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Quirky Directory Issue

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My cousin's Sony laptop is having a strange directory issue. When you try to open any directory (be it C:\\, or C:\\Users\...\Music, or whatever) the default browser immediately pops up and displays some sort of error, usually something to the effect of "navigation error", etc. We've uninstalled browsers and rebooted to no avail. Maxthor has offered the most helpful insight by displaying the following string in its location bar:


I recognize it as a registry file, but I am not sure what it means. "Nav Cancel" runs in line with the error messages we have been getting from other browsers. He recently installed avast! and it scanned clean. His computer is running abnormally slow, though, so there might be something there after all. I know that a free virus scanner is not a final diagnosis to the actual health of a computer.

Anyway, I was wondering if anyone else has encountered this...? Again, this happens with every directory... but the most interesting part is that once the browser is initialized and running, after he clicks away the error messages, he can continue browsing his directories like normal. I don't understand what is going on at all.

He is running Vista Home Premium (32b).
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    BSOD Warrior/Computer Surgeon

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We now need to make certain that this issue is not malware because if we troubleshoot otherwise we may be wasting our time.

I suggest you go to the Malware Forum and run all the steps located in the START HERE. These self-help tools will help you clean up 70% of problems on your own. If you are still having problems after doing the steps, then please post a HiJackThis Log in THAT forum. If you are unable to run and/or post a HJT log, then post that in your initial post in the topic you create in that forum.

If you are still having problems after being given a clean bill of health from the malware expert, then please return to THIS thread and we will pursue other options to help you solve your current problem(s).
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