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XP PC dead on it's feet. Poor performance and Task Manager disable


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#1
Muttley_123

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Hello - this problem is inherited - my friends family PC is dying a death and I was asked yesterday to have a look at it.

The PC is suffering from very very poor performance - up to 3 to 4 minutes to pop up menu when you press the start key - the startup menu programs don't seem to complete within two hours of booting up - unable to power off due to programs not closing.

When I tried obvious step 1 - Running Task Manager - I wasn't able to run task manager. CTRL/ALT/DEL did not bring up and window - and when I tried Start --> Run --> taskmgr --> nothing happened. I then tried to power off (had to resort to plugging it out) and re-started. Safe mode wouldn't start - gave me an error with a video adaptor that wouldn't start.

I did try and search for the taskmgr.exe - but even after selecting it in explorer (after maybe 90 minutes !!) it wouldn't run - so I powered the machine off and left it to cool....

So, from reading in some forums etc - I suspect a MALWARE infection of some kind. I'd appreciate help - as the owner of the machine does need it for work. It's a XP machine (maybe 3 years old) with AVG 7.5 on it - but from reading all sorts I'm sure it is disabled by whatever virus has a hold on it.

Where should I start - what sort of information can I provide - and what things should I not do - it is disconnected from the Internet at present - I do have another machine I can use to download files to work on it. Thanks in advance.
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#2
sari

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Please go to the malware forum and follow the instructions at the top....Especially the CLICK HERE.

That will give you several steps that will help you clean up 70 percent of all problems by yourself. If at the end of the process you are still having difficulty--and you may not be-- then post a hijackthis log in THAT forum.
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#3
Muttley_123

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Hi Sari,

Sorry I'm following up so late on this - but I wanted to be 100% sure of where I was.

I read and attempted to follow your instructions provided in the file.
Firstly, I downloaded all the support programs to another PC, and tried to transfer them (using a memory stick) to the troublesome PC.
This was a very time intensive process, as the PC is running sooo slow.

Once copied across, I attempted to run the ATF-Cleaner.exe file - but it would not run. After a number of hours the PC just continued to sit there.

I then tried (again) to boot the PC in safe Mode - but no luck. I get an error message indicating the video driver would not initialise.

Where should I go next ?? I doubt I could get HJTInstall.exe to work, so a HiJack Log might be a bit ambitious at this stage.

An option I do have, is to remove the HDD from the troublesome PC and to link it to another PC and attempt to scan it using an anti-virus program on a "safe" PC. Is this an option ??

Thanks,

Henry

Edited by Muttley_123, 23 October 2008 - 06:18 AM.

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#4
The Skeptic

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An option I do have, is to remove the HDD from the troublesome PC and to link it to another PC and attempt to scan it using an anti-virus program on a "safe" PC. Is this an option ??



Yes, this is a good option. Add the broken disk to another computer and run the good computer's antimalware programs to scan the disk. There is always some risk that the good computer will be infected but we take this risk all the time.

While the disk is there use the good computer's operating system to do the following:

1: Check the total and free volume of the disk and report the results.

2: Run disk Cleanup and Disk Defragmantation.

3: Run chkdsk. Right click the icon of the broken disk in My Computer > properties > tools > error checking > check now > check the two boxes > start. Let the process run to the end.

4: Download HDtune from my list of links below. Run the program. In the top line choose the disk that you want to scan. Click benchmark > start. Let the test run to the end and report AVERAGE transfer rate.
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#5
Muttley_123

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Okay - it's now 23:00 and I'll take the disk with me to another site tomorrow and try it there. It could be 24 hours plus before I can give another update (possibly more as it is Bank Holiday weekend here) so it might be 4 days before I update this. Just so youse know, I'm not being rude or un-appreciative - just off with my better half - probably gardening....

Oh, sudden thought. Won't I have to do summit with jumpers for slave and master disks.....

Fun fun fun
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#6
The Skeptic

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If your disk is IDE then jumpers must be set correct. The simplest way is to set the disk as slave, disconnect the CD drive and connect the HD instead.

Have a nice holiday.
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#7
Muttley_123

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Howdy all - Just to update a comment re: Avast versus AVG anti-virus.

I managed to connect a broken / damaged IDE drive to two different Pc's this weekend in order to run tests (see earlier thread details on this).

The first test was done using a decent laptop I have with AVG 8 - and while the scan took hours (maybe 4 hours for 85G) I only got a report of seven Trojan Horse viruses.

The second test (not completed) was done using an older Dell desktop PC using a new copy of Avast (as recommended by sari in one of the groups here) - Avast 4.8 perhaps ?? After 2 hours - where it reported scanning approx. 2% of the 85G I had already found three viruses not found by AVG. I had to cancel the scan at this stage as I had to return home, where I will hopefully restart the scan on my home pc - but only after I remove AVG and install Avast !!

Thanks to both 'The Skeptic' and 'Sari' for their advice / encouragement on this task - trying to repair a dodgy PC is a daunting task sometimes, but knowing you have some backup is a great help.
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#8
The Skeptic

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Thanks for letting us know. Like Sari wrote before, your best option is to post in the malware forum if and after you run the preliminary scans and suspect that the computer is still infected.

Edited by The Skeptic, 28 October 2008 - 12:42 PM.

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#9
Muttley_123

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Just a note to say thanks for all assistance on this - it seems my problem was that the DNS.Changer Trojan (amongst others) had gotten hold of the PC and tied things up - noteable the pagefile - meaning the PC couldn't free up the resources it needed to run anything - taskmgr, regedit etc - and that the PC was destined to run slowly for ever.

Scanning it from another PC - using an IDE --> USB connector that I purchased using AVAST and SuperAntiSpyware seemed to do the trick - between them I found maybe 20 instances of Trojans (the same one many times) and lots and lots of Adware. Once they were found and quarantined (removed / deleted) the PC was able to stand on it's own two feet and scan itself (which I gladly let it do 3 or 4 times end-to-end).

Again, thanks to all from geeks-to-go. Your friendly and clear advise is much appreciated.
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#10
The Skeptic

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Thanks for the update. We appreciate that.
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