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System changes missing after reboot


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#1
Ponyroper

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This is a weird problem I've never run into in the past and I'm hoping someone can tell me what's happening. My system seems to be running normally and everything responds as it should while I'm on the computer however when I restart the computer after making changes or installing new software none of the changes show up. It's as if I was running in a sandbox or virtual program and all the changes were never applied. Deleted Desktop icons are back, downloaded files and programs saved on the Desktop are gone and newly installed programs are not there anymore. It's really strange, it's as if the computer is restarting at a restore point prior to the reboot. I downloaded IE8 and Firefox 3 and installed them and even used them until the restart when they were no longer there. I downloaded a couple of programs and used them but on restart all traces of them were gone. I have a virtual program named Returnil on my computer and I suspected that it was running in the background but I checked and it was disabled. I looked on the System Processes and could see no programs running that would affect that I was doing. If I save downloads to my hard drive they are still there when I restart but if the program was installed it is gone. It's as if the computer is restarting at a previous restore point about a month ago. That is about the time I blew my motherboard and about a week ago I installed a new motherboard. The new motherboard is the same as the old one and everything booted up perfectly with the exception that a message popped up saying "new hardware had been detected". After a moment a message popped up saying "new hardware installed" and everything worked fine after that. Is it possible that the BIOS on the new motherboard needs to be changed in some way? I don't know how that could be making the system restart at a earlier restore point but I'm grasping at straws here.

Here's my system:
WinPro SP2
AMD Athlon CPU
ASUS socket A motherboard
Via KT600 chipset
1.5GB DDR RAM
200GB WD HDD system boots off this drive
200GB WD HDD mirror image of drive C (copied with XXClone)

I didn't reinstall or repair WINXP as it worked fine after installing the new motherboard. Could the motherboard be defective somehow? I bought it on e-Bay but it was listed as new. The only other anomily is that my floppy drive does not show up on the drive list under WinExplorer or spin up when I put a disk in the drive. All other DVD and CD drives appear to work normal as do both hard drives and the two external USB hard drives I have connected. I suspect I forgot to plug in the power cable to the floppy drive or the board is defective but I haven't taken the time to open the box and check the cables yet. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.
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#2
happyrock

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who set up Returnil on your computer

Returnil provides security by letting you use a virtual copy of your system while your real system is kept securely in a safe, hidden. Everytime your computer is restared, our powerful virtualization technology makes a working copy of your operating system and locks your real system in the background, making it untouchable. Thus, if ever your system is harmed, infected or hacked, you can throw away the damaged copy and use a new one by just simply restarting your computer.
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#3
Ponyroper

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This is just a plain old home computer not on a network. I installed Returnil myself and have used it occasionally but leave it turned off unless I am going to test out some software that may screw up my OS settings. It is disabled by default and should not be the problem as I have checked and it is not running.
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#4
happyrock

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page 5 in the manual says...

When the Virtual System Protection is OFF, you can install or remove programs, save
documents within the Windows® disk drive, install security upgrades and software patches,
alter configurations, and update user accounts. All changes made will remain following a
restart of the computer.

you can get the manual here

Edited by happyrock, 31 March 2009 - 07:02 PM.

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#5
Ponyroper

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My question is NOT about Returnil. I know how to run the program and don't need a manual. I need to find out why my computer is restarting to previous settings. I ran AVIR Task Manager this morning and could find no processes running that could be doing this. I will try going into the BIOS to see if something is set wrong there but I'm not very familiar with BIOS settings so I don't know what I'm looking for if anything. I'm also thinking it could possibly be something to do with a wrong jumper setting on one or both of my hard drives. I have a device called Nik-Lock installed that uses a key to switch the boot up drives. Turning the key one way boots from drive C and makes drive D the slave. Turning the key the other way changes drive D to drive C and boots up from the second drive if there is an OS installed on it. I may have the connector cables from the Nic-Lock switched but I doubt it because when I view the drives in Win Explorer it appears the drives are correctly identified. Still think its in the BIOS but appreciate other suggestions.
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#6
happyrock

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My question is NOT about Returnil

its my bet that Returnil is whats causing this...if your not willing to try turning it off (Returnil) then install a program ...reboot and see if its still there ...then good luck with your problem...
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#7
anzenketh

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Ponyroper,

It is possible that your profile is corrupt. Are you getting any error messages when you login?
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#8
Ponyroper

