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Perplexing XP issue: user account weirdness


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#1 JaxBearsFan

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 11:48 AM

Hi all,

I've been Googling and searching this forum, and haven't come across a situation like this.

Working in a Windows Server 2003 environment (we have a few 2008 Server machines w/ Hyper-V too), and a stand-alone DC. About 40-50 workstations, depending on the day. We're all up to date, using WSUS 3.0, Symantec Endpoint 11, almost all staff is on a Dell box, some Macs, a few older machines before we standardized...

...anyway, just one user is having a problem...quite odd.

She was on vacation all last week. When she attempts to log in to the domain, she's successful; then after about 15 seconds, the mouse freezes, the keyboard becomes unusable, and nothing happens. We've let her PC sit (it's a Dell Dimension circa 2007, 768MB RAM, 80GB HDD, nothing special) for up to 30 minutes, and no matter what, the PC won't respond to anything. The only thing to do is hard reboot with the power button.

This also happens with my own profile that I had set up on the computer awhile ago.

I've disabled what I can as far as unnecessary startup items; made sure the PC is up to date; all software on the PC is up to date; I've run virus scans (all come back clean), I've run MalwareBytes in safe mode (clean return log), I've tried System Restore to a date before her vacation, all with no luck.

Strange thing is, if I log in as the domain Administrator, this freeze issues DOES NOT HAPPEN. If I log in as a local user, the freeze also does not happen. Checked Disk Management, says the disk is healthy; ran a RAM test, all appears well.

So the only way to use this computer is as the domain Administrator (or local, which does no good for the user).

Only thing I have yet to try is a Repair using a Windows XP install disc, but am not sure that would do any good since I'm not positive where the issue lies.

Anyone here have any experience with something like this? I have the user using a temporary computer (backup notebook), but I'm perplexed as to what's going on.

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#2 Blade

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 12:51 PM

Malwarebytes is more powerful in normal mode. Try running it there if possible. If you are only able to use safe mode, try SUPERAntiSpyware, it's more powerful in safe mode than MBAM. Here are instructions for running SAS.

Please download and scan with SUPERAntiSpyware Free
  • Double-click SUPERAntiSypware.exe and use the default settings for installation.
  • An icon will be created on your desktop. Double-click that icon to launch the program.
  • If it will not start, go to Start > All Prgrams > SUPERAntiSpyware and click on Alternate Start.
  • If asked to update the program definitions, click "Yes". If not, update the definitions before scanning by selecting "Check for Updates". (If you encounter any problems while downloading the updates, manually download them from here. Double-click on the hyperlink for Download Installer and save SASDEFINITIONS.EXE to your desktop. Then double-click on SASDEFINITIONS.EXE to install the definitions.)
  • In the Main Menu, click the Preferences... button.
  • Click the "General and Startup" tab, and under Start-up Options, make sure "Start SUPERAntiSpyware when Windows starts" box is unchecked.
  • Click the "Scanning Control" tab, and under Scanner Options, make sure the following are checked (leave all others unchecked):
    • Close browsers before scanning.
    • Scan for tracking cookies.
    • Terminate memory threats before quarantining.
  • Click the "Close" button to leave the control center screen and exit the program.
  • Do not run a scan just yet.
Reboot your computer in "Safe Mode" using the F8 method. To do this, restart your computer and after hearing your computer beep once during startup (but before the Windows icon appears) press the F8 key repeatedly. A menu will appear with several options. Use the arrow keys to navigate and select the option to run Windows in "Safe Mode".

Scan with SUPERAntiSpyware as follows:
  • Launch the program and back on the main screen, under "Scan for Harmful Software" click Scan your computer.
  • On the left, make sure you check C:\Fixed Drive.
  • On the right, under "Complete Scan", choose Perform Complete Scan and click "Next".
  • After the scan is complete, a Scan Summary box will appear with potentially harmful items that were detected. Click "OK".
  • Make sure everything has a checkmark next to it and click "Next".
  • A notification will appear that "Quarantine and Removal is Complete". Click "OK" and then click the "Finish" button to return to the main menu.
  • If asked if you want to reboot, click "Yes" and reboot normally.
  • To retrieve the removal information after reboot, launch SUPERAntispyware again.
    • Click Preferences, then click the Statistics/Logs tab.
    • Under Scanner Logs, double-click SUPERAntiSpyware Scan Log.
    • If there are several logs, click the current dated log and press View log. A text file will open in your default text editor.
    • Please copy and paste the Scan Log results in your next reply.
  • Click Close to exit the program.
If a log comes back showing something, you may upload it in a reply to this thread, and I'll have the topic moved to Am I Infected where we can start removing any baddies on your system.

