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Huge Problem...stuck In A Non-safe Mode Cycle (in Addition To Virus Infection)


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#1 wheelz01

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 10:32 PM

I hope someone can help me. I was trying to get rid of the cyberlog-x/security toolbar/crap etc..., and had trouble going into safe mode, i'd hit f8, and it would start to go in, but then it would boot normal. So.....i forced it in, using the MS/Dos prompt and typing msconfig.....then changing the boot type to safe (the first option under the boot tab). It worked the first time, i was able to run smitfraudfix (which didn't fix my problems) and also used the Simply Super Software trojan remover...which removed some things but kept telling me the desktop.ini files had a problem, and it didn't fix my virus problems either.

now......since those things didn't work, I decided to try a system restore, couldn't get it to find a prior restore date using normal mode, so i tried the forced safe mode boot again.....

and now.....its stuck in a cycle. its been 'forced' to boot to safe mode, so it starts to do so, the screen goes black with the four 'safe mode' notes in the corners, then it starts to boot windows, then it starts all over.....i can press f8 and select safe mode (which shouldn't matter because its already forced to boot that way) but of course it continues the cycle.

so....i need to find out 1. how to get it out of the horrible cycle so i can at least boot to ~something~
and of course 2. how do i get rid of the viruses on the system?

i'm using windows xp (i believe service pack 2)

please, somebody.....help me i've about lost my mind.....!


wheelz01 :thumbsup:

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#2 quietman7

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Posted 09 November 2007 - 10:48 AM

.i forced it in, using the MS/Dos prompt and typing msconfig.....then changing the boot type to safe

Using MSConfig to access (force) safe mode can be problematic when there is malware on your system and can make your computer unusable. Some types of malware can delete or alter the safeboot key in the registry resulting in the inability to reboot into safe mode or back to normal mode. If you use the /Safeboot option on the Boot.ini Tab to force safe mode when the F8 key does not work, it could have disastrous results. The Safeboot option modifies the Boot.ini file and you may be locked in a continuous reboot loop afterwards where you cannot get back to MSConfig and undo your selection.

If you could get into normal mode, there are tools we could try to repair safe mode. Without being able to access your machine due to the endless loop, a repair or clean install is the next step but you will need your XP CD.

"Langa Letter: XP's No-Reformat, Nondestructive Total-Rebuild Option"
"How to perform a Repair Install".
"How to install and use the Windows XP Recovery Console".

You may have a recovery disk instead. By policy Microsoft no longer allows OEM manufactures to include the original Windows XP CD-ROM on computers sold with Windows preinstalled. Instead, most computers manufactured and sold by OEM vendors come with a vendor-specific recovery disk or recovery partition for performing a clean factory restore. Essentially, they will reformat your hard drive, remove all data and restore the computer to the state it was in when you first purchased it. You will lose all data and have to reinstall all programs that you added afterwards. This includes all security updates from Microsoft.

You may be able to use a Windows XP bootable Floppy Disk to boot from a diskette instead of your hard drive. If you don't have an emergency boot floppy, you may be able to use one created on another PC running Windows XP but there's no guarantee that it will boot your machine.
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#3 wheelz01

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Posted 09 November 2007 - 02:45 PM

if i use an xp boot disk, would i be able to get into the msconfig file and change the boot to normal? (i'm trying to remember, i've only used a boot disk once but i thought it brought up the ms/dos prompt)

or

would resetting the cmos do anything? once that computer wouldn't boot at all, and a tech had me reset the cmos thingy & flash the bios....would that help get a normal bootup?

Edited by wheelz01, 09 November 2007 - 02:48 PM.


#4 quietman7

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Posted 09 November 2007 - 03:18 PM

...it is possible to fix this problem by renaming your boot.ini file. The first step would be to use a boot disk to start your computer. If your computer does not have a floppy disk, then you can typically boot off the Windows CD that came with your computer in order to access the Windows Recovery Console. More information about the Windows Recovery Console can be found here. More information about the Windows Recovery Console can be found here. Once booted to a command prompt, you would simply rename your C:\Boot.ini file to another name like C:\Boot.ini.bak. The command to rename the file at the command prompt is:

ren C:\Boot.ini Boot.ini.bak

Once the file is renamed, you can then remove the boot disk and reboot your computer to get back to normal mode. When booting up after the rename, do not be surprised if you see an error stating that you do not have a valid Boot.ini file. When you get back to normal Windows mode, you can then rename C:\Boot.ini.bak to C:\Boot.ini file and run Msconfig again to remove the /safeboot flag.

Problems that can occur by forcing Safe Mode (scroll down)
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#5 wheelz01

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 12:48 PM

ok, i'm trying (desperately i might add) to rename the boot file. i formatted a disk to be a DOS disk (option under format on another XP machine) and when it boots with the disk in it says:

A:\>

so i typed the ren command, and it says Invalid Drive Specification


i only have a reinstall CD, not an original XP cd


i'm stuck in boot loop hell :thumbsup:
is there anything else i can try?

