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Cannot run explorer.exe, HiJackThis, Mbam, or Combofix


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#1 yaytaco27

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 01:51 PM

All right, so this is rather perplexing and frustrating...here is the order of events that have taken place:

I made the mistake of clicking on a picture hosted by Picfoco, only to realize my computer was having some sort of virus sent to it from there just by me visiting the site. I ended that process as soon as I realized it, then seval pop-ups appeared saying my "computer is infected" and telling me to download their anti-spyware programs, so I then ran Malwarebytes just to take care of it. It found two viruses, both with "xa" at the end of the file names. It then wanted me to restart my computer, so I did...

Once it restarted however, my task bar and icons were non-existent. My background was still there, and I could bring up task manager. So I figured explorer.exe was not running, and sure enough it wasn't in the running processes list, so I tried to manually start that up via "start new task," only to receive the message, "Windows cannot access the specified device, path, or file. You may not have the appropriate permissions to access the item."

So I next tried to run Malwarebytes again (via the start new task method) and that gave me the message, "The database you are using is not supported by this version of Malwarebytes' Anty-Malware. Download the latest version of the program." Also, I would like to note that I have two different Malwarebytes saved on my computer (both have been kept up to date), one is saved under a different name "richv.exe" to prevent viruses from blocking it, but that did not save me in this case.

Then I tried to run HiJackThis, and that resulted in the same message that running explorer (or trying to anyway) gave me, "Windows cannot access the specified device, path, or file. You may not have the appropriate permissions to access the item."

Interestingly, I can run firefox and internet explorer, and no websites have been blocked (which I've noticed most viruses these days seem to do-block websites, especially tech help forums- but this one has not for some reason).

I have since tried researching this issue on the internet, and I've found many similar issues but there's always variation between them and my own issue here. I have attempted downloading and installing combofix, prevxc, spybot, and avira, all just to find they will being their installation process, but they either disappear or never even show up on screen.

Also note that I have tried all of the above in safe mode and found no differences.

I DID manage to get Avast to work, but the only thing that found was "net.net" as a virus, and it dealt with that, didn't change a thing though.

Finally, I tried running TrendMicro's online scanner, and that found 27 viruses all related to the vundo virus, it said it fixed all but one of them. That one stalled it, and the scanner went idle and couldn't get anywhere. I tried restarting the computer, and nothing had changed with my computer's situation.

I also tried running Microsoft's online scanner through iexplorer, and that got closed somehow in the middle of the scan.

A couple of other points of interest: if I do run iexplore.exe, 2 instances of it appear; and the My Computer and HiJackThis icons (when I browse my files via task manager) have notably changed to white unspecified file type boxes.

Help? Please? aha...I know there's the whole "format and reinstall OS" option, but I would definitely prefer to avoid that route. If that is the only way, then I need help backing up my pictures and my old homework files!

Edited by The weatherman, 17 September 2009 - 04:18 PM.
Moved from XP to a more appropriate forum. Tw


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#2 yaytaco27

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 07:10 PM

ALSO, haha, I forgot to include that when my computer starts up, I get an error message that viewmanager (viewmgr) encountered an error and cannot start. I was going to type the message word-for-word here, but the window just closed on its own. I can copy its full details down if anyone feels this is relevant to the issue.

Anyway, in case I didn't make it clear above, I think I'm infected with a virus (why else would only my desktop, explorer.exe, and anti-virus programs be inaccessible...?), but I don't know what kind or how to tell at this point since even HiJackThis won't run. Any help on this issue would be MUCH appreciated!

#3 boopme

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 07:44 PM

You are very infected. You need to either do an R&R (Re format/Re Install) or we can run this and post it in lieu of the HJT log.

System Repair Engineer
  • Please download System Repair Engineer from here
  • Unzip/extract sreng2.zip to a folder on your desktop
  • Double-click on SREngLdr.EXE to launch System Repair Engineer
  • Click the Smart Scan Icon
  • Click Scan
  • Wait for the scan to finish
  • Click on the Save Reports button
  • Save it to your desktop, using the recommended name of SREngLOG.log
  • Close System Repair Engineer
  • Use notepad to open the SREngLOG.log file
  • Copy & paste the contents of that file as a reply to this topic
  • Note: The log may be long, and you may need several posts to post all of it
  • If you are using a custom HOSTS file, please leave out the HOSTS File section, as it will make the log far too long
Next please go here HijackThis Logs and Virus/Trojan/Spyware/Malware Removal ,click New Topic,give it a relevant Title and post the Rootrepeal log and the above log.
Important: Be sure to mention that you tried to follow the Prep Guide but were unable to get DDS to run.

Let me know how that went.
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#4 yaytaco27

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 09:17 PM

Okay, thank you so much. It's doing the smart scan now; I will let you know how it goes and follow the directions you gave.

Curious, if I do end up having to reformat, how can I backup my pictures, documents, and (this is going to sound silly) AIM logs onto CD-RWs when I can't use explorer (since explorer.exe doesn't work)? I tried inserting a CD earlier, sending some files I want to save to said CD, and all that does is make those files "ready to be written to CD." From there, I tried right-clicking on the CD in the task manager, and I was given the option to "write files to CD" in the drop down list. Doing that brought up the CD-writing wizard, and I clicked "next" and then it told me I needed to insert a blank CD (even though I definitely have one in the drive). Can you think of any alternative methods to backing up my data safely?

#5 yaytaco27

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 09:31 PM

Okay I posted the log in a new topic: www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/topic258377.html

#6 boopme

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 10:37 PM

In some instances an infection may have caused so much damage to your system that it cannot be completely cleaned or repaired. Wiping your drive, reformatting, and performing a clean install of the OS or doing a factory restore removes everything and is the safest action but I cannot make that decision for you.

