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Explorer.exe Will Not Run


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#1 grits51

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Posted 28 October 2007 - 11:50 AM

I warned my neighbor that this day was coming. She had Limewire, KaZaa, MyWay, Weatherbug, etc., etc. installed on her Windows XP computer. However, despite all of that stuff, she thinks her problem of "no desktop, no icons, no tasbar, no start menu (in safe mode or normal boot)" is the result of accidentally removing an important program when she decided to clean her computer "house." However, she has no idea what that important program was that she deleted.

Now, through task manager, I have installed and run (without updates because the PC doesn't have internet connectivity) Lavasoft's Adaware and Grisoft's AVG antispyware programs. So far, they have found worm.gaobot, winfixer, and rootkit.agent.af. Since I don't know how to access folder options to enable "show hidden files and folders, and operating system files," I don't feel like the scans have been able to do all that they can do.

Can anyone give me VERY detailed instructions on how to navigate around and get the dirty work done of kicking the butts of all these nasties. Under processes, explorer.exe is not listed. When I type it in the run box, the taskbar flashes very briefly, then disappears.

Does it make more sense to backup everything and reformat? If I need to backup the hard drive and reformat, please tell me the safe way to do it. I don't want to infect my PC, if I slave her drive to my system and try to transfer data and music to an external drive. In terms of stuff to transfer, what should I NOT transfer back to her reformatted drive? For example, if part of her problems started with a bogus music file from Limewire, will she have problems again if I transfer all of the files in her My Music folder?

I've googled this problem over and over and haven't gotten my answers, so hope I'm not asking something that has been answered a hundred times.

Thanks for your time and effort,
grits51

Edited by grits51, 28 October 2007 - 11:50 AM.


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#2 Starbuck

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Posted 28 October 2007 - 01:13 PM

Hi grits51 and welcome to Bleeping Computer.

The missing icons and explorer could well be linked.
If your friend removed explorer.exe this would cause this problem.
Try this....
Press the 3 keys... ctrl-alt-del. This will bring up the Task Manager. (In some cases it brings up the Windows Security dialog, but you can click on the Task Manager button from there to go where we need to be.)

Once in the Task Manager, make sure you are on the "Processes" tab and then click on "File" in the Task Manager menu. Then select "New Task (Run...)" and type "explorer.exe" (without the quotes) in the "open" field. Then click ok.
See if this helps.

I don't know how to access folder options to enable "show hidden files and folders

  • Click Start.
  • Click My Computer.
  • Select the Tools menu and click Folder Options.
  • Select the View Tab.
  • Under the Hidden files and folders heading select Show hidden files and folders.
  • Uncheck the Hide protected operating system files (recommended) option.
  • Click Yes to confirm.
  • Uncheck the Hide file extensions for known file types.
  • Click OK.
Try this first and then let us know if things have improved.

Edited by Starbuck, 28 October 2007 - 01:16 PM.

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#3 grits51

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Posted 28 October 2007 - 01:41 PM

Starbuck,
Thanks for the reply. I have tried to restart explorer.exe through the Task Manager, but it doesn't work. The taskbar will flash very briefly, then disappear. My problem with showing hidden files, etc. is that I don't have access to the Tools menu in My Computer. Through task manager, I can browse to My Computer, but it only shows the drives, etc. without the menu options. Is there a way through Run or the command prompt to get to the Folder Options box?
Thanks,
grits51
P.S. I would appreciate, also, instructions on the safe way to transfer files from an infected hard drive.

#4 Starbuck

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Posted 28 October 2007 - 02:07 PM

Hi grits51

I assume the pc is WinXp.
Can you get into 'Control Panel' ?
(You should be able to access this from 'Task Manager'..........Applications..... File... New task.... Control Panel)
if so, once in there switch to 'Classic View' .... you should see an icon called 'Folder Options'... click on this.
When it opens.... click on the 'view' tab.
Under.... Files and Folders
scroll down to Show hidden files and folders .... tick this and then tick Apply .... ok.
See if this helps.

I would appreciate, also, instructions on the safe way to transfer files from an infected hard drive.

I'd say the best way is to transfer them to a usb stick.... that way you won't involve another pc.
Then when you add them back ( if you do a reinstall) you can run an Antivirus scan on the files before adding then back.

Edited by Starbuck, 28 October 2007 - 03:04 PM.

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#5 grits51

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Posted 29 October 2007 - 01:14 PM

No, when i try to access control panel through task manager, it does the same thing that running the explorer command does. The taskbar and start button flash on the screen briefly, then disappear. I have hooked the drive up to a working system as a slave. Guess i will transfer docs, music and pics to an external drive, then reformat. Should the music be OK or do i need to check file size and get rid of suspicious files? not sure where the infection resides and what has to be off limits.
Thanks,
grits51

BTW, some antispyware scans picked up worm.gaobot,winfixer, and rootkit.agent.af. I've seen Winfixer before, but not the other two. Do you know anything about them?

Edited by grits51, 29 October 2007 - 01:19 PM.


#6 Starbuck

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Posted 29 October 2007 - 08:40 PM

Hi grits51

Things don't sound too good there... do they?
Here's the info on those infections:
worm.gaobot
rootkit.agent.af

I have hooked the drive up to a working system as a slave

I'd be very wary if you have added this drive to your pc.
These infections are unpredictable.

Should the music be OK or do i need to check file size and get rid of suspicious files

When you got the notice about these infections, did it give any indication as to where they were on the system?
Can you run scans on just the folders that your neighbor wants saved? This should give you an idea if they are safe to put back on.

No desktop, no icons, no tasbar, no start menu (in safe mode or normal boot).
The PC doesn't have internet connectivity.
Have found worm.gaobot, winfixer, and rootkit.agent.af.
Had Limewire, KaZaa, MyWay, Weatherbug, etc., etc. installed on her Windows XP computer.

To be honest....
with these system problems and these infections, i'd be inclined to go for a re-format.
It would be a much quicker and more secure way of fixing all this.
But this has to be your desicion.

If you go for the re-install... are you happy with doing this? do you need any advice?

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