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Old 03-03-2005, 09:21 AM   #1
wrx2.0 555
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Default PC guru's...I need your help....

My brother-in-law is having an issue.

Its a W2K machine.

On boot up, it gets to the point of loading the desktop, the taskbar appears, then a few seconds later the taskbar disappears and the system just sits there.
He can ctl-alt-del and get to the task manager, but that doesnt really do any good.
He took it into a PC shop and they said this was "weird" and they want to re-install the OS. I just dont believe thats completely necessary.

It will boot in safe mode. We managed to run a virus scan, spyware scan and defrag (just for the sake of arguement) and none did any good.

I realize that this may not be quite enough info, but this is pretty much the jest of what its doing.

I dont have the PC, so I cant try any of your ideas immediately, but thanks in advance for any help.

Scott
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Old 03-03-2005, 09:30 AM   #2
MattWRX
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In safe mode, try a program called HiJackThis. This one little program (that fits on a floppy disk) has helped me more with spyware removal than any other single tool.

This and other info/free software can be found HERE.

If it will actually boot into safe mode, I would be suspect of something in the Registry or other startup areas... which HijackThis scans. If you're unsure of what to remove, you can scan, save a log, and post it to one of the many spyware forums around the net.

HTH!
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Old 03-03-2005, 09:58 AM   #3
wrx2.0 555
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I've sent him the info..

Thanks...
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Old 03-03-2005, 10:05 AM   #4
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Boot into Safe mode. And Disable all programs that boot on startup. I'd even go as far as trying TweakUI and disable the start up junk in the registry as well.

What is most likely happening is something is crashing 'explorer.exe' or just simply hanging. A neat trick is to hit "Windows Key - R" and type 'explorer.exe' and see if it starts back up. If the machine is frozen, then most likely something is taking it down with it.

Rant:
One of the biggest problems today is AV software. It is such a Beast on performace. If your running "Scan Everything" mode on AV, Take your system specs divide by 2. But, I have seen AV software do dumb stuff. Like, Try and quarenteen VITAL dll's and exe's for windows crashing machines. So, if you have full system scan on, check the logs to make sure it didn't quarenteen something vital.

So, do yourself a favor. Turn off full system scans. And just enable 'ports of entry' emails. downloads. media. Your computer will thank you!
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Old 03-03-2005, 10:18 AM   #5
wrx2.0 555
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Good stuff...Thanks...
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Old 03-03-2005, 11:45 AM   #6
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Or he could have just re-installed the OS in the time it would have taken to try all of these anti-spyware programs. We have a 15 minute policy at work. If we can't get rid of the Spyware in 15 minutes, we load a new image.
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Old 03-03-2005, 12:07 PM   #7
wrx2.0 555
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Quote:
Originally Posted by integroid
Or he could have just re-installed the OS in the time it would have taken to try all of these anti-spyware programs. We have a 15 minute policy at work. If we can't get rid of the Spyware in 15 minutes, we load a new image.

The problem here is---he doesnt have the cd, I do. The guy at the pc shop wanted to do that but wanted the key. Problem with that is that I used a keyless version and dont have a key to give him. "catch-22", I suppose.
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Old 03-03-2005, 12:18 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by integroid
Or he could have just re-installed the OS in the time it would have taken to try all of these anti-spyware programs. We have a 15 minute policy at work. If we can't get rid of the Spyware in 15 minutes, we load a new image.
Wow. Thats insaine.

Try this for a 15min policy. Take your employees aside for 15 mins, and educate them on what not to click.

Try this for a 15min policy. Take your employees aside for 15mins and teach them to updated windows and turn off activeX.

Try this for a 15 min policy. Install Firefox.


All I can say is ... god bless linux ...
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Old 03-03-2005, 12:33 PM   #9
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How about F8 then doing a step by step boot and see what process is hanging the system?

