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Multiple problems on old Acer; need Malware Check


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#31
23red

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Hi TwoNew2 :)

Let's check your system files:

Got to Start ~> All Programs ~> Accessories ~> Command Prompt and type or copy and paste the following:

sfc /scannow

If it prompts for a Windows CD, use the original you have. If it does not work, you can try the other copy.

Let me know how it goes, please.

Thank you :)
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#32
TooNew2

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Hello, :geek: 23red;

The paste function didn't work in the Command Prompt window, so I typed the command in and hit ENTER, after which I got a small window that said "Please wait while Windows verifies that all protected Windows files are intact and in their original version." Underneath that was a Progress bar.
The process took quite a while, perhaps 45 minutes. Towards the end, the screen went dark although the fan was on High speed and the activity light was still blinking for a few more minutes; finally, all activity seemed to stop, but I waited a few minutes more before doing anything. When I finally hit a key, the screen turned blue again and had the sign-in boxes showing, so I signed in on my account and found the Command Prompt window still open and with the same two lines as when it was running the scan, those being:

C\DOCUMENTS & SETTINGS\TOM>SFC/SCANNOW
C\DOCUMENTS & SETTINGS\TOM>

The second one had appeared when I had hit "ENTER".

After my signing in, the Task Manager showed no current activity besides that from the signing in, and I saw no report or notice about problems, system conditions, or other results of the scan.


I will note here that I didn't get any prompt about a disc, and FWIW, I don't have a Windows disc per se. The original discs which came with the computer include, I believe, a basic system disc necessary for loading the other three discs containing the rest of the supplied programs. I've never run them, nor the other back-up discs my sister made at some later time.


Hope this behavior was as expected and I don't need to put the system on more "Time Out's" for bad behavior here too ... :headscratch:


You're Welcome :yes:



.

Edited by TooNew2, 14 November 2013 - 12:31 AM.

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#33
TooNew2

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Hello, 23red;

I tried again running the SFC scan this morning, the first time using the Run box, whereup I had to type a space between the C and /. [Haven't needed the space when using the Command Window. Forget if the command works using the space there]. I first got a quick flash of the Command Window, then the "Please wait..." box. I went away about 20 minutes and returned to find a dark screen and the fan on High; I clicked a key, got the Log-in screen, signed in, and found the Task Manager showing 100% CPU use for the last 5 or 6 minutes. I waited another minute and then hit the On button once, allowing the system to shut down slowly. I assume the system is in some endless loop or deadend task when this is happening. Any chance I'm wrong?

A bit later, I reset my Power Options to leave everything, including the Monitor, on forever, then (but w/o rebooting) tried again using the Command Prompt Window. Same results as previously; first got the "Please Wait..." message with its progress bar (so scan was running), and some while later found the screen dark and 100% CPU again.

Nothing has changed wrt rebooting; still get disc check attempt and later have the SVCHOST using 100% CPU. Haven't gotten the second round of high SVCHOST usage once it's been closed, so far.
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#34
23red

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Hi TwoNew2

You had mentioned:

Haven't needed the space when using the Command Window. Forget if the command works using the space there.


Yes. Type a space between the c and / for sfc /scannow in command prompt. I've found pasting does not work, but CTRL+V does. Please try again with the space between the c and the / as in Post 31.
Let me know how it goes :)
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#35
TooNew2

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Hello, 23red;

I ran the scan again using the Command window and got the same results as the first time (in Post #32) except that, during the run, I took some screenshots and hit various keys too so the screen never went dark. After about 45 minues and just as the scan was finishing according to the progress bar, the "Please wait..." message disappeared, the Command Prompt window remained the same, and activity (according to both the T.M. and the light) seemed to stop. This time I left everything running for a total of over 2 hours, and did think that I got, fairly soon after the run, a small bit of activity on a few occasions which wasn't due to my changing tabs on the Task Manager, some of it apparently being by MsMpEng.exe. Once the screen did go dark during this post run period, but a touch of a key brought it back. BTW, I had deleted the new User Account last night, so it didn't interfere with this screen return.