Not saying this definitely is a malware issue, but these scans will help eliminate that possibility

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#3 JaxBearsFan

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 02:38 PM

Thanks for the tip; I followed your steps to the letter. I will post the log below, I changed the usernames of 2 people who have logged in to this machine in the past, neither of which are the primary user.

And after scan completion, the problem persists. The domain Administrator has NO PROBLEM using the PC; any other user, the screen freezes about 10 seconds after log in, mouse + keyboard don't respond.

Log:

SUPERAntiSpyware Scan Log
http://www.superantispyware.com

Generated 06/16/2009 at 02:25 PM

Application Version : 4.26.1004

Core Rules Database Version : 3942
Trace Rules Database Version: 1884

Scan type : Complete Scan
Total Scan Time : 00:25:29

Memory items scanned : 343
Memory threats detected : 0
Registry items scanned : 4747
Registry threats detected : 0
File items scanned : 32556
File threats detected : 8

Adware.Tracking Cookie
C:\Documents and Settings\[user name 1]\Cookies\[user name 1]@2o7[1].txt
C:\Documents and Settings\[user name 1]\Cookies\[user name 1]@ads.sermonspice[1].txt
C:\Documents and Settings\[user name 2]\Cookies\[user name 2]@2o7[2].txt
C:\Documents and Settings\[user name 2]\Cookies\[user name 2]@a1.interclick[1].txt
C:\Documents and Settings\[user name 2]\Cookies\[user name 2]@atdmt[2].txt
C:\Documents and Settings\[user name 2]\Cookies\[user name 2]@doubleclick[1].txt
C:\Documents and Settings\[user name 2]\Cookies\[user name 2]@iacas.adbureau[1].txt
C:\Documents and Settings\[user name 2]\Cookies\[user name 2]@interclick[1].txt






Any advice on what to do now? Thanks for anyone's / everyone's help on this one...I'm stumped.

#4 Blade

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 03:09 PM

all that SAS found were tracking cookies. . . those aren't responsible for serious problems. I'm going to have to say that this isn't a malware issue. . . so I won't request the thread be relocated to AII.

Have any installations or upgrades been performed on this machine recently? Hardware or software, either could be relevant at this point.

Running a repair install couldn't hurt either. . . though I don't know whether that will fix the issue. I'm a bit perplexed myself, never seen this particular problem before.

Perhaps someone else here has some other ideas. *looks around*

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#5 JaxBearsFan

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 03:45 PM

all that SAS found were tracking cookies. . . those aren't responsible for serious problems. I'm going to have to say that this isn't a malware issue. . . so I won't request the thread be relocated to AII.

Have any installations or upgrades been performed on this machine recently? Hardware or software, either could be relevant at this point.

Running a repair install couldn't hurt either. . . though I don't know whether that will fix the issue. I'm a bit perplexed myself, never seen this particular problem before.

Perhaps someone else here has some other ideas. *looks around*


I'm still with you in the "perplexed" mode. Especially since this user was on vacation all last week, WSUS sent its updates down last Wednesday morning while she was gone, and I can verify that NO ONE used this machine last week at all. And, no other machine in the building has had these issues either...so if it was a SUS update, that's easily fixable. System Restore = Nothing.

I checked the BIOS, everything appears to be copacetic there...checked Dell's website with the Express Tag Code, and everything that applies to this machine is up to date as well.

Still, the Administrator (local or domain) *can* log in and use the computer; any other user can also log in, but once the desktop appears w/ the icons, the system FREEZES, the mouse + keyboard don't respond, and the clock time stays the same.

#6 Andrew

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 10:54 PM

What happens if you log on with another user's domain account (or you could set up a new one for testing)? You said the same thing happens under the profile you created when setting up the computer, is that a domain or local account?

#7 JaxBearsFan

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Posted 18 June 2009 - 10:59 AM

What happens if you log on with another user's domain account (or you could set up a new one for testing)? You said the same thing happens under the profile you created when setting up the computer, is that a domain or local account?


It happened with any domain account besides the Administrator.

Believe we have it figured out. Called in some help from an IT company that helps me out (one-man IT "staff!"), and as it turned out, we narrowed it down to one of two things:

1) An ATI Video driver update (which at this point I doubt, since I did the "boot in to safe mode, revert to old drivers" trick to no avail)
2) A login audit script that a guy had set up to "help" with inventory (this is my guess as to the culprit)
3) A strange permissions issue

What we did is add this one user to the Domain Administrator user group; we were able to log her in; then removed her from said group; and login was successful. This was of course AFTER we disabled the login audit script.

Thanks for the brainstorming, folks. Much appreciated! If nothing else, I learned that login audit scripts aren't always my best friend, and that using SUPERAntiSpyware that this machine is 100% clean!




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