Then retry and F8 and do another step by step but skip that step and see if it makes it.
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Old 03-03-2005, 01:40 PM   #10
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Linux is a virus with a user interface

Other than that, the other's are right. It's something being started from either the Start program group, or from the registry. <F8> will allow you to monitor drivers and system related processes...at the point when the taskbar is loading, it's the start group and registry that are starting programs. The spyware path is the best bet for resolving this issue. Re-installing the OS may or may not fix it, since the update process is keen on keeping your old configuration. And a fresh install or image is a last resort IMHO. I hate re-configuring all my apps.

Also, if the task manager is coming up when you do <CTRL-ALT-DEL>, then look at the "Processes" tab, and sort it by CPU. See if you recognize whatever is eating the CPU cycles. Try "End Process Tree" on it to see if that helps. If it's the System Idle Time with all of the CPU, then it's an I/O operation that is hanging, and those are alittle trickier to find. But I'd recommend the spyware path to avoid having to learn too much about how Winblowz works.

Just my 2 cents.
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Old 03-03-2005, 01:44 PM   #11
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I work with this kinda stuff all the time. I really can't add anything that they have not already mentioned. If it was my personal machine I would first reload windows. My personal machine only get reloaded when I change major hardware companets though like motherboards and such. Some people should not be allowed to touch a computer.
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Old 03-03-2005, 01:56 PM   #12
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Quote:
Some people should not be allowed to touch a computer.
ding....ding....ding
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Old 03-03-2005, 01:58 PM   #13
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Maybe we could convince people to take a test that would prove if they have the intellegence needed to run a computer and not **** it up.
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Old 03-03-2005, 02:23 PM   #14
wrx2.0 555
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Longfury
Maybe we could convince people to take a test that would prove if they have the intellegence needed to run a computer and not **** it up.

That "person" would most likely be my brother-in-laws son. He's 18 and I know for a fact that he browses to places and looks at things he shouldnt.


Anyway...........thanks for all of the info. He is getting the PC back from the shop at lunch and should be calling me tonight to walk thru some of this stuff. I'll update the thread tomorrow with the results.


Thanks again,

Scott
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Old 03-03-2005, 02:38 PM   #15
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Well you have to excuse my thoughts on the general computer user. I have been working on computers since '98 and i have seen the type of problems i see change dramaticly in the last 2-3 years.

When i started in computers in '98 i almost never saw a software issues that was caused by the customer. The issues were generally cause by a program installing itself and screwing up a windows file or a few files. Most of the issues were hardware in nature and they were fairly easy to track down.

Now move up to '05. I see 1-2 true hardware issues every week. Almost every other computer system i see has some form of user created windows problem. My attitude toward users has soured greatly.

I never intended to insult or put down anyone in your family. I know that I probally didn't step on any toes but i wanted to express how i feel about most computer users. The computer got cheap and that cause an influx of people that can't even get their VCR to not blink 12:00 all the time

-Richard (one frustrated and pissed off PC repair tech)
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Old 03-03-2005, 02:44 PM   #16
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It sounds like what mine does after I've been running Azureus for a long time... Windows Explorer just "shuts down and I loose the start bar and all my Icons on my desktop... From that point I just Ctrl+Alt+Del and restart WinExplorer and everything comes back up... But if I am pissed off and not in the mood (about 90% of the time) I just kill it and Restart the whole computer...
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Old 03-03-2005, 03:13 PM   #17
wrx2.0 555
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Longfury
Well you have to excuse my thoughts on the general computer user. I have been working on computers since '98 and i have seen the type of problems i see change dramaticly in the last 2-3 years.

When i started in computers in '98 i almost never saw a software issues that was caused by the customer. The issues were generally cause by a program installing itself and screwing up a windows file or a few files. Most of the issues were hardware in nature and they were fairly easy to track down.

Now move up to '05. I see 1-2 true hardware issues every week. Almost every other computer system i see has some form of user created windows problem. My attitude toward users has soured greatly.

