I recently inherited a laptop from my folks. It's been giving me issues. I'll go through the process of what has happened step by step so that, hopefully, some wonderful geek out there might be able to say "Oh, you're dealing with x, and the best way to get rid of x is through process p, q, r".
Alrighty then. The machine is a Gateway laptop (approximately 3 years old) running windows XP.
Yesterday, I was playing around with it, trying to install some older games (age of empires 2 and Rome: total war, specifically). Rome: Total War was giving me some issues due to Direct X not being up to snuff on the machine.
I decided to update windows on my machine. I figured this would be a good step toward maximizing performance (along with removing unneeded applications, defragging the disk, and cleaning up the registry).
Microsoft Live Update indicated that the machine needed to download and install 67 updates. Leading me to believe that my folks had not updated the machine since they had gotten it. I downloaded and installed the updates. I had intended on downloading Adaware, as well as doing a virus scan online, after the machine was fully updated.
After installing the updates, two items were uninstalled (a google toolbar, and a yahoo toolbar) prior to restarting the machine.
Things started acting very strange after the machine had been rebooted. Here are the symptoms of what is going on.
(1) The computer refuses to see any networking hardware (no wireless card, no ethernet card, no firewire port). Consequently, accessing the internet from the computer is impossible.
(2) When rebooted, the computer defaults to hiding the taskbar. In normal mode, it can be made to appear. In safe mode, it cannot.
(3) Internet explorer will not launch at all. When executed the program window pops up, but then instantly disappears. The program does not show up as running in the task manager when an attempt is made to execute the program.
(4) Some other applications (the games I had installed, windows onecare, and a few others) run into "Unspecified problems" when i try to run them.
(5) I am unable to install software from storage devices such as CDs or flashdrives. When an attempt is made to drag and drop files from a storage device onto the machine, nothing happens. When i try to copy/cut and paste them onto the machine, the paste option is greyed out and short cuts for pasting do not work either. When i attempt to install software directly from the storage device i receive an "unspecified problem" message, and the install terminates.
(6) I was able to run stinger from the jump drive (probably because it is a very simple program). It found no viruses in its search.
The reason I suspect that this issue is related to malware of some sort is that, whatever seems to be going on, it seems to have systematically shutdown any means of dealing with the issues it causes. Any insights, suggestions, help, or answers that could be provided would be extremely useful.
ps- since I cannot get files of any sort onto the computer from a remote storage device, I would not be able to install and run HJT to give you all a sense of what's going on registry wise.
Edited by ink_lilly, 05 February 2008 - 01:17 PM.