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New member - unable to run defrag, task mgr, device mgr, some applications...

By wackobird
Jan 24, 2005
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  1. I have spent hours reading your boards and responses over the last day or two, and registered to ask for assistance. I'm currently using IE6, but when I clicked the title to read instructions on how to send HJT file, the window closed immediately. I've just dl'd Adaware SE, and I'm trying to update SpyBot S&D. It took 11 minutes just to download SE... yuck. Dialup was ugly enough without the critters I've acquired. I also run Spy Sweeper, and it has found several uglies. Whatever evil thing I've run into, it disabled my Norton and I'm not even sure when it did that. I had it set to run while I was sleeping, and never suspected any issues. I tried to do a live update for Norton, because I received an error when trying to do a manual one telling me that critical files were corrupted or missing. The nightmare started unfolding... When I started searching on Google 2 days ago, I ran across a site that had a startup database online, and I then started realizing that many things that appeared to be system files were placed there by trojans or bots and had no business being in startup. As of this morning, HJT will not run. Each time I click the executable, a window flashes briefly, and that's it.
    For starters, which temp files should be cleaned out, and is it truly safe to delete everything in the %temp% file? I'm sure it would help, but it contains almost 50 meg of junk, so it was slightly scarey. I decided to wait until I had some kind of assistance. (In the past, I haven't had good experiences taking PC's to retail shops for "diagnostic and repair" services.) Years ago, I was comfortable with my own abilities/attempts at problem solving, but XP is one ugly beast compared to Win95. I've forgotten more than I care to admit, but from the looks of XP, anything I knew would not come close to applying to XP. Spyware, hijackers, and adware, combined with the pure evilness and sophistication of the trojans, worms, parasites, etc. have me hesitant to touch anything.
    This is one of the best support forums I've seen, and the advisors seem very friendly and thankfully very patient.
    Apologies for the length of post and rambling.... Please advise a nice simple place to start. I will do my best to follow up and repost with results. Thank you in advance.
  2. howard_hopkinso

    howard_hopkinso TS Rookie Posts: 25,948   +19

    Hello and welcome to Techspot.

    First of all do a thorough clean up on your machine I.E all temp files including internet temp files and cookies.

    Then run a defrag if you can and a checkdisk.

    Then go HERE and follow the instructions exactly.

    Maybe print them out.

    Once you have done this go HERE and follow the instructions on how to post your Hijackthis log.

    Regards Howard :wave: :wave:
  3. wackobird

    wackobird TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 24

    Howard, thank you for quick response! Is there a list of the directories or folders where the zillions of temp files hide? I have been deleting all internet temp files, cookies, history and offline content.
    Can you advise where to find info missing on my profile for the pc specs? If it wasnt on the front of the machine, it isnt on my profile yet.
    As of 2 days ago, I was able to checkdisk, but life is much uglier today... I will see if I can still do that. I am unable to access defrag at all, and it desperately needs it.
    I have tried mmc, regedit, services.msc -s, msconfig, and a number of others from the start>run, with no luck at accessing any. Ctrl, Alt, Del does not work and I can access the task manager only if I hurry with that combo when Windows is first coming up, and prior to all the desktop icons showing up, but the area of running tasks is completely grayed out... It shows a horrifying number of them running at the bottom though, 43 when I last rebooted about an hour ago.
    I saw in another post a suggestion to try sfc /scannow from start>run, and it ran for about 5 minutes then the box closed. Is there a text or logfile somewhere that appears if you run this, or do I assume all is well if no report came up and no sirens went off?
    This machine is barely 6 months old, and my 8 year old dinosaur is looking better and better each day...

    Good grief, I also forgot to ask if there is a specific placement for HJT that you'd recommend. I was unable to touch this program earlier, and I can't even click the links you advised in your reply. IE closes immediately when I do. Is it possible that someone could sent those posts to me via email? I will go change my profile to allow emails if so.
    I had also bookmarked a posted response to another user that was written by realblackstuff, which had detailed the settings to check in Adaware SE, but some of my bookmarks are gone. Grrrrr....... If anyone has seen this post or has it bookmarked, please cut and paste those instructions into a post here, as they would be tremendously helpful. Thank you again...
  4. jshields13

    jshields13 TS Rookie Posts: 128

    Wacko, go to Start>All Programs>Accessories>System Tools>Disk Cleanup. That should enable you to remove all the stuff Howard said to. After that, follow his directions.

    Good Luck.
  5. howard_hopkinso

    howard_hopkinso TS Rookie Posts: 25,948   +19

    Reboot into safe mode with network

    See if you can access msconfig if you can click on start up and uncheck anything you don`t want to run then click on the services tab check the box that says hide all Microsoft services and again uncheck anything that you don`t require.

    Then try and come back to Techspot still in safe mode and see if you can click on the links I gave you.

    I have also sent you an e-mail with the links in full.

    Regards Howard. :approve:
  6. HeddaLora

    HeddaLora TS Rookie Posts: 17

    On non-XP systems, the temp files are here: c:\windows\temp\*.tmp

    On XP, they are here:
    c:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Temp

    -- Delete temporary internet files (c:\windows\temporary internet files\*.*)

    Temporary Internet Files are in C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files

    -- In I.E., click on Tools, Internet Options, Delete Files, select "delete all off-line content", click OK

    -- Click on Start, Programs, Accessories, Systems Tools, Disk Cleanup

    -- Download AdAware, check for updates, run it and remove whatever it finds

    -- Download Diskeeper and defrag

    -- Download, update and turn on SpywareBlaster and SpywareGuard.
  7. wackobird

    wackobird TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 24

    I have been running the spyware/adware programs as advised, and trying to follow the directive for removal of the CWS issues. To date, I am still unable to run hijackthis. I am downloading CCleaner from the downloads here at techspot, as that has been recommended highly also. I have one question that may be the root of some of my problems. When following all the steps in the CWS removal, there is no reference to dumping old restore points. I have NEVER dumped any of them, and the machine is 6 months old. I have tried restoring multiples times over the last month or so... sometimes as far back as a point in October. Would it be beneficial to just dump all the restore points prior to attempting these cleanups and fixes? I had noticed that some of the things found had a reference to being stored, and that must be where the programs are seeing these items. There was no reference to old restore points in the directive, but I cant think of anything else that might be causing me problems... If I delete all stored, then would that help? Worse case scenario, I have the set of system restore disks from HP. The ugly thing is, there are 8 of them. Most of it is probably all the preloaded garbage that comes along with the pc. Please advise, and thank you all for your input.
    By the way, to respond to Hedda Lora's recommendations of additional software to download, I already have a purchased new version of Spy Sweeper, and updated versions of Spybot S&D, Ad-Aware, and Xsoft. I did look at the site for diskeeper, and noticed it is a trial version. Are there other defragging utilities that are freeware that might work well?
    Also, I think I need to uninstall the failed attempt at reinstalling Norton SystemWorks... because it doesnt work.
    Thank you all in advance...
  8. HeddaLora

    HeddaLora TS Rookie Posts: 17

    You can search the internet and find DiskeeperLite, the free version of Diskeeper. It's supposed to be pretty good.
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