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Unable to recover active desktop

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Re: Unable to recover active desktop

Unread postby Wingman » August 22nd, 2009, 9:06 am

Hello diggerdi (Diane),

No problem. :) It's always better to have things checked out and be sure there are no infections.
I noticed the version of Adobe reader is out of date... we'll need to update that and I'd like you to perform an online scan of your system.

Please read these instructions carefully before executing and perform the steps, in the order given.
lf, you have any questions about or problems with, executing these instructions, <STOP> do not proceed, post back with the question or problem.

Step 1.
Update Adobe Reader
Your version of Adobe Reader is out-of-date. There are serious security issues with older versions of Adobe Reader.
I'm not asking you to update any Adobe Acrobat installation... this can be quite costly. I am going to insist that you update your Adobe Reader software.
Then use the Reader for viewing PDF files... you can use the Acrobat software for your other needs.

Please download the current version of Adobe Reader...Copyright © Adobe Systems Inc.
  1. Click the yellow "Download now"... button. If you don't already have Adobe DLM... you may recieve a prompt...
  2. If prompted to install "Adobe DLM" This software is not a requirement to obtain the latest Adobe Reader software...so the choice is yours.
    The Adobe (DLM) Download Manager... allows you to "pick up where you left off", if your download process is interrupted. A good idea if you are using dial-up.
    If you choose to install Adobe DLM, it will start the download automatically. Adobe DLM software removal instructions available here...if wanted.
  3. If not using Adobe DLM...click on the highlighted "click here to download" text, to begin the Reader download.
    Save the file to your desktop.
      Uninstall OLD Adobe Reader
    • Please uninstall Adobe Reader before installing the latest version... Go to Start > Control Panel
    • Double click on Add/Remove Programs... Locate:
      Adobe Reader...version to remove
    • Click on Change/Remove to uninstall it. Once uninstalled... Close and exit Control Panel.
  4. Click on the Adobe Acrobat Reader (AdbeRdrxx_en_US.exe) icon, on your desktop... to install the new (free) version.
    The Adobe Reader download file name will be different, depending on the language or OS chosen. xx in the name = version numbers.
  5. The Adobe installer will check your system and begin the installation process. Use the default installation parameters.
  6. When the installation is complete... Close and re-open your Internet browser.

An alternate to the Adobe Reader, you could try the free (for personal use) Foxit PDF Reader. The download file is smaller and when installed,
uses less resources than Adobe Reader. Note: Do not install anything dealing with AskBar... presented as an installation option.

Step 2.
Disable AVG 8.5 Real-time Protection (Temporarily)
Please open the AVG 8.5 Control Center, by right clicking on the AVG icon on task bar.
  1. Click on Open AVG Interface.
  2. Double click on Resident Shield
  3. Deselect the option to "Enable Resident Shield."
  4. Save changes, and exit the application.
  5. To re-enable AVG 8.5, please select "Enable Resident Shield" again.

Step 3.
ESET NOD32 Online Scan
Note: You - will - need to use Internet Explorer for this scan!
Please go to ESET Online Scanner - © ESET All Rights Reserved... to run an online scan.
** Make sure you are using an account that has Administrative privileges **
    Press the "ESET Online Scanner" button.
  1. Check the box next to "YES, I accept the Terms of Use."
  2. Click "Start"... a window will open... it may appear nothing is happening... please be patient.
  3. Click Yes... at the run ActiveX prompt. Click Install... at the install ActiveX prompt.
    Once installed, the scanner will be initialized.
  4. Click "Start". Make sure that the options:
    • Remove found threats is UNCHECKED
    • Leave the "default" settings under Advanced as they are, if not set , please check:
      • Scan for potentially unwanted applications
      • Scan for potentially unsafe applications
      • Enable Anti-Stealth Technology
  5. Click "Start"... ESET scanner will begin to download the virus signatures database.
    When the signatures have been downloaded, the scan will start automatically.
  6. Wait for the scan to finish... it may take a while... please be patient. When the scan is finished...
  7. Use Notepad to open the log file located at C:\Program Files\EsetOnlineScanner\log.txt
  8. Copy and paste the contents of log.txt in your next reply.
Remember to enable your Anti-virus protection... before continuing!

Step 4.
Please include in your next reply:
  1. Any problem executing the instructions?
  2. Adobe Reader updated?
  3. ESET scan results
  4. How is the computer behaving?
Thanks,
Wingman
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Re: Unable to recover active desktop

Unread postby Wingman » August 24th, 2009, 4:02 pm

3 Day Response
Hello... diggerdi (Diane),
It has been 2 days since my last post to you.
  • Do you still need help with this problem?
  • Do you need more time?
  • Are you having problems understanding or following my instructions?
Just let me know what's going on otherwise...
After 24 hrs., if you have not replied to this thread... it will be closed!
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Re: Unable to recover active desktop

Unread postby diggerdi » August 24th, 2009, 4:29 pm

Hi Wingman

Sorry I haven't posted, but I have had a busy weekend and for most of Saturday, could not open any websites. I will explain this in a minute.

