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Unable To Open Folders, Run .exes And Open Shortcuts Other Than Through Command Prompt


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#1 Ricko29

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Posted 28 June 2008 - 10:17 AM

I'd attempted to install XP Service Pack 3 via Windows Update. An error message occurred halfway through (can't remember the exact message at the moment) and the installation failed. The computer was fine after this and I continued to work on it until I shut it down.

The next day I booted up to find that all my desktop and quick launch shortcuts and desktop files had lost their icons. All shortcuts now have the extention .lnk. Nothing happens when I double click on any of files. This is also the case in the Start menu, where all program shortcuts don't work and neither does Settings -> Control Panel. I also cannot open any folders on my desktop, including My Computer.

I managed to open up the command prompt through Task Manager and I've been able to navigate to programs and execute them from there so I know the programs still work. This is the only way I've been able to get online and run programs to try to solve this. I can also open Windows Explorer via command prompt and navigate through folders that way.

Things I've tried:

1. I'd created a System Restore point before attempting the Service Pack installation. Ran System Restore through command prompt in the hope of restoring back to that point but there are no restore points available.
2. Ran an AVG scan. Found nothing untoward.
3. Ran HijackThis. Not an expert by any means on this but it didn't appear to show anything alarming.
4. My hours of searching online led me to Doug Knox's site, specifically the file association fixes. I downloaded and attempted a couple of the registry fixes, however, each attempt resulted in the following error:

Cannot import C:\...\xp_exe_fix.reg: Not all data was successfully written to the registry. Some keys are open by the system or other processes.

I've made sure I've had adminstrator rights when I've tried this plus tried it in Safe Mode.

I've kind of being going around in circles since.

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#2 hamluis

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Posted 28 June 2008 - 11:55 AM

Might as well try[post="RRT (Remove Restrictions Tool) 1.0 - http://www.majorgeeks.com/RRT_Remove_Restr...Tool_d5635.html "]Remove Restrictions Tool[/post]

Really, you may need to do several scans for malware. The items that you cite are typical symptoms of some malware problems which I've read about.

Louis

#3 Ricko29

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Posted 28 June 2008 - 02:58 PM

I tried the Remove Restrictions Tool but I still got the same error message when trying the registry fixes.

I also scanned with Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware and it didn't find anything.

#4 hamluis

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Posted 28 June 2008 - 03:09 PM

If your error message indicated driver problems when attempting to install SP3...that probably needs to be addressed separately.

You could always try a repair install of XP to fix anything that is related to the O/S.

Louis

#5 PropagandaPanda

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Posted 28 June 2008 - 03:25 PM

Hello Ricko.

I don't think this is a malware related problem, though this is common with malware, since it occured when you tried to install SP3.

I'm not sure what is causing the problem, so we will have to go through several trouble shooting steps.

Firstly, we need to uninstall the partly installed SP3.
  • Open your Add and Remove Programs.
  • Check the Show Updates button.
  • Look for Service Pack 3. If found, uninstall it.
  • Under the sub categories for Windows XP - Software Updates and Microsoft Office XP [Home/Professionsal], look down on the right side for any updates that were installed on the date that you tried to install SP3 and remove them.
Restart your computer after the uninstallations.

Let's try importing that registry file from the command line just to make sure the .reg associations weren't somehow damaged and causing the importing errors. Make sure xp_exe_fix.reg has been extracted onto your desktop.

Run from the command line:

regedit.exe /s "%userprofile%\desktop\xp_exe_fix.reg"

and tell us if you still get that error. (Try this in Safe Mode again too please.)

I need to look in your Event Viewer for any errors. Usually, when something fails, like when you can't merge the registry entries, it will be logged. It may show us what exactly is causing the failure.
  • Download Dumpel.exe to your desktop (this tool is by Microsoft).
  • Run dumpel to to setup the commandline tool. Simply go to the directory and type dumpel in the cmd to run it.
  • Copy the following into a notepad. Do not copy the word "Code".
    @ECHO OFF
    ECHO Please wait.
    ECHO Logs Dumped at Date:%date% Time:%time%>EventLogDump.txt
    dumpel -l system -c -format tdTISus >systemlogdumptemp.txt
    find /v ",4," systemlogdumptemp.txt>>EventLogDump.txt
    del systemlogdumptemp.txt
    dumpel -l application -c -format tdTISus>applogdumptemp.txt
    find /v ",4," applogdumptemp.txt>>EventLogDump.txt
    del applogdumptemp.txt
    start EventLogDump.txt
    del %0
  • Click File, then Save As... .
  • Click Desktop on the left.
  • Under the Save as type dropdown, select All Files.
  • In the box File Name, input logdump.bat.
  • Hit OK.
When done properly, the icon should look like Posted Image for a .bat file or Posted Image for a .reg.

Run logdump.bat. A text document will open with the log dump. Copy that into your next reply.

Next step would be to convert the registry file into a batch file and import it that way. If that doesn't work, we may have to import the file manually.

With Regards,
The Panda

#6 Ricko29

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Posted 28 June 2008 - 04:54 PM

Hi Panda,

Thanks for the help guys.

1. I can't get into Add and Remove Programs. When I click on Start -> Control Panel, I get this error:

"This file does not have a program associated with it for performing this action. Create an association in the Folder Options control panel."