Reformatting a hard disk deletes all data. If you decide to reformat, you can back up all your important documents, data files and photos. The safest practice is not to backup any autorun.ini or .exe files because they may be infected. Some types of malware may disguise itself by adding and hiding its extension to the existing extension of files so be sure you take a close look at the full name. After reformatting, as a precaution, make sure you scan these files with your anti-virus prior to copying them back to your hard drive.

The best proceedure is a low level format. This completely wipes the drive. Then reinstall the OS.
Use the free version of Active@ KillDisk.
Or Darik's Boot And Nuke

The best sources of Information on this are
Reformatting Windows XP
Michael Stevens Tech

Of course also feel free to ask anything on this in the XP forum. They'd be glad to help.

==============================

2 guidelines/rules when backing up

1) Backup all your important data files, pictures, music, work etc... and save it onto an external hard-drive. These files usually include .doc, .txt, .mp3, .jpg etc...
2) Do not backup any executables files or any window files. These include .exe/.scr/.htm/.html/.xml/.zip/.rar files as they may contain traces of malware. Also, .html or .htm files that are webpages should also be avoided.

Download Belarc Advisor - builds a detailed profile of your installed software and hardware, including Microsoft Hotfixes, and displays the results in your Web browser.
Run it and then print out the results, they may be handy.

Since we don't know exactly which infections we're dealing with here, we should take some precautions before we attempt to move files from the infected machine. Run the following on your clean computer, and make sure you insert your flash drives at the prompt.
Download and Run FlashDisinfector

Please download Flash_Disinfector.exe by sUBs and save it to your desktop.
  • Double-click Flash_Disinfector.exe to run it and follow any prompts that may appear.
  • The utility may ask you to insert your flash drive and/or other removable drives. Please do so and allow the utility to clean up those drives as well.
  • Hold down the Shift key when inserting the drive until Windows detects it to keep autorun.inf from executing if it is present.
  • Wait until it has finished scanning and then exit the program.
  • Reboot your computer when done.
Note: As part of its routine, Flash_Disinfector will create a hidden folder named autorun.inf in each partition and every USB drive that was plugged in when you ran it. Do not delete this folder...it will help protect your drives from future infection by keeping the autorun file from being installed on the root drive and running other malicious files.


Reinstall Windows Vista
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
VIRUT
Caution: If you are considering reformatting and backing up your data, keep in mind, with a Virut infection, there is always a chance of backed up data reinfecting your system. If the data is that important to you, then you can try to salvage some of it but there is no guarantee so be forewarned that you may have to start over again afterwards if reinfected by attempting to recover your data. Only back up your important documents, personal data files, photos to a CD or DVD drive, not a flash drive or external hard drive as they may become compromised in the process. The safest practice is not to backup any executable files (*.exe), screensavers (*.scr), autorun (.ini) or script files (.php, .asp, and .html) files because they may be infected by malware. Avoid backing up compressed files (.zip, .cab, .rar) that have executable files inside them as some types of malware can penetrate and infect .exe files within compressed files too. Other types of malware may even disguise itself by adding and hiding its extension to the existing extension of file(s) so be sure you look closely at the full file name. After reformatting, scan the backed up data with your anti-virus prior to to copying it back to your hard drive.

Edited by boopme, 17 September 2009 - 10:37 PM.

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#7 yaytaco27

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 10:52 PM

Okay, I understand all of this, but what I don't understand is how I can even back up anything in the first place when my explorer.exe won't even run (it really makes things quite difficult to do). Normal tasks are not available to me, I can't access the start menu or control panel to reach any of the back up methods that windows has on it (task manager is the only way I can navigate my computer), and apparently my computer won't even recognize the fact that I have a CD in the D:/ drive. I unfortunately don't have access to any USBs either, but that is perhaps best in light of the fact that viruses can find their way on there. Do you know of any work around to this? Is there something I can do to get my PC to recognize the blank CD in it? Is there a way to access the control panel through the task manager or the command prompt?

My only other thought to backing up my files (and don't worry, I'm only backing up a few text files and jpg's; no .exe's will be transferred) is via the use of an insignificant email address that I have (it holds no contacts that the virus can send itself out to). I can email the files to myself there perhaps? The email client (yahoo) has a virus scanner on it to for uploaded files, so it will serve as an extra measure to ensure no viruses are in these files.

#8 boopme

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Posted 18 September 2009 - 11:01 AM

Hello. I am going with XP here.

OK,first you will need to set the CD player as the first item in the BIOS boot sequence.
Step by step how to configure the computer bios setup to change computer boot sequence to boot from cd rom drive.

The Email process should work. Be sure to scan that mail upon returning.

You can also remove the Hard drive take it to another PC and set it as a Slave. there you can either scan it as the tools should run from the new host machine or get your files off.
How do I get help? Who is helping me?For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear....Become a BleepingComputer fan: Facebook

#9 yaytaco27

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Posted 18 September 2009 - 06:52 PM

Thanks so much, I seriously appreciate all of your help! I wound up going the email route for most of my files. There are 3 that are unfortunately too large to email, and I still can't get the CD writing wizard to acknowledge the CD despite having the computer boot the CD-ROM drive first, so that leaves the slave method for those 3 files...I'm looking further into doing that.

If I have any more issues, I will let you know very soon here. Otherwise, once the reinstalling and everything is finished, I will post that and this topic can be considered officially closed.

#10 Orange Blossom

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Posted 18 September 2009 - 08:48 PM

I wish to clarify that you have in fact decided to reformat and reinstall your OS. If this is the case, I need to delete your HiJack This topic here: http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/258377/major-infection-cant-run-explorerexe-hijackthis-mbam-among-other-programs/

Please let me know as a response to this topic.

Orange Blossom :thumbsup:
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