Once again, I have gotten no notice of problems nor any report, not even about the scan being finished. As I said above, the Command Prompt window still had only the same commands as when it was running. Are there any logs where anything of interest would be?

Was something else supposed to happen? Is this process not going to completion for some reason? Might it have worked this time, and I'll see a difference upon rebooting tomorrow? Guess time will tell.
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#36
23red

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Hi TwoNew2 :)
What issues are you currently experiencing?
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#37
TooNew2

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Good morning, 23red;

The problems are still the same original ones, namely the system trying to run a disc check when starting (and probably still being unable to complete it), the one system SVCHOST.EXE running the CPU to 100% and never finishing, the SVCHOST sometimes reappearing later and offscaling the CPU again (which just occurred again and required my shutting the system down and restarting), the desktop icons being rearranged if I’m too slow ending the SVCHOST at the correct time upon rebooting, probably the connection being lost when Standby is used or the cable is disconnected (haven't tested in a few days), probably no Safe Mode still (again, haven't tested today), etc.

When I start the system in the morning or evening, the desktop icons usually start out as pictures of folders and gradually (over a period of perhaps a minute) change to the specific icons, e.g. the fox curved around the globe for Firefox. Usually, GeeksToGo has remained a folder, but when I need to shut down using the On button, the icons seem to change faster and even the Geek “G” appears upon rebooting, indicating to me a difference in how data is saved or from where it’s retrieved under those different situations. Are hints like these useful in determining where the problems are?


.

Edited by TooNew2, 18 November 2013 - 11:27 AM.

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#38
23red

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Hi TwoNew2 :)

You had stated

The problems are still the same original ones

and

Are hints like these useful in determining where the problems are?


Yes. Nothing has really worked as it should. Your system looks clean, and small things have been repaired, but the damage to the Operating System looks to be too extensive to repair with tools. Malware issues were small ~ inconsequential to the issues at hand ~ Basic operations.
A complete wipe and reinstallation of Windows XP is recommended. It should hopefully run much better for you afterwards. There is information for a clean install at this link
Take a look and tell me what you think. If you have any questions, please ask. I'll be happy to help any way I can :)

Please let me know what you decide to do.
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#39
TooNew2

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Hello, 23red;

Thanks again for all the work you've done here, and yes, I will likely have some more questions you can help me with. Also, sorry for the delays lately, but I too have had some other deadlines.


Take a look and tell me what you think. If you have any questions, please ask. I'll be happy to help any way I can



Please let me know what you decide to do.



Looks like I don't have too many choices, which brings up my first question. :wave: The Acer instructions talk about restoring original settings without CD's by activating the BIOS setup utility, enabling the D2D Recovery seting, exiting the BIOS and restarting the system. Is that different than the process given for Acer in the "Reformat and Install of Windows" link of your last post, one which says "This will download the E-Recovery Zip file. Unzip then run"? Will/can either of these work if the last SFC scan we tried didn't?

I'll also dig out/take a look at the discs when I get a chance.

I did start studying that "Reformat and Install of Windows" post a bit and although I have the Windows Key on the label/in my paperwork, I thought it might be interesting to confirm the system had the same original number, so I opened the Keyfinder.zip link which led to a "sourceforge" webpage whereupon I clicked the MJB Keyfinder link near the top, and rather than anything opening, it closed the whole IE window. I tried twice, with the same result. I found another link elsewhere to the Magical Jelly Bean, namely http://www.magicalje...com/keyfinder/. Is that sourceforge link bad, or just my system acting up? Any reason I shouldn't try the second link to double check the key?

In Posts 19 & 20, I asked about a hard drive I aquired last spring which is actually 400 Gb, four times larger than my Acer drive. Could you explain the FAT32 vs NTFS questions I had earlier? Any Do's or Dont's about using it? Any reason I can't just copy all of my C and D drives onto it? If that would work, how would I keep from copying and later reinstalling system errors? All comments or questions about this are welcome.

I will probably have some more questions about backing-up my system, but will wait for answers about the hard drive and hopefully, will do more reading and thinking before I'll be ready to ask them. Same with questions about reinstalling backed-up data. Any other links to point me in the correct direction(s) would be appreciated.

