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Help! Don't know what it is or was, don't even know how to describe it


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#1 GemmaRose

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 01:50 PM

Please forgive this total non-geek's non-technical descriptions.

I have two problems which no one seems to be able to help me with.

Brief background*: I had some sort of virus; don't know what it was. I'm pretty sure it's gone now. Norton and Spybot can't find anything. Norton is current and updated, and I do full system scans every day. I run Spybot at least 2x/week. I use Windows Firewall. Pop-ups are blocked. Also, after all my problems started, I found in a Spybot forum thread a link to a website where you can compare different AVs (some of the top ones) by their giving you a free, no-strings-attached scan. I took full advantage of these scans. None found any viruses. Only one found a (supposed) low- or mid-threat malware, in a folder -- with no file specified. Since this was a free scan, it didn't fix the problem (if there really is one).

I have run checkdisk, which fixed some errors, and I have defragged.

My following two problems remain, and I am 99.9% certain that it's not a hardware problem since the both problems started together.

(1) Any sound that this laptop can possibly make (except keyboard sounds) are static-y sounding.

(2) There is a problem with the display - and here is where I have a difficult time explaining. The only way is to give an example. Here goes: Let's say that six months ago, I went to website "xyz".com and found on the website a photo of "John Smith," and copied "John Smith"'s photo into my Photos folder. Okay. Now, six months later, if I go into my Photos folders, I can still see "John Smith's" photo as it is supposed to appear. However, if I go back to website "xyz".com, and the same exact photo of "John Smith" is there, I might be able to see parts of it exactly as it should appear (such as shirt, background), but other parts (usually the face or other pinkish colors or skin parts such as hands) are blotched with black so as to make the face unrecognizable. It can happen on all kinds of photographs (flowers, sky, etc.). Some other photos - which can even be on the same website - will be as clear as they are supposed to be. (I don't know how to do screenshots.)

Since I don't know what could possibly cause this, I have no idea of what to do or where to turn for help.

Has anyone ever heard anything like this? Any advice will be appreciated.


* Here is more detailed background of my tale of woe, which will better explain why I don't know exactly what happened and what it was that caused these problems.

In mid-December '08, I noticed my laptop running slower and slower. I read somewhere that registry errors could cause this, but my Norton Systemsworks One-Button Checkup never found more than one or two errors. I somewhere found on-line two websites (Uniblue and Registry Booster) which advertised themselves as being able to speed up your computer by cleaning up the registry. Both provided free scans and cleaning of @10 errors. Further errors would only be cleaned by product purchase. (By the way, this all happened before I got Spybot.)

Naive me used both of these free scans, both of which found 500+ errors. Not believing that Norton could miss that many errors, I uninstalled whatever both these sites downloaded.

At about the same time, I started reading about an IE security hole which Microsoft was going to issue a patch to fix. I read that Microsoft would issue the patch on "Wednesday" (which I believe was the 17th). On Wednesday, December 17th, as I was working on my laptop, it suddenly - and with no warning - started to shut down just as if I had clicked on "Start" and "Turn Off Computer. I couldn't stop it.

I don't remember if it rebooted itself, or if I had to reboot it, but when it was rebooted, there was a balloon above the taskbar with the message that "Microsoft needed to install an important security fix [or patch or something] which necessitated rebooting [my] computer." The balloon and message seemed legit.

Another thing that happened around the same time was that the commercial network through which my personal-use laptop receives its internet connection contracted a virus.

It was around this time that the video display problems started, and also the audio problems because the sound became
static-y. This happens with material directly from the internet and also from music stored in my laptop.

I didn't use my laptop too much until, on December 23, 2008, I tried to play some Christmas music through Windows Media Player (music that I have stored in my laptop), and no sound came out. I went to Control Panel/Sounds and Audio Devices, and was horrified to find that the properties box showed that no audio files were installed!!! *eek*

A friend told me about Best Buy's Geek Squad, which I called. The tech downloaded new audio files directly from Sigma Tel , which got the sound going again, but it was still static-y. He said there was nothing he could do. He downloaded CCleaner for me. He seemed to have no understanding about the display problem. I wasn't really happy with the service.

Well... at least I could listen to some static-y Christmas music...

After the holidays, I found other on-line tech support from a link in the on-line PC Magazine website. (I'm handicapped, and it is nearly impossible for me to bring my laptop anywhere.) The tech seemed to do 1,001 diagnostic things to my laptop online, tweaked a whole bunch of things, downloaded Spybot for me, etc. Although I remain pleased with their service, that tech also could not explain the static-y sound nor the display problem.


Thank you for any help you can give.

Edited by GemmaRose, 12 March 2009 - 03:52 PM.

GemmaRose

From the rising of the sun to its setting let the name of the LORD be praised. - Psalm 113:3


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#2 DaChew

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 06:56 PM

Let's try something a little more sophisticated to see if we can find the problem

http://www.pcpitstop.com/pcpitstop/default.asp

Take the fulltest after registrying or running anonymously

When it finishes post a link from the address bar

I will be glad to give my analysis
Chewy

No. Try not. Do... or do not. There is no try.