However, it is now 9.15 pm on Monday. I started to action your last post about two hours ago. I have updated Adobe Reader. I then started the ESET online scan and after 1 hour 15 minutes it was only 75% completed and I then realised that it was scanning my external hard drive (G) which has about 3 GB of craft CDs, craft downloads and photographs as well as some other stuff. It would have taken forever, so I had to stop the scan. I will do it again tomorrow evening, after disconnecting my external hard drive.

With regard to Saturday, I went on the internet on Sat morning and left the computer on. Later in the day I wanted to check something on the internet, but no websites would open. I was still connected but when I clicked on a website in my favourites, I just got a blank white screen with the word "done" at the bottom. Out of all the sites in my favourites, the only ONE which would open was British Telecom (our telephone provider). I tried downpowering the computer completely, including removing the plug from the wall socket. I switched off the modem and restarted it, but nothing worked.

I can't now remember how I came across the possible problem, but it turned out that Zone Alarm was causing it. I uninstalled Zone Alarm and everything was fine again. I am now only using Windows firewall, and I believe that it is not very good. Could you please advise me?

Many thanks for "listening" to my ramblings, and I will post the ESET log tomorrow.

Bye for now

Diane
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Posts: 31
Joined: March 5th, 2008, 4:21 pm

Re: Unable to recover active desktop

Unread postby diggerdi » August 25th, 2009, 9:59 am

Hi Wingman

Adobe Reader is updated.

ESET scan results

ESETSmartInstaller@High as CAB hook log:
OnlineScanner.ocx - registred OK
# version=6
# iexplore.exe=7.00.6000.16876 (vista_gdr.090625-2339)
# OnlineScanner.ocx=1.0.0.6048
# api_version=3.0.2
# EOSSerial=22ed6751e69ada4a845617d77d68b952
# end=finished
# remove_checked=false
# archives_checked=false
# unwanted_checked=true
# unsafe_checked=true
# antistealth_checked=true
# utc_time=2009-08-25 12:29:15
# local_time=2009-08-25 01:29:15 (+0000, GMT Standard Time)
# country="United Kingdom"
# lang=9
# osver=5.1.2600 NT Service Pack 3
# compatibility_mode=1026 37 83 100 2731925000000
# scanned=92467
# found=0
# cleaned=0
# scan_time=2737

Apart from the problem stated in my last post, the computer is behaving well. What do you recommend for a firewall? Should I try re-installing Zone Alarm?

Until next time.

Regards

Diane
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Posts: 31
Joined: March 5th, 2008, 4:21 pm

Re: Unable to recover active desktop

Unread postby Wingman » August 25th, 2009, 11:52 am

Hello diggerdi (Diane),

The ESET scan looks clean, that's good. :)

Regarding a firewall... if ZoneAlarm was causing problems for you... I would not reinstall it unless you find the suggested firewalls below, do not meet your expectations.
3rd Party Firewall
As the term conveys, a firewall is an extra layer of security installed onto computers, which restricts access to systems from the outside world.
Firewalls protect against hackers and malicious intruders.
Because you are currently using the built-in XP firewall and asked about recommendations for a different firewall, I have provided some below.
I strongly recommend you download a free (for personal use) firewall NOW that monitors traffic in both directions... from one of these excellent vendors:

  1. Comodo (Is now bundled with AV software, toolbar and search provider. Opt to install only the firewall software... uncheck the rest)
  2. Ashampoo
  3. Agnitum
  4. Sunbelt/Kerio ... (30 day free trial)

If you are using the built-in Windows XP firewall, it is not recommended as it does not block outgoing connections.
This means that any malware on your computer is free to "phone home" for more instructions. Simply put, Windows XP contains a very basic firewall.
This firewall is NO replacement for a dedicated software solution. Remember to use only one firewall at the same time.


You can always re-install Zone Alarm, as I said.. if none of the above programs meets your needs or expectations.

Please let me know what you decide to do...
Thanks,
Wingman
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Re: Unable to recover active desktop

Unread postby diggerdi » August 27th, 2009, 9:29 am

Hi Wingman

Tried reinstalling Zone Alarm, but got a message saying a "patch" wasn't available so it wouldn't install. (Sorry, didn't make a note of the proper message on the screen).

Then installed the Ashampoo one and had the same thing happen as with Zone Alarm - no websites would open, just a blank white page. I then uninstalled Ashampoo.

I have now installed Comodo, which seems to be working OK.

Regarding my original problem, are we all finished now or is there still something else to do?