Thanks again
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#40
23red

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Hi TwoNew2 :)
I'm finishing up and checking on a couple things for you, should be posting in the morning after teacher discussion and approval.
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#41
TooNew2

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Hello, again 23red;

I tried to reply to your post a few minutes after it appeared, but had to shut the system down for the third (or was it fourth?) time tonight. Even now, the screen icons and taskbar are abnormal ... but this time, I'm sure it had to do with updates and MPSigStub.exe and the SVCHOST too. Next reboot should be more normal 'cause I think it finally got far enough through to not try again...yes, it does get a bit annoying but it won't last forever.
I did want to say I realize you are helping others too, and that I know my situation may be a bit unusual so require some extra research and thought before replying. Luckily, I don't live or die by this device and do expect it to get back to normal sometime in the fairly-near future. Hope you're getting as much out of the process as I and my system are.

Just one more question; is that symbol to the right and just below your name ... is it some kind of new, super efficient articulated sailboat with five full sails being tested by you and other Geeks in the Hawaiian Islands? :thumbsup:
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#42
23red

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Hi TwoNew2 :)

You'd asked some questions, I did my best to answer, if you have any others, please ask :)

The Acer instructions talk about restoring original settings without CD's by activating the BIOS setup utility, enabling the D2D Recovery seting, exiting the BIOS and restarting the system. Is that different than the process given for Acer in the "Reformat and Install of Windows" link of your last post, one which says "This will download the E-Recovery Zip file. Unzip then run"? Will/can either of these work if the last SFC scan we tried didn't?


No. They are more repair and the errors you experience may follow if you do that. We are going for a clean new replacement. A clean install. The install will fix what checkdisk and the SFC scan were unable to and fix checkdisk and SFC too. Hopefully the harddrive itself is not too damaged to take the install and chkdsk, sfc, system restore, restore points, icons and everything will work as intended. :)

I'll also dig out/take a look at the discs when I get a chance.

:thumbsup:

I did start studying that "Reformat and Install of Windows" post a bit and although I have the Windows Key on the label/in my paperwork, I thought it might be interesting to confirm the system had the same original number, so I opened the Keyfinder.zip link which led to a "sourceforge" webpage whereupon I clicked the MJB Keyfinder link near the top, and rather than anything opening, it closed the whole IE window. I tried twice, with the same result. I found another link elsewhere to the Magical Jelly Bean, namely http://www.magicalje...com/keyfinder/. Is that sourceforge link bad, or just my system acting up? Any reason I shouldn't try the second link to double check the key?


Nope. Magic jellybean is good, and the link provided was fine when I checked it. Alternatively, there's also BelarcAdvisor Which will list all your keys for all of your installed programs and a whole lot more cool info about your computer.

In Posts 19 & 20, I asked about a hard drive I aquired last spring which is actually 400 Gb, four times larger than my Acer drive. Could you explain the FAT32 vs NTFS questions I had earlier?


NTFS is recommended. It is more secure. Easier with Todays programs, folder sizes and storage. There's information on both at this link and also here there's a section that talks about both.
Besides, if you switch to FAT32, you'll lose that good music ;)

My advice here would be to leave it as it is, remove what you do not want that is on the external drive. Open it up and start making folders of your own to add to it. TwoNew2's photos, TwoNew2's Documents, right click copy from Drive C, right click paste to an open External Drive window in whichever folder you choose. Any way you wish.

Any Do's or Dont's about using it? Any reason I can't just copy all of my C and D drives onto it?


You could but why copy a corrupt C drive? Best to copy over your personal items ~ your user files, favorites, etc., then clean off your Acer drive, and reinstall XP, put back your user files so it's nice and neat and clean.
Then reimage that whole clean OS onto the external drive, if you'd like. Then it's a copied clean image of your drive. If the computer hard drive fails, you can replace it and reinstall Windows again. Just make sure you backup..copy your documents and pictures to USB stick drives, or the external if you wish.
Do keep in mind that external drive is a hard drive too. They do fail. That's why I use USB sticks. No moving parts to break and they hold a ton of pictures and files. I've had two external drives die on me. I do not trust them much, but that's my preference. Others may have differing opinions.

