I'm having an issue with a Gateway M305X CRV Laptop. When I got it to work on from a friend, it was displaying spyware symptoms. These symptoms were IE 7 opening windows automatically and constantly refreshing the open IE window. She had run malware bytes and adAware with no luck.
When I got the laptop, I tried a system restore using ERD commander with no luck...so I opted to reinstall the operating system instead of trying to clean it since it was near impossible to work with...the more you click to open things, the more IE windows open up.
To prep for the first reinstall, I used the UBCD (Ultimate Boot Disk) to run FDisk to delete the partitions and a format command through DOS. I then used the Gateway OS CD to reinstall XP. Before I could get the updates finished, I began to have the same symptoms again.
Figuring that it was buried in a partition somewhere, I removed the hard drive from the laptop and connected it to my Vista machine running Trend Micro Enterprise. I did a full scan after updating the scanning software of Trend Micro, Spybot S&D, adAware, and Malware Bytes. ALL of the scans came back with no reported problems. I ran Hijack with no reported problems.
Figuring that the format in DOS wasn't enough, I downloaded the latest utility from the hard drive manufacturer (HITACHI) and ran an erase boot sector (overwrite the sector with zeroes...stated in the utility) and the erase hard drive utility which took about 2-3 hrs. I then reinstalled Windows XP Home from the same Gateway CD and still had issues after connecting to the network to download windows updates.
I also flashed the BIOS, just in case, but the problem continued. Unfortunately, the BIOS update supplied by gateway in this instance uses a Windows utility so I couldnít do through DOS.
Thinking it was something on the network, I proceeded to redo the above procedure and put it on a different network. Same results before I could even get connected to the network. With much difficulty, I figured it needed an update so I got all the lastest updates for the machine from windows including SP3 and IE 8 with no luck.
Frustrated, I took the drive out again and used my Vista machine to look at the partitions on the drive using diskpart. I erased the 1 partition it found and formatted the drive through the computer management console. This time I installed XP pro and yielded the same results even though I never connected to the network.
At my wits end, I decided to use another drive I knew to be clean from another laptop and as soon as Windows booted for the first time, Iím getting the same symptomsÖIE windows opening and the open window refreshing constantly.
Iíve been in the tech support field for 10 years and have never seen a clean reinstall have issues like this right out of the gate. Iíve done tons of installs of all different OSís and pcís and never had a problem like this. Iím not sure that I conveyed all I did, but this is the bulk of it.
NOTE: A safe mode boot has the same symptoms and it is difficult, but not impossible to run programs from a USB (Iíve also scanned my USB which came out clean). Currently I have XP Home installing (will be done by the time I get a reply, Iím sure) since that is the OS that belongs on the machine. Iím guessing that if the BIOS is the culprit, flashing from windows carried the problem to the new version.
Any ideas or suggestions are greatly appreciated!
*EDIT* - I also took the CMOS battery out...no effect other than to reset the date/time back to the default. I reset the BIOS to defaults w/no effect.
Edited by comhunter, 24 July 2009 - 06:43 AM.