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Group Policy preventing Windows Firewall from turning on

By Badwolf ยท 20 replies
Feb 17, 2009
  1. Hi

    I recently swapped PCs with my daughter, so I am using her HP pavillion (Vista Home), which has been with her at University for a year. It runs like a dog and had no firewall or AV. I got rid of lots of junk, I ran a couple of AV programs but am not able to turn on the Vista firewall. Apparently "For my security, some settings are controlled by Group Policy".

    With my limited knowledge I suspect this is either some Malware, or some hangover from her Uni network. So, I have run HJT - log attached. Any help gratefully accepted. If it's not anything nasty, how do I over-ride the group policy?

  2. mflynn

    mflynn TS Rookie Posts: 2,655

    Ok tell me what
    you ran. I see what looks like the dregs of Norton.

    What Virus scanners did you install?

    In any case do the below.

    Do the TechSpot 8 steps: https://www.techspot.com/vb/topic58138.html

    Skip no steps (do not install a Firewall).

    Leave the virus scanner alone for now until after the 8 Steps.

    Most importantly update MalwareBytes and SuperAntiSpyware!

  3. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 10,432   +801

    all version of Vista have a firewall

    To turn on Windows Firewall:

    1. Open Windows Firewall by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking Security, and then clicking Windows Firewall.

    2. Click Turn Windows Firewall on or off. Administrator permission required If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

    3. Click On (recommended), and then click OK.​
  4. peacefulchaos

    peacefulchaos TS Rookie Posts: 44

    If the computer is joined to the University's domain then that could be the reason it is displaying this since most domains manage all firewall settings via group policy. In computer properties check to see if it is joined to a domain and if it is, switch it to workgroup.

    Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Control Panel.

    Open System in Control Panel.

    Under Computer name, domain, and workgroup settings click Change settings.

    On the Computer Name page, click Change.
  5. Badwolf

    Badwolf TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks, done all that ...

    Thanks for your help.

    1 I have tried turning on the Firewall as described, but it still says it can't do it because "Some of the settings are controlled by Group Policy"

    2 I have checked the domain - was set to WORKGROUP

    3 I have followed the 8 steps - logs attached (apart from SAS - can't find it!). The AV programs found nothing, but MALWAREBYTES found two trojans and something else. Super anti-Spyware got rid of 126 tracking cookies.

    I still have the problem of not being able to access Windows Firewall - have loaded ZA since the HJT was run.

    Again, any help much appreciated

  6. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

    -> No action taken on MBAM scan, for found issues
    Please re-run Malwarebytes
    Confirm updated (third tab)
    Then do the above quoted message, but this time "Remove all found issues"


    By the way, you can only have 1 Antivirus installed, you presently have 2 (Avast and Avira)
    I'd uninstall both, then restart, then re-download and install Avira (this is to stop any possible present corruption) Do this before you scan with Malwarebytes again ;)

    Also, there seems to be two policy restrictions in your HJT log, that shouldn't be there
    Re-open HJT scan only, and tick the 2 below entries
    Close any Internet browser, and then select Fix
    Let us know the outcome to all of this :)
  7. mflynn

    mflynn TS Rookie Posts: 2,655

    Installed Zone alarm!

    You went from bad to worse.

    One Firewall has a problem and you put in another?

    The first should be fixed first.

    Now you have a FW that is hard to cleanup even after uninstall.

    You need to run these things by us while we are trying to help you.

    Uninstall ZA.

    Then report back in.

  8. Badwolf

    Badwolf TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Sorry - done as requested

    Okay - thanks for your help by the way and for persevering with an *****!

    Right, I have done as requested and re-run Malware bytes and removed everything (log attached). I have I have deleted/fixed the two entries in HJT. I have removed both AV programs.

    Sorry I re-installed a firewall, call it paranoia but I didn't like being unprotected. Anyway, now uninstalled.

    I still can't turn on the windows firewall - same message: For your security some settings are controlled by group policy. The options to turn on/off are greyed out.

    So, what's next?
  9. mflynn

    mflynn TS Rookie Posts: 2,655

    If you did the 8 Steps where is the SuperAntiSpyware (SAS) log?

    Run that post log first!

    Then do the below!

    Download ComboFix

    NOTE: If you have had ComboFix more than a few days old delete and re-download.

    Get it here: http://download.bleepingcomputer.com/sUBs/ComboFix.exe
    Or here: http://subs.geekstogo.com/ComboFix.exe

    Double click combofix.exe follow the prompts.

    Install Recovery Console if connected to the Internet!

    When finished, it will open a log.
    Attach the log and a new HJT log in your next reply.

    Note: Do not click combofix's window while its running. That may cause it to stall.

  10. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524


    ensure all these are AUTOstart and running:

    -Event log
    -Network connections
    -Remote Procedure call
    -Security Center
    -Windows Management Instrumentation
    -Windows Firewall

    Note: just double click on each service to change the settings, and start

    But I feel that you still may have malware installed
    Is Avira Antivirus installed and running?

    mflynn is quick ;)
  11. mflynn

    mflynn TS Rookie Posts: 2,655

    I know what the problem is and will fix it only I feel he is is Malware free!

  12. Badwolf

    Badwolf TS Rookie Topic Starter

    You guys are quick ...

    Kimsland - done the services bit: Network Connections and Remote PC were Started/Manual - now automatic. I assume Event Log is Windows Event Log - that was okay like the others.

    mflynn - I ran the SAS scan overnight last night (UK time) - it found 126 cookies - but I couldn't find the log file. Just persevered and found it - attached!!

  13. mflynn

    mflynn TS Rookie Posts: 2,655

    OK I need to know!

