My brother, having done nothing apparently (hm..), has an issue with his computer that I cannot resolve on my own.
This began one night, he says, when he finished downloading something (music, I imagine) from Limewire, disconnected, and then subsequently could not connect to the internet.
I went through the standard trials: I ran various spyware programs (spybot, Ad-Aware), Registry Mechanic, AVG (which on his computer was up to date with the previous week's entries) and even some other virus programs. Nothing came up pertinent to the problem.
I tried to connect once more. The symptoms go like this: his computer (which runs slowly, having little physical memory to work with, less than 1 gig out of 40 gigs) stalls on load, even removing various items from startup. After the wait, I open Netscape (his current provider), and the usual Netscape GUI never appears. He's run several providers over the past months but this has been the current for several. I check the task manager to find that dialer.exe is hung, processing and using up a lot of memory, CPU at about 92-98.
Having no luck trying to connect outside of Netscape via basic connection, I decided to go in through Safe Mode and see if I could manage something that way. No luck. Dialer.exe still hangs and eats up memory.
I've exhausted my usual basic correction methods. My brother tends to try out lots of tweaks he finds online, so I imagine something went wrong that didn't pick up until he either disconnected or restarted. I noticed a new network bridge in his networking folder, for instance. My only real guess is that he did something that screwed with a DLL somewhere that was already initialized, and now since it's disjointed it can't queue up in the chain of things. Or something, no idea.
I can't even find any real symptoms, as usually there's a rouge EXE or something fairly obvious hanging around that I can spot one way or another. Any ideas?