Ok, I will try to provide as much help as possible here, in sequence of what happened, and what I have done since. I seem to have made the situation much worse rather than better. Please read it without skipping if you can help, as the sequence of events are probably important.
1) I acquired (not sure how) the "SmitFraud" infection. So I google some advice on that, download the "SmitFraudFix" utility and follow the advice on it, which is available in general around the internet.
2) here is the first oddity...the instructions said to reboot in safe mode in order to run SmitFraudFix...however when trying to press F8 in order to do this on booting up, I found that nothing would appear visible on the monitor, no matter how long I left this.
3) so I then had to boot back to normal mode and run SmitFraudFix there, as I could not get safe mode to show on the monitor (Apple Cinema HD 23" widescreen). Running SmitFraudFix seemed to get rid of a good portion of the infection, however, certain fake popups with ridiculous warnings were still showing up frequently, both windows style popups and from the system tray. These were definitely part of the infection, because it was by clicking on one of these originally that got me the "spyshredder", the virus or malware associated with this thing.
4) Ok, here is where it gets REALLY SERIOUS. I decided, unwise probably, that I should try to get the computer into safe mode so that I could do the fix procedure exactly as was advised. I therefore located advice for starting in safe mode by a means other than F8 and this was to do Start >> Run >> msconfig >> and then on the BOOT.INI, set it to start up in safe mode. Oh boy, bad move!!
5) again, nothing would show on the screen, only now, I couldn't get back to normal mode either or do anything, because nothing showed up on the darn screen!
6) I attached an older monitor to the computer (though only 2-3 years old). Not exactly sure of its specs, but it has KDSusa on the front. Anyway, when booting with this, I am able to see things on the screen, BUT....
7) It boots to safe mode with the "safe mode" text at all four corners of the screen, but that is ALL that is on the screen...the rest of it is black (though there is a cursor)..clicking does nothing etc....and in a few seconds the familiar "Windows XP is starting up blue logo screen appears (??) and next it prompts me to enter as either "adminstrator" or "owner" big-button style, telling me that I can add or change profiles after I have logged on (this was never part of the normal logging procedure, and if these profiles were set up I haven't used them at all since I got the computer, though I'm sure I called something owner at some point, way back. ***Just to be clear here....when logging in mormally, before these problems, and with the Apple Cinema monitor, there was never any such login screen appearing (since perhaps way back originally setting up the PC, though I can ba rely remember) when I was asked to choose between profiles. Anyway,
8) WHEN I CLICK EITHER OF THESE, WHICH I HAVE TO TO GET ANY FURTHER, IT SAYS "LOADING PROFILES" OR SOMETHING AND THEN INFURIATINGLY THE MACHINE REBOOTS AGAIN...EVERY TIME. IT'S IN A LOOP, AND I CAN'T GET BACK TO WINDOWS TO RESET the BOOT.INI OPTION from START >> RUN
I don't know if this behavior is part of the infection or a result of what I have done, but either way, help!!!
These things i have tried already: With the old monitor running, I can get the boot options menu to work. I have of course selected "boot in normal mode", but it doesn't...it boots with the above behavior...first with the blank "safe mode" screen....then onto the windows logo screen with user login options, administrator and owner (the name for myself, that I created, originally, I think). Choosing either simply starts the login and then reboots after a few seconds, on the same cycle
I CAN access the BIOS (F2) menu and the recovery F11 menu, though I haven't dared to do anything with either yet. On the boot menu, I have tried just about every option....normal, safe, safe with command prompt, last working configuration, enable VGA settings...it still comes back with the same behavior as described above.
I have a lot of important data on the main machine, and am terrified to lose it, so am writing this on a very cheap laptop which I hardly ever use.
Please offer your suggestions for what I can do from here. I'm not a computer geek, so please go easy on the jargon. Is there any way of getting a command prompt given the above behavior, and then using it to fix this problem or at least to get data files off to CDs before I do anything else.
Your help much appreciated. This is the most serious comp problem I've ever had.
Operating System is Windows XP with Service Pack 2
Additionally I can't locate my original XP installation CD. I guess I will have to obtain one from a friend. All software is legit, I just can't find the darn CD. I did have an old copy CD that I made, but it didn't boot with it, despite the boot order being correct so far as I know, and this makes me nervous that it won't boot from the installation CD when I can get my hands on one (or buy a new one if I have to?...cheaper than a new PC). Also, I got the computer in 2005...if I need to get a new installation CD will I have serious problems and/or product key issues if I get a newer one in order to be able to try a repair?
I am not sure whether this virus has corrupted something to do with the boot system and with safe mode, or whether this is a result of using the monitors as I have described. I'm not sure if the Apple Cinema monitor can even display safe mode (??)..if I could somehow get to a dos prompt or edit the BOOT.INI according to anyone's instructions, I might be on my way....but at the moment (as described) I can neither boot properly in safe mode or normal mode.
By the way I have seen the "pinned" topic about the bug in smitfraudfix...at this point, I am not sure yet if that is my problem or not.
Any thoughtful help will be greatly appreciated.
Edited by lightpanther, 05 March 2008 - 06:41 AM.