If that would work, how would I keep from copying and later reinstalling system errors? All comments or questions about this are welcome.


Which is why you just save your personal items, and also why you're advised to do a clean install. System errors are not in your documents and photos or in your music. If the hard drive is not too toasted it'll be like a brand new computer. Fresh and fast :yes:
All that needs to be copied are your personal files. Documents, pictures, program key copies you wish to install back on to the computer afterward. It's a bit like moving house, gather your personal affects and move on. Belarc will give all your keys for any programs installed.

I will probably have some more questions about backing-up my system, but will wait for answers about the hard drive and hopefully, will do more reading and thinking before I'll be ready to ask them. Same with questions about reinstalling backed-up data. Any other links to point me in the correct direction(s) would be appreciated.


I myself like to read about what I'm to do a few times in different places to make sure I get the gist of what I'm going to do. I have main instructions I follow such as the link you already know of, that's the easiest most straight forward instructions, then I find other places to read about it like here here and here and here.
Reading more gives me more pictures to have seen and more explanations so what is being done seems more familiar.
Then using one main instruction to follow: this one I'm now a little more familiar and more sure after reading through the other information as well. Now. Read on. Learn more so you're more comfortable, ask questions, check out your CD's and please let me know when you are ready.

Thanks again


You're more than welcome :)

Just one more question; is that symbol to the right and just below your name ... is it some kind of new, super efficient articulated sailboat with five full sails being tested by you and other Geeks in the Hawaiian Islands?

:lol: nah...it's the mail icon you can click on if you want to PM me ;)
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#43
TooNew2

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Howdy again, 23red;

Tonight I thought I'd get by without any problems but just as I started typing, the SVCHOST offscaling happened again....

But I'm back again, and have made an interesting discovery too. When I am signed in, your icon

nah...it's the mail icon you can click on if you want to PM me


looks like the fancy hi-tech Geek sailboat...but before I do, it looks like a Tornado!
My system right now is showing only the top few rows of it; the Tornado fits you better. ;)

One other interesting note about malworkings; I checked that Lifehacker site recently and opened it today too, and both times, I have blank areas covering most of the left side, under which the text scrolls by, only showing when it reaches a small sliver of space on that side. Aren't computers Wonderful? :rolleyes:

Anyway, I'll take my time reading all that information and perhaps get back with some questions before doing the reinstall. I do have much of the important information already on USB drives, but see no harm in having it (yes, just the wanted/needed stuff :mellow: ) on the hard drive too. Just want to make sure I don't miss anything I would want later. This time of year, it's easy to get distracted and forget, with all the other chores like chasing after Turkeys, digging sweet pink spuds and wading into Cranberry bogs. :cheers:


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#44
TooNew2

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Hello, and yes, I'm still alive, 23red;

I am currently (and unhappily) using a new system that I'm still getting used to, but am finally back online.
I had mostly finished backing up all my files and had started looking for a replacement hard drive for the old ACER; it seems the IDE design isn't so common anymore. Anyway, while looking on the Seagate site, I happened upon a program to check my hard drive, so I (perhaps inadvisedly) downloaded it and ran the short generic scan which said everything was fine. Then I started the longer generic scan...which was supposed to just look, not do anything like fixes...but when I returned a while later, I found the BSOD. I could restart using f2, getting to the point where it had the options of using Safe Mode, Last Good Configuration, etc. but using any of the choices gives me a message that it can't find a file:

...windows root\sys32\hal.dll.


I have the 4 original discs (1 system, 3 recovery) which came with the computer, plus extra versions of them all, which were made directly from the system early in the computer's life. On the recommendation of the previous owner, who also thought this step wouldn't erase document files, I tried running the first ACER-supplied system disc, to no avail. I would think that abstraction layer would be very close to the 'bottom' so had hoped the first (system) disc would fix it ... but decided to get further advice here when it didn't. Might I just need to run all 4 discs? Patiently awaiting further instructions.

.

Edited by TooNew2, 12 March 2014 - 10:45 AM.

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