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I'm sorry if I sound frustrated happyrock, but the first thing I checked was if Returnil had some how been started but it is not running and to run it I would have had to start the program then reboot the computer for it to take control. I did not do that. I have had Returnil for over a year and as I said I leave it turned off unless I specifically want to use it. It does not boot up with my start sequence as I have it disabled on the start menu and I checked and it is still disabled. When it is running there is an icon on my task bar showing that it is running and the icon is not on the task bar now. If Returnil was running wouldn't it show in Task Manager as a process running? If it is running and I can't see it how would I turn it off? When I used it before I right clicked on the task bar icon and exited the program then I had to reboot for the program to stop running. There is no icon to click on and no process to shut down in Task Manager.

tuxmaster: I am the only user on this computer and I do not 'log in'. The computer boots directly to the desktop and does not ask for a log in. I suppose I could go to the log in screen and log out and then log back in as 'admin' but I have never done that. I have never gotten any error messages on boot up. If my profile were corrupted, how would that cause the computer to lose all changes. When you install a new program don't they make changes or additions to the Registry? How could those Registry changes be gone when I reboot? I'm beginning to think happyrock is right about Returnil running somewhere in the background because that's exactly how this is acting. I looked at my Restore Points last night and there are none so I created one. Before I blew my motherboard a month ago I had the system set to make a Restore Point every day because I have a habit of messing up my registry with new free programs I download off a site called Give Way Of The Day. That's where I got Returnil and that's why I started to use Returnil. I haven't downloaded any software or run Returnil since replacing my motherboard. I will have to dig out my motherboard manual this weekend and go into BIOS to see if there are any settings that are wrong. That may not be the problem but I don't have any other ideas for now.
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#9
anzenketh

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Ponyroper,

Yes it would "remove" programs installed durring the session. You usually would get a error message if your profile is corrupt. A easy way to test my theory is to create a test profile if the issue persists on another profile it is not the profile.

Edited by tuxmaster, 03 April 2009 - 06:34 PM.

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#10
Ponyroper

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tuxmaster:
I think you may have something with the corrupt user profile idea. I hadn't looked for ages but when I checked I guess I am automatically logged in as administrator. I ran a registry cleaner a couple of months ago (about a month before I fried the motherboard) and some things seemed messed up after that however the system still worked. Some things were missing from my task bar that had been installed before the registry cleaning and I couldn't figure out how to get them back. the programs still seemed to run properly but I had no idea what the registry cleaner did. My sound icon does not show up on the task bar anymore and I have to manually add it each time after startup even though the check mark is in the box to put it in the bar on startup. May APC battery backup icon also does not show up even after I reinstalled the software. It is running according to the task manager so I'm ok there. The problem with the system loosing all changes and newly installed programs just started when I installed the new motherboard. I went in to BIOS and everything seems to be fine there. I found that my floppy drive had not been enabled by default on the new BIOS so that problem has been solved but I again tried installing Firefox 3 and it was again missing on restart. I switched users from administrator to guest account and made several changes and also installed Firefox 3 but all the changes were gone on restart. Can I repair my administrator profile? If I create a new profile it will not let me make system changes from that profile as I can only do that from the administrator profile I think. I hate to do a repair install if I can avoid it but if that is the only way to repair the administrator profile or registry I will do it. What is your advice? Thanks for your help so far.
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#11
happyrock

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I would try uninstalling Returnil ....you can always reinstall it...
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#12
usasma

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Just FYI - but in my short time here I've seen a couple of posts that discourage the use of registry cleaners - which I agree with. Much more info about registry cleaners is available here: http://www.windowsbb...ead.php?t=61015
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#13
Ponyroper

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Actually I can't reinstall Returnil if I uninstall it. The free software given away on the GiveAwayOfTheDay site can only be installed on the day it is offered. If you uninstall it or lose your downloaded programs from the site because of a drive crash you're out of luck and they can never be activated again unless they are offered again on the site with free activation.

I created a new user profile with administrator rights but that profile was also gone when I restarted.
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#14
anzenketh

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Ponyroper,

Are you running on The Administrator account or a administrator account. There is a difference. If you are running on a administrator account you might be able to login to the account called Administrator. If you only have one account and that is the account named Administrator then the only option I can give you for a corrupt profile is a reinstall at this time if the profile is corrupt. Due to Microsoft's solution for a corrupt profile is create a new profile.

There is other programs out there that do what Returnil if you are looking for that type of program that I belive are free I can take a look if you would like.
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#15
happyrock

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there is still a free version of Returnil Virtual System 2008 Personal Edition here
there are 3 versions of it there...

Edited by happyrock, 05 April 2009 - 08:09 AM.

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