7-zip - among other things - had somehow been installed on the computer.  I uninstalled 7-zip and several other pieces of trashware, ran Malwarebytes, Superantispyware, Eset Online Scanner, and Tweaking.com Windows Repair.

This customer does not install anything but shrink-wrapped games on this particular computer.  He does download updates, but he does not do multiplayer.  And, if anything seems complicated, he calls me.

Short of a complete OS reinstall, which would be laborious given the number of games in this customer's inventory, what do I have to do to get this machine to function properly again.
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Dan CraciunIT ConsultantCommented:
7-zip is definitely not trash.
It's a free and viable alternative to the bloated and ad-supported WinZip.
Plus, using the 7z format usually will result in a better compression.

That being said, I've seen malware disguised as 7-zip, so make sure you download it from a reputable source.

You might want to install the trial of WinRar. It's very stable and should allow your client to open most archive formats.

rhaveyAuthor Commented:
My experience with 7-zip has been 100% negative.  Every installation has been sneakware, where it gets installed by piggybacking on something else, and BTW, it usually has a bunch of other sneakware with no opportunity to opt out of the installation of the additional software.

My most recent experience was with the Major Geeks mirror on Tweaking.com, both reputable sources.  I wound up with 7-zip on a laptop where I did not ask for it.  Worse, when I uninstalled 7-zip, the laptop would no longer boot.  Fortunately, I had just cloned that hard drive from a smaller one and all I had to do was repeat the clone operation.

Next I suppose you will tell me how useful PC Optimizer and My PC Backup are.  And, how good an idea it is to change from a user's desired start page to ASK, Conduit, Searchweb, or some other search page and change the search engine to one of those instead of Google.  BTW, I don't like the way Google pushes out Chrome either.

I am seeing a lot of problem computers that do not have actual malware, but do have a lot of things that slipped by the user when he/she was installing something else - thus the terms trashware and sneakware.
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Dan CraciunIT ConsultantCommented:
I always use Ninite to install 7-zip, since I only do that after a fresh install or when trying to update a bunch of programs at once (VLC, Winamp, Notepad++, Filezilla etc).

Never had a problem with it, using it on 50+ computers. No adware, no malware.

On the plus side, I'm the only one logging in with admin credentials on those computers, so the users can't wreak havoc.

rhaveyAuthor Commented:

I tried the registry fix on the link you suggested.  The result was Access Denied.  I was able to get into Regedit and back up the registry.

I am more concerned that I can't change any settings in Windows.  I can't expose hidden files or file extensions.  I opened Control Panel.  It was in the default condition.  I was able to change to the "Small Icons" view, but when I closed Control Panel and reopened it, the default display was back.
try making another user Admin account - and try if that works
you can also run sfc, or a repair :
      http://vistasupport.mvps.org/system_file_checker.htm            SFC in Vista
      http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutorials/tutorial148.html      repair Vista

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rhaveyAuthor Commented:
Thank you Nobus.  I had already run SFC, but creating a new user Admin account fixed the problem with changing settings and the problem with extracting files.

I'm glad I did not have to go through the Vista repair.  It is destructive.
tx for feedback - though i must say i never had problems  with any repair, in XP, Vista, or W7.
if you have problems with it, i'm nearly 100% sure it comes from hardware problems
rhaveyAuthor Commented:
Maybe I have been missing something.  I can usually repair XP even when I have to boot from a slipstreamed CD without affecting anything other than the OS.  When I try to do that with anything newer, everything has to be reinstalled and the data has to be restored from a backup unless I can boot to the OS in the first place.
then it is not a repair you did - since that never touches the data
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Windows Vista

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