#6 wheelz01

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 01:07 PM

ok, i'm trying (desperately) to rename the boot file. i formatted a disk to be a DOS disk (option under format on another XP machine) and when it boots with the disk in it says:

A:\>

so i typed the ren command, and it says Invalid Drive Specification


i only have a reinstall CD, not an original XP cd


i'm stuck in boot loop hell :thumbsup:
is there anything else i can try?

oh, found this in an article online: "The bare DOS environment is often useful in accessing files in
partitions formatted in FAT. On the other hand, files in an NTFS partition cannot be accessed from DOS."

so, assuming this is correct, then i woudln't be able to rename a BOOT file using DOS, because its in an NTFS partitioned drive, right?

is there any way to get around this problem?

#7 quietman7

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 06:17 PM

I have asked one of our Advisors who is more knowledgeable in this area than I am to check here and see if they can provide some assistance.
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#8 usasma

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 06:40 PM

Hi wheelz01! I'm presuming here that you'll need to edit your boot.ini file which is located in the root of your C:\ drive. I'm also presuming that your disk is formatted with the NTFS file system.

If this is the case, a DOS boot disk won't help you. You'll need a disk that will let you read and write to NTFS volumes. There's several ways to do this depending upon your technical expertise.

The first, and easiest is to use your XP CD and boot to the recovery console.
Then copy the current boot.ini file to boot.bak
Then edit out the /safemode switch on the boot.ini file, saving the changes when done.

So, I guess that the question is....Do you have an XP CD that you can boot from? If so, we can continue on here (as it shouldn't take too long). Otherwise I'd suggest moving this discussion over to the XP forum so we can use this to help others also. FWIW - I've subscribed to notifications for this thread (since I don't normally visit this forum) - so I'll know when you reply.

I'm off now to reinstall XP in my virtual machine so I can give you more detailed instructions. Please let me know if you've got the XP CD and we'll move on from there.
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#9 wheelz01

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 07:02 PM

hi....! i actually have good news.....i was able to get it to boot by using the 'last known working configuration' option under F8......that booted it to safe mode for real. from there, was able to get back into the msconfig, change the boot to normal, and currently i'm backing up my files that i want to keep.

ironically enough, i don't have an XP Cd except for reinstall lol....so i was a bit stuck there. i appreciate you coming to help tho i was utterly miserable. now i'm better, but still need to tackle the virus once i back up my stuff. i'll start a new post with a hijack this file (in the proper forum) to get help with the virus.

thanks again everyone i SO appreciate all taht you folks do!!

#10 quietman7

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 06:49 AM

That is good news and we are glad to hear you have regained control of entering your system.

Please read and follow all instructions in the pinned topic titled "Preparation Guide For Use Before Posting A Hijackthis Log". In step #9 there are instructions for downloading HijackThis and creating a log. (This is a self-extracting version which will automatically install HJT in the proper location.)

When you have done that, post your log in the HijackThis Logs and Malware Removal forum, NOT here, for assistance by the HJT Team Experts. A member of the Team will walk you through, step by step, on how to clean your computer. If you post your log back in this thread, the response from the HJT Team will be delayed because your post will have to be moved. This means it will fall in line behind any others posted that same day.

Start a new topic, give it a relevant title and post your log along with a brief description of your problem, a summary of any anti-malware tools you have used and a summary of any steps that you have performed on your own. Please include the top portion of the HijackThis log that lists version information. An expert will analyze your log and reply with instructions advising you what to fix. After doing this, we would appreciate if you post a link to your log back here so we know that your getting help from the HJT Team. Good luck.

Thanks for looking into this usasma. We'll probably need your assistance again as more and more folks are encountering this problem and need more specific instructions than I can provide.
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#11 wheelz01

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 11:20 AM

yep, working on going through all the steps now....i've worked up thru the Stinger (running now). The computer still has MAJOR boot issues, as it seems every time i make changes and have to reboot, i have to boot to last known working config. Still not sure if this is a result of virus infection or not. I've removed a LOT of stuff using the removal tools preparing for the hijack this, but it seems there are still some virus issues, plus the system32 folder pops up when one of the two users logs in, but not the other.

I'll start a new topic in the hijack this area when i have the log ready.

#12 TMacK

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 01:23 PM

Now that you have a HJT log posted in the HijackThis Logs and Malware Removal forum, you shouldn't make any changes to your system.
Doing so, could change the results of the posted log, making it difficult to properly clean your system.

At this point, the HJT Team should be the only members that you take advice from, until they have verified your log as clean.

This topic will now be closed, since you have an open log posted.
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