2. I ran dumpel and I got the following error:

"The system administrator has set policies to prevent this installation."

3. I ran logdump.bat and got this error twice:

"Command line option syntax error. Type Command /? for Help."

There was also the following error in the command line twice:

"'find' is not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file."

A text document was created but all it had in it was the time and date.

Edited by Ricko29, 28 June 2008 - 04:56 PM.


#7 PropagandaPanda

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Posted 28 June 2008 - 06:13 PM

Hello.

Are you using XP Professional or Home?

"This file does not have a program associated with it for performing this action. Create an association in the Folder Options control panel."

Looks like the .exe for your control panel is messed too. Try to run the Add/Remove Programs by typing:
appwiz.cpl
into the command prompt and carry out the uninstallations in my previous post.

"The system administrator has set policies to prevent this installation."

I'm am currently looking into any policy settings that can do this.

"Command line option syntax error. Type Command /? for Help."

Since dumpel was not installed, the command associated with it failed.

Some of your system files are damaged (find is on every XP computer). Please follow the guide to using the System File Checker here.

Sorry that there is not much I can do right now.

With Regards,
The Panda

#8 tswsl1989

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Posted 29 June 2008 - 06:51 AM

"The system administrator has set policies to prevent this installation."


This can appear if there are Group Policy\Registry restrictions in place about Windows Installer. If these have been aplied to the registry, they can affect XP Home as well as XP Pro.

It can also appear if Windows Installer if corrupt\missing.

Try rebooting into Safe Mode and Logging in as Administrator (not an Administrator, the account called Administrator)

Then try to open Add/Remove programs in Control Panel
Tom

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#9 Ricko29

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Posted 29 June 2008 - 08:22 AM

Are you using XP Professional or Home?

XP Home.

Looks like the .exe for your control panel is messed too. Try to run the Add/Remove Programs by typing:
appwiz.cpl
into the command prompt and carry out the uninstallations in my previous post.

I'd tried to run appwiz.cpl through the command prompt but it brought the Windows cannot open this file dialog.

Some of your system files are damaged (find is on every XP computer). Please follow the guide to using the System File Checker here.

I've got the I386 folder on my C drive and I made the changes to the registry listed in that article but I was still asked for the XP CD quite a few times, which I didn't receive when I bought my PC. I restarted after it finished and the only difference is that my toolbar theme has been reset.

#10 Ricko29

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Posted 29 June 2008 - 08:25 AM

Try rebooting into Safe Mode and Logging in as Administrator (not an Administrator, the account called Administrator)

Then try to open Add/Remove programs in Control Panel

I still get the same error. It then asks if I want to place a shortcut on the desktop.

#11 PropagandaPanda

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Posted 29 June 2008 - 08:58 AM

Hello.

I still get the same error. It then asks if I want to place a shortcut on the desktop.

I see "hxxp://gunbound.ijjicom...". Do you have any idea what that is? Did it ask you place a shortcut for that site? If so this looks like a hijacking.

It is vitally important that we get access to the Add/Remove. The windows files and registry entries are backed up when you install updates. When we uninstall them, the backups will be restored.

Please check your policies for anything that may be restricting access.
  • Type into the cmd: mmc.exe gpedit.msc
  • Navigate to User Configuration>Administrative Templates>Control Panel
  • To the right, if you see any policies that are not set to "Not Configured", set them that way.
  • Navigate to Configuration>Administrative Templates>Control Panel>Add or Remove Programs
  • Set all the policies to not configured
Now try to start the Add/Remove by typing into the cmd:
control appwiz.cpl

With Regards,
The Panda

#12 Ricko29

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Posted 29 June 2008 - 09:19 AM

I see "hxxp://gunbound.ijjicom...". Do you have any idea what that is? Did it ask you place a shortcut for that site? If so this looks like a hijacking.

Sorry for the confusion. I didn't take that screenshot. I was just linking to an image of the same error message. Mine didn't have the web address at the top.

I ran msc.exe gpedit.msc and I got the following error:

"The selected file cannot be found".

#13 PropagandaPanda

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Posted 29 June 2008 - 11:47 AM

Hello.

Type into the cmd:
REGSVR32 /u APPWIZ.CPL
then
REGSVR32 APPWIZ.CPL
then
APPWIZ.CPL to try to open the uninstaller.

Do you have a Recovery Console on your computer?

With Regards,
The Panda

reason for edit: add register/unregister

Edited by PropagandaPanda, 29 June 2008 - 12:07 PM.


#14 Ricko29

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Posted 29 June 2008 - 12:40 PM

Type into the cmd:
REGSVR32 /u APPWIZ.CPL
then
REGSVR32 APPWIZ.CPL
then
APPWIZ.CPL to try to open the uninstaller.

The first two parts worked fine. When I ran APPWIZ.CPL, I got the same "Windows cannot open this file" error.

Do you have a Recovery Console on your computer?

I ran c:\i386\winnt32.exe /cmdcons and it installed the Recovery Console.

#15 PropagandaPanda

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Posted 29 June 2008 - 12:44 PM

Hello.

Please boot into the Recovery Console and run a chkdsk /r. Refer to the link above.

After the run, please try some of the commands again.

With Regards,
The Panda




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