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XP home problems - clean install did not help


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#1
Deadline

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Hi all,
I am trying and failing to fix a computer running XP home.

I received this machine and it would not boot to the desktop. The error message was: "license is invalid". Sorry I can't remember the exact error message, I fixed this by deleting the contents of a registry key as recommended at Microsoft web site.

So now the computer booted normally ..

... but then I had various other problems for example: failed boot to black screen, and booting to a corrupt desktop. AVG anti virus would not update, and a suspicious message on boot about there was an error in the registry and windows replaced it from a log or a copy. Then I updated AVG and received the message: avg "license number could not be fully verified". I un-installed it, re-installed it several times. Eventually I repair installed XP. Still I received error messages about windows encountered a serious problem and the registry had to be copied from a log and the AVG license problem continued. Also after the repair installed I watched as the AVG processes closed down one by one .. avg***.exe has encountered a problem and needs to close. I chose to reboot.


I ran Sophos rootkit detection program, I scanned the computer at Housecall and also with AVG and Avast! several times. No malware showed up

Eventually I did a clean install of XP and now I still get the message about avg "license number could not be fully verified" which I have downloaded and reinstalled several times. Also I still receive randomly on boot '" ... registry had to be copied ..."

Also I replaced the boot sector using FIXBOOT from the recovery console.
and updated several device drivers

One of the few things I have not done yet is wipe the entire hard disk I only wiped the windows partition( it has 2 partitions )

Where could this problem be coming from? I'm at a loss

I also ran Hijack this, but I didn't seen anything interesting, (although I may have missed something)
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#2
123Runner

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Hi and welcome to geeks to go.

Ok, where to start. With so many issues, you need a starting point.
What is on the other partition?
Save it if you can, just in case.

As for AVG, uninstall it and then run the AVG uninstaller to get rid of remnants (link in signature).

Go to your device manager and look for any unrecognised devices. Those with a ? or !
Lets see if that gives you anything.
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#3
Deadline

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Hi and welcome to geeks to go.

Ok, where to start. With so many issues, you need a starting point.
What is on the other partition?
Save it if you can, just in case.

As for AVG, uninstall it and then run the AVG uninstaller to get rid of remnants (link in signature).

Go to your device manager and look for any unrecognised devices. Those with a ? or !
Lets see if that gives you anything.


Thanks for responding.

On the second partition there is mostly data (my documents) but also numerous installer programs. Nothing in there is part of a running process. Also, it's not a bootable partition.

I have used the AVG un-installer quite a few times now. I also downloaded a fresh AVG installer a number of times. Direct from AVG and from Download.com.

I have scrutinised the device manager and have downloaded drivers direct from the manufacturer for various devices. All devices appear to be working correctly now. ( that was not the case before I clean installed XP).

I may go ahead and blitz the hard disk, this time I'll destroy both partitions and redo them .. I'll move the data to an external drive first.

Do you think it will do any good? or will it be another time consuming dead end?
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#4
123Runner

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Generally we do not recommend wiping the drive unless its a last resort.
Unfortunately you have nothing to loose. And what you gain is (hopefully) a working computer and of course experiance.

Just make sure you delete the partitions and reformat.

I personnally have been playing a similar game with a laptop. A clone image went bottoms up. A repair changed the C to an L, and I still have unexplained lockups and freezing.
I believe the main culpret was a FAT32 disk and 21% fragmented. The idea was to put in a new drive, and the new drive was a DOA.
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#5
Deadline

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Here's another theory from left field...

I have rebooted several times in the last 10 minutes .. the only error I am getting it seems is the one about AVG License .. Is there a problem with the latest AVG free installer??
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#6
123Runner

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I am not sure about an installer problem. Is this the free version?
AVG used to be a very good program, up to version 7.5
When it got to version 8, it got bloated and became a memory hog, and it does have some reported issues. It is not as stable as previous versions.
I am trying out Avast and Avira (both free and recommended).
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#7
Deadline

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yes it is the free version. .. I don't think there is a problem with the installer now, as I installed it to another XP machine and it works fine ..

.... so at the moment I am copying all the data files from the afflicted computer to an external hard drive .. I will go ahead and blitz the whole drive now .. if I can remember how
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#8
Deadline

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Generally we do not recommend wiping the drive unless its a last resort.
Unfortunately you have nothing to loose. And what you gain is (hopefully) a working computer and of course experiance.

Just make sure you delete the partitions and reformat.

I personnally have been playing a similar game with a laptop. A clone image went bottoms up. A repair changed the C to an L, and I still have unexplained lockups and freezing.
I believe the main culpret was a FAT32 disk and 21% fragmented. The idea was to put in a new drive, and the new drive was a DOA.


I've often wondered if cloning would work as intended. I only ever cloned a disk once using Clonezilla, but it turned out I didn't need to re-instate the disk as I didn't lose the data I was trying hard to keep.
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#9
123Runner

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Generally cloning or imaging a drive works quite well. My issue this time I believe is the drive was so messed up.
I had previously removed the data so I was good there, so needing to reinstall was not a big deal. It gave me added experiance.
I am now waiting on a larger drive and will reinstall from the beginning again.

If the drive is in good shape and you have gotton the drive and programs the way you want, then an image is the way to go if the drive crashes.
You won't have to reinstall all the programs and updates. But as always MAKE BACKUPS.
I have an image of my main computer and the company laptop.
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#10
Deadline

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I don't get it .....

I deleted and formatted the partitions. re-installed XP, restored the data to partition D:
That was yesterday, all seemed well. Today I boot the system
It should have booted to the list of (2) users, but before that list appeared a login window appeared requesting a password for the primary user account. I had not set a password, I could have clicked ok to continue to the desktop possibly, but I did not want to click ok on a dialogue that I did not expect to see on boot, so I hit reset to reboot the computer.

I then received a new error message: Windows must shut down because a Remote procedural call terminated unexpectedly

Then It booted ok, no password request, but on booting to the desktop I was presented the message again about being unable to verify the AVG License (the only options on the dialogue are to close AVG, or reinstall AVG. I did not click the AVG message, I rebooted. It rebooted to a blank screen, where upon I rebooted again, where I again received the AVG license message.

I searched on the remote procedural call error and there was mention of MSBlast, I think that is an SP1 worm (no firewall ..... I connected this computer (installed finitially with XP SP2 which has firewall enabled) by wifi to a router, which has firewall.

So if all that happens after I formatted the disk ..where could this problem be coming from?

Edited by Deadline, 03 March 2009 - 06:06 AM.

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#11
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OK progress report:
I have abandoned AVG in favour Avast! ... So I don't need to worry about the AVG License error message.

I scanned with the PCpitstop driver utility .. it indicated that 2 drivers needed updating. So I updated the graphics driver. The other driver (for C-Media I have only found as a RAR compressed format (dumb Cmedia!!)) so I can't decompress that.

At the moment I am not receiving any error messages. So I am inclined to leave it for now.

Here's a theory: What if the error messages on boot were caused, not by malware, but by driver conflicts, and what if the AVG license integrates into the hardware somehow as I understand XP does.

Anyway I will reboot several times before I return the computer tomorrow, or maybe later today ..
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#12
123Runner

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TO UNZIP RAR FILES.

Avg could have been looking for a specific driver. Who knows. Weirder things have happened.
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