Regards

Diane
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Posts: 31
Joined: March 5th, 2008, 4:21 pm

Re: Unable to recover active desktop

Unread postby Wingman » August 27th, 2009, 12:32 pm

Hello diggerdi (Diane),
Congratulations... you system is clean :cheers:
Please perform the following steps... then read the rest of my post. Once this is completed, you're done!! :D

Step 1.
OTC
Let's perform some housekeeping and cleanup some of the tools we used.
Please download OTC.exe... by OldTimer. Save it to your desktop.
  1. Double click on OTCl.exe.
    If you recieve the "Open File - Security Warning" prompt, press "Run".
  2. Click on CleanUp!.
  3. Click "Yes" to the Begin cleanup process? prompt.
  4. Click "Yes" ... when prompted to reboot the computer to remove files.
Your computer should restart automatically. If it doesn't, please do so manually.

Step 2.
Create a new - clean SRP (System Restore Point)
Now that you're clean, it's a great time to create a new, clean SRP and remove any old entries that may possibly be compromised.
Create a new SRP
  1. Go to Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > System Restore
  2. Select Create a restore point... then press the Next...button.
  3. Type a name for the new SRP... like All Clean... then press the Create... button.
  4. When finished... press the Close...button.
    Now you have a good clean SRP that can be used, if needed.
Remove old SRP entries
  1. Now... Go to Start > Run... type in: cleanmgr...press the OK...button.
    The Disk Cleanup window will show it is "calculating" the amount of space saved by compressing old files. This could take a few seconds, to minutes.
  2. When available... select the More Options... tab.
    In the System Restore section... at the bottom of the window...
  3. Press the Clean up...button. Reply Yes to the "Are you sure you want to delete all but the most recent restore point?" prompt.
  4. Press the X to close and exit.
    All existing restore points will be deleted... except the new one you just created.

You also have ERUNT... you can use this program to backup your registry as well... never a bad thing to have an alternate backup / restore plan.

Please post back, that you performed the requested steps (1 & 2) and have read the rest of this post. Once I receive your post, I will have the topic closed.

Update your Antivirus programs and other security products regularly.
Avoid new threats that could infect your system. You can also check if any application updates are needed for your PC.
Secunia Software Inspector - Copyright © Secunia.
F-secure Health Check - Copyright © F-Secure Corporation.


Visit Microsoft often
Keep on top of critical updates , as well as other updates for your computer.
How to configure and use Automatic Updates in Windows XP
Using Windows Update for Windows XP
Microsoft Update Home


You can try...some free programs, that will help improve your computer's security.
These kinds of protection programs (adware, spyware, etc...) tend to overlap in coverages.
Many feel that having a "layered" protection scheme, is beneficial. Each individual has to decide what works best for their situation.
There are many available...here are a few you can look into, if you want. :)

Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware
You already have this program downloaded... it is a good scanner and can be used on a regular basis.
Always check for updates, before running a scan, as this program is updated often.
If necessary... you can download it from Malewarebytes © Malwarebytes Corporation.
Tutorials are available for installing and running, Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware.
Powerful, easy to use and free. For real-time protection you will have to purchase the product.

Spybot Search and Destroy
Download it from © Safer Networking Ltd. Just choose a mirror and off you go.
A Spybot tutorial can be found Here.

SpywareBlaster
Download it from © Javacool Software LLC.
A SpywareBlaster knowledgebase can be found Here.

WinPatrol
Download it from Copyright © BillP Studios
Information about how WinPatrol works, is available Here.
(The free version of WinPatrol...does not provide any real-time protection)

Firetrust SiteHound
You can find information and download it from © Firetrust Ltd


Read, stay informed.
Please check out these articles:
Tony Klein's "How did I get infected in the first place?"
How to prevent Malware:© miekiemoes - Microsoft MVP - Consumer Security .

Please post back, that you performed the requested steps (1 & 2) and have read the rest of this post. Once I receive your post, I will have the topic closed.

Stay Safe! 8)
Wingman
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Re: Unable to recover active desktop

Unread postby diggerdi » August 28th, 2009, 2:29 pm

Hi Wingman

I have now completed the two steps in the previous post, and read the rest of the post. Many thanks for all your help. It's great to know that there are people like you out there to help us lesser mortals :lol:

I hope I never need your help again, but it's good to know that Malware Removal is there if needed.

Thanks again, and good luck with everything you do in the future.

Diane
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Posts: 31
Joined: March 5th, 2008, 4:21 pm

Re: Unable to recover active desktop

Unread postby Wingman » August 28th, 2009, 3:24 pm

Thanks. Glad we could help. :)
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Re: Unable to recover active desktop

Unread postby Blade81 » August 29th, 2009, 5:29 am

Since the issue appears to be resolved this topic is now closed.

We are pleased we could help you resolve your computer's malware issues.

If you would like to make a comment or leave a compliment regarding the help you have received, please see Feedback for Our Helpers - Say "Thanks" Here.
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