    If the ComboFix comes clean then we will fix your issue.

    It is a permissions issue and I don't want to open it for Malware.

    Get me the combofix from post #9.

  14. Badwolf

    Badwolf TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Combo and HJT logs

    Scary moment there - after running Combofix I lost all connectivity.

    Anyway, restarted and here are the two logs
  15. mflynn

    mflynn TS Rookie Posts: 2,655

    OK it had a badie so run Combofix again and post log to confirm it found nothing else and we have a clean log.

  16. Badwolf

    Badwolf TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hi Mike

    Re-ran - log attached. Looks like it hasn't found anything else...


    .. and just checked - Windows Firewall is on

    Now the real question is - do I use it or ZA or Comodo? What is your recommendation?


    Mike and Kim

    It's 2am here and I am going to bed. Huge thanks to both of you - especially Mike. My next challenge is to clear up my 18 year old sons PC! 8 steps here I come - again, very many thanks

  17. mflynn

    mflynn TS Rookie Posts: 2,655

    Not so quick more to do! Still infected.

    Please open Notepad (Start -> Run -> type notepad in the Open field -> OK) and copy and paste the text present inside the code box below:

    Save this as CFScript.txt and change the "Save as type" to "All Files" and place it on your desktop.

    Then drag this script and drop on top of ComboFix.

    ComboFix will now run a scan on your system.

    It may reboot your system when it finishes. This is normal.

    When finished, it will create a log. Attach the log back.

    Then Reboot
    Then post another Combofix log (no script) to confirm issues really are now gone

  18. Badwolf

    Badwolf TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hi Mike

    Here's the first ComboFix script

    By the way, my PC seems to have lost Audio after the reboot no HD controller


    and meanwhile I will try and figure out how to get my audio back. Control Panel says no audio devices are installed

  19. mflynn

    mflynn TS Rookie Posts: 2,655

    Hmm I don't know why that happened?

    Do you have the Driver install for it?

    May have had malware attached to a file.

    Is all else normal?

    And the final log is clean.

  20. Badwolf

    Badwolf TS Rookie Topic Starter

    HI Mike

    Yes, re-isnstalled the driver - all seems okay.

    Finally, I really can thank you for your help. You've been both tolerant and brilliant!

  21. mflynn

    mflynn TS Rookie Posts: 2,655

    Thats a Cut!

    You did a good job!

    Consider the below.

    Thread Closing-------------------------------------------------------------------

    Some of these tools update so often they require downloading again later if needed. But keep and run MBAM and SAS to maintain.

    Remove ComboFix
    combofix /u
    Hit enter or click OK.

    Please download OTCleanIt http://download.bleepingcomputer.com/oldtimer/OTCleanIt.exe

    Save to desktop.

    This will remove all the tools we used to clean your computer.

    Double-click OTCleanIt.exe. Click CleanUp. Yes to the "Begin cleanup Process?"

    Approve all if prompted by Firewall. Approve Widows Defender or other guards or security programs while OTCleanIt attempting access to the Internet to allow all.

    If prompted to Reboot click, Yes.
    OTCleanit will delete itself when finished, If not delete it by yourself.

    Run CCleaner http://www.ccleaner.com/download/builds (get SLIM at bottom no Yahoo toolbar)
    Run twice or more on Cleanup temps, then on left click Registry then Scan for issues also repeat till clean.

    Run ATF-Cleaner http://majorgeeks.com/ATF_Cleaner_d4949.html Temp and Registry, repeatedly until no more found.

    KCleaner ftp://ftp2.kcsoftwares.com/kcsoftwa/files/kcleaner.exe
    Fantastic cleaner.
    The issues can and are likely found is in System Restore so do the below

    Start-Programs-Accessories-System Tools-Disk- System Restore and create a new Restore point. Name it "After cleanup at TechSpot".

    Then Start-Programs-Accessories-System Tools-Disk Cleanup
    Click OK to accept C:
    Select all Boxes
    Then click More Options
    Here click System Restore and OK to "Are you sure" and the OK to Run.

    As this runs it clears all but the most recent Restore Point but it does one other thing that can contain infested files and a huge amount of disk space.

    It clears what is known as Shadow copies which are used by specialized back up programs.

    This is if you have the Volume Shadow Copy running which is the default.

    Every two weeks or so, run MBAM and SAS until clean.

    They take a while, so leave scanning while you are sleeping working or watching TV. If not done under the gun they can be scheduled not to interfere with computer time.

    If they find something they can not clean, then get back to us.

    Additionally run CCleaner. ATF-Cleaner and KCleaner.
    I have been using ThreatFire for more than a year, it just went from ver 3 to ver 4.

    It was designed to be used with and to co-exist with other Virus scanners.

    Additionally it uses a totally different process to protect. While conventional Virus scanners work from definitions ThreatFire works on recognizing Virus/Malware activity.

    It's like looking at it with 2 sets of eyes and from a different angle.

    It works like some Firewalls do to learn what is good/bad.

    After install it will ask you about everything that could be a security issue. For example the first time you run IE or FireFox it will prompt you. You would answer to approve and remember the setting. From then on no more prompts about IE or FireFox unless the exe changes like in an update.

    As it queries you about the prompt to help you determine to approve or not you can google it with one click.

    Look at http://www.javacoolsoftware.com/spywareblaster.html

    Run SpyBot ocassionally and use the Immunize function.

    I highly reccomend Hostman: Hostman http://majorgeeks.com/HostsMan_d4592.html

    Download install run and allow it to disable DNS Client and select all Host files and then Update and install all host files.

    A Disk Scan (chkdsk) and Defrag are in order.

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