Is it the virus? Driver corruption? Hardware? All the above?

By LookinAround · 4 replies
Apr 14, 2009
  1. OK. Now, I’m the one asking for help this time. Have spent much of the day working on a friend’s computer

    1. Dell Optiplex 320 running XP Pro SP3
    2. Problems started with malware symptoms
      • Clicks on Google search links were sometimes re-directed
      • Regedit and command prompt window wouldn’t open
      • AVG updates were failing to connect to AVG server
      • Windows updates also didn't appear to download/install
    3. After I tried some changes, it began to BSOD on Windows XP startup with Stop 0x0000007B
    4. Tried Safe mode, same BSOD Stop 0x0000007B on Windows XP startup
    5. I tried an XP repair install.. Starts good
      => It copies files from the CD
      => Reboots (when it should) and starts the normal XP installation / progress screens
      => Reboots itself again when done (as it should)
      => XP startup windows appears BUT THEN it's followed by a new screen stating “Setup is Restarting”, and it loops back to XP installation/progress screens (an endless loop!)
    6. I tried Dell’s hard disk diagnostics. No errors
    7. I tried the Windows Recovery Console,
      => Ran chkdsk /r. No errors
      => Ran FIXBOOT. No difference
    8. I tried booting from a Gparted-Live CD. Won’t work. Also tried a Knoppix CD. Won’t work
    9. I tried booting from an Acronis True Image v10 Recovery CD
      => If i select the normal True Image start option, it fails with USB error message
      => But when i select True Image's safe mode start option, it starts and does find the external USB drive as well
    I quit for the day. Still planning to
    => Update their BIOS (i saw it's 2 years behind current release)
    => Try a ghost image recovery of a backup

    Is it the virus? And/or Driver corruption? And/or hardware failure?? or ?? And why the heck is Windows in a "Setup is restarting" loop?

    Any thoughts to fix???? Anyone see any thing with similar symptoms? (especially this “Setup is Restarting” loop?)
  2. B00kWyrm

    B00kWyrm TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,436   +37

    I hope this helps,
    but I have no confidence in being able to help
    given your extended level of expertise...

    In any case...
    Re: Startup Loop
    This may be absolutely obvious to you
    and you probably have already done this,
    but have you looked at

    Otherwise, it sounds to me like damaged hard-drive...
    though the "Stop 0x0000007B" could indicate boot sector virus...

    Again, all obvious probably...
    I don't know if this recovery strategy might work for you...

    Install OS fresh on a new drive....
    Install AV, Firewall, Antispyware etc...

    Make old drive a temporary slave ( or external).
    Scan for errors / malware etc
    Recover data files etc

    Then try diagnostics programs to repair drive.

    As I said above...
    you may have already gone this route too.

    I had experience trying to help someone with a Dell a number of years ago,
    and got into a loop... We never were able to resolve / repair it.
    I think I / we finally concluded (correctly or not)
    that it was a problem on the main board.
  3. Bobbye

    Bobbye Helper on the Fringe Posts: 16,334   +36

    Bet you've already been here- unless you got redirected!

    Advanced troubleshooting for "Stop 0x0000007B" errors in Windows XP:

    I'm going to quote part of it in case you cannot access:
    Since you have asked whether the problem is virus, driver, hardware or 'other', I suspect you may have read through this already. Now that I have showed you how brilliant I am with copy and paste, let me know if you need more details from the MS site.
  4. mflynn

    mflynn TS Rookie Posts: 2,655

    You have Malware that is Large and in Charge! Likely a BOOT SECTOR Virus as Bobbye suggests.

    You did not say specifically what you did "changes" but you stirred up a hornets nest!

    I would do this Boot CD!

    1. Get Avira Rescue Boot CD

    2. Get ImgBurn Use this to Burn Image.

    3. Boot the infected from this CD chose 2 Boot into AntiVir Rescue System
    4. Choose English language and wait for Drivers to load.could pause several moments at 80%

    5. Arrow down to scan and hit Enter key

    6.Hit Enter on next screen to Scan all files

    7. On next screen hit R and enter to Repair infected files.

    8. On next screen "Select additional file types leave all selected and hit enter

    9. On next screen hit Enter to start scan
    When finished approve to fix all.

    This is important after the above reboot to the XP CD and begin Repair install over (try not to boot to normal yet).

  5. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Topic Starter Posts: 6,491   +184

    Thank you all for your help and some great ideas, things to try and to do. I won't have a chance to look at their computer again till tomorrow or later in the week but will let you all know what i might find with your help/suggestions. Thanks again :)

    By the way, someone on TechSpot once posted "Who needs a hobby when you have a PC?" And ain't it the truth?! :haha:
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