I never intended to insult or put down anyone in your family. I know that I probally didn't step on any toes but i wanted to express how i feel about most computer users. The computer got cheap and that cause an influx of people that can't even get their VCR to not blink 12:00 all the time

-Richard (one frustrated and pissed off PC repair tech)


.....sounds like someone has a case of the mondays...
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Old 03-03-2005, 03:20 PM   #18
Longfury
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wrx2.0 555
.....sounds like someone has a case of the mondays...

Well for me its 5 days this week and 6 days next week of the same ole same ole. Everyday could be a monday for me around here. If anyone in Atlanta needs some help and they are on the northest side of town let me know. I am always in search of a better job
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Old 03-03-2005, 04:15 PM   #19
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Chances are there's malware or a trojan on the machine. I see it frequently at work, same symptoms as well.

Go here and do a scan: http://housecall.antivirus.com . It will take a few minutes to install the .cab files, but its pretty accurate and should be able to find the problems.
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Old 03-03-2005, 06:50 PM   #20
enTarget
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Longfury,

Want to know the meaning of frustration, work in this business for another 12 years and you'll catch up. There's a reason they won't let me near users. Servers all the way buddy, preferrably infrastructure ones that users don't normally interface with.

Jeff

P.S. A little Lime and a raised floor go a long way for getting rid of BDU's (Brain Dead Users)

This is in no way a comment on the original posters relatives.
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Old 03-03-2005, 07:05 PM   #21
Longfury
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If I last another 12 years in this industry I will kill myself I don't want to go through all the expense and time to get certified to do that.

I hope to go into the automotive area, engineering/drafting, or history.

They don't let me around too many users neither.
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Old 03-03-2005, 10:41 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Opie
How about F8 then doing a step by step boot and see what process is hanging the system?

Then retry and F8 and do another step by step but skip that step and see if it makes it.
Take that a step further and once you narrow it down remove it through MSCONFIG.

Start > Run > MSCONFIG this allows you to configure most of your startup options.

PS. Hijack this is not really for a computer newbie. You can do more damage than good if done incorrectly. (Just a warning Merlin.org (I think it is) is really cool, but you need to know a little about processes + registry)

Last edited by BlackEyeII; 03-03-2005 at 10:49 PM.
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Old 03-04-2005, 01:58 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Celly
Wow. Thats insaine.

Try this for a 15min policy. Take your employees aside for 15 mins, and educate them on what not to click.

Try this for a 15min policy. Take your employees aside for 15mins and teach them to updated windows and turn off activeX.

Try this for a 15 min policy. Install Firefox.


All I can say is ... god bless linux ...
We do educate or at least try to educate them. They never listen. Most users are idiots

Active X is set to prompt...they always just click yes even after specific instrunctions to only hit yes if they are on a "safe" site.

You most not support stupid users on a daily basis in a MS domain. We can load an image in 5-10 minutes and have them up and running in less than 30 minutes. Why would I want to waste an hour+ to try and remove spyware?

Go back to your hole and administer that linux box. The majority of corporate america uses MS for desktop OS's.

PS- I hate MS and Mr Gates but thanks to him, I will always have a high paying job supporting morons
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Old 03-04-2005, 07:20 AM   #24
wrx2.0 555
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackEyeII
Take that a step further and once you narrow it down remove it through MSCONFIG.

Start > Run > MSCONFIG this allows you to configure most of your startup options.

PS. Hijack this is not really for a computer newbie. You can do more damage than good if done incorrectly. (Just a warning Merlin.org (I think it is) is really cool, but you need to know a little about processes + registry)
We cant get the run box to come up.

And...unless I'm missing something...when he went to F8, there was no step by step for the boot sequence..
We ran a enable boot logging, but when we tried to search for the .txt file, it was supposed to be in the windows folder but the windows folder was emtpy.
They are actually passing thru, sorta, tonight, so I am going to try and get him an actual cd for the OS..Isnt the Repair option on W2K via the cd?

He tried the hijackthis and it did find stuff and fix it. One of the files it fixed keeps coming back everytime he runs the scan.
We managed to get norton live updates, updated. I left him last night running the scan, so I dont how that turned out.

Thanks for all the suggestions..........

Scott
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