#3 GemmaRose

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 07:12 PM

Wow! What a great website. Thanks (even though I don't understand a lot of it).

Here's the link: http://www.pcpitstop.com/betapit/sec.asp?conid=21874085

(Is there any way to include an attachment here on this forum?)

Thanks for help.
GemmaRose

From the rising of the sun to its setting let the name of the LORD be praised. - Psalm 113:3


#4 DaChew

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 08:40 PM

We have some work to do

:thumbsup:

Most will not be related to malware, some will be optional, some would involve turning a toy into a tool

Let's start on crud ware

Please download ATF Cleaner by Atribune & save it to your desktop.
  • Double-click ATF-Cleaner.exe to run the program.
  • Under Main "Select Files to Delete" choose: Select All.
  • Click the Empty Selected button.
  • If you use Firefox browser click Firefox at the top and choose: Select All
  • Click the Empty Selected button.
    If you would like to keep your saved passwords, please click No at the prompt.
  • If you use Opera browser click Opera at the top and choose: Select All
  • Click the Empty Selected button.
    If you would like to keep your saved passwords, please click No at the prompt.
  • Click Exit on the Main menu to close the program.
Note: On Vista, "Windows Temp" is disabled. To empty "Windows Temp" ATF-Cleaner must be "Run as an Administrator".

Please download Malwarebytes Anti-Malware (v1.34) and save it to your desktop.
alternate download link 1
alternate download link 2
If you have a previous version of MBAM, remove it via Add/Remove Programs and download a fresh copy.
  • Make sure you are connected to the Internet.
  • Double-click on mbam-setup.exe to install the application.
  • When the installation begins, follow the prompts and do not make any changes to default settings.
  • When installation has finished, make sure you leave both of these checked:
    • Update Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware
    • Launch Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware
  • Then click Finish.
MBAM will automatically start and you will be asked to update the program before performing a scan.
  • If an update is found, the program will automatically update itself.
  • Press the OK button to close that box and continue.
  • If you encounter any problems while downloading the updates, manually download them from here and just double-click on mbam-rules.exe to install. Alternatively, you can update through MBAM's interface from a clean computer, copy the definitions (rules.ref) located in C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Malwarebytes\Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware from that system to a usb stick or CD and then copy it to the infected machine.
On the Scanner tab:
  • Make sure the "Perform Quick Scan" option is selected.
  • Then click on the Scan button.
  • If asked to select the drives to scan, leave all the drives selected and click on the Start Scan button.
  • The scan will begin and "Scan in progress" will show at the top. It may take some time to complete so please be patient.
  • When the scan is finished, a message box will say "The scan completed successfully. Click 'Show Results' to display all objects found".
  • Click OK to close the message box and continue with the removal process.
Back at the main Scanner screen:
  • Click on the Show Results button to see a list of any malware that was found.
  • Make sure that everything is checked, and click Remove Selected.
  • When removal is completed, a log report will open in Notepad.
  • The log is automatically saved and can be viewed by clicking the Logs tab in MBAM.
  • Copy and paste the contents of that report in your next reply and exit MBAM.
Note: If MBAM encounters a file that is difficult to remove, you may be asked to reboot your computer so it can proceed with the disinfection process. Regardless if prompted to restart the computer or not, please do so immediately. Failure to reboot normally (not into safe mode) will prevent MBAM from removing all the malware. MBAM may "make changes to your registry" as part of its disinfection routine. If using other security programs that detect registry changes (ie Spybot's Teatimer), they may interfere or alert you after scanning with MBAM. Please temporarily disable such programs or permit them to allow the changes.

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/114351/how-to-temporarily-disable-your-anti-virus-firewall-and-anti-malware-programs/
Chewy

No. Try not. Do... or do not. There is no try.

#5 GemmaRose

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Posted 18 March 2009 - 08:45 PM

Problems with step one - downloading ATF Cleaner...

I'm currently in a nursing home and my internet access is through their network which managed by the jnet.com company and which has recently raised its blocking level to 5 which blocks nearly everything. (They blame an employee who brought in a plug-in with a virus.) I'm not the only patient here with a laptop and we've been trying to convince them to lower the blocking level for us. (Jnet can put different levels on different computers.) After all, we are not employees so they can't worry about us surfing during business hours!

The blocking reason for ATF Cleaner is "Message Boards."
The blocking reason for Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is "Reason: Malicious Code / Viruses / Spyware."

I was shocked when I was able to get into this website.

If you can't think of anything else that I can do now, I might just have to wait until they decide to unblock me. We just got a new Administrator for the nursing home on Monday, so I'm going to ask him directly. I've heard he's a nice guy.

Thanks very much for your help so far. and for any help in the future.
GemmaRose

From the rising of the sun to its setting let the name of the LORD be praised. - Psalm 113:3





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