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Since installing IE8, random images and programs have been uninstalling from my computer


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#1 bm1984

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Posted 30 December 2009 - 02:00 AM

Hello, I came across this forum via searching for fixes to this on Google, but could not find anything. Here is my problem:

A month ago I decided to finally upgrade Internet Explorer from 7 to 8 via the Windows Update utility. After doing so, my AOL Instant Messager (5.2, an old version) was automatically uninstalled and all related files except the intial setup file were deleted. I thought, no big deal, and reinstalled it since I still had the setup file. However, after every restart which was required from another Windows update, it would remove AIM 5.2 again, prompting me to reinstall it again. I also use the Aimutation addon for it. So, last time I decided to install it in the "C:\Program Files" folder rather than this custom folder "C:\AOL Tools" which I had it installed in previously. Since then, it has not been automatically uninstalled so it seems fixed.

However, also in the C:\AOL Tools folder I had various images, conversation logs, and saved buddy list settings stored. With each restart after an update, random images and files in the folder and its subfolders are deleted. All of the logs have been deleted. It seems like the oldest images are the only ones that have not been deleted yet.

Fortuntately I have and always had everything backed up on an external hard drive. However, it has become an annoynce that image and other files in this AOL Tools folder keep getting deleted. So, I've decided to move every file that was previously in that folder (all images and video files) out of the folder and into other folders.

However, now I fear that this potential virus will start attacking other folders such as my music or gaming data. Has anyone heard anything about a virus like this or a problem with IE 8 and/or Windows Update uninstalling/removing random files on one's computer?

Some other info:
- I live by myself and am the only user of my computer. So, it's not the result of anyone else messing with it. It's a Dell XPS and has Windows XP Media Edition.
- I've run full scans with Spybot Search & Destroy, Symantec Anti-Virus, and Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool and nothing was detected.

Hope someone can help!

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#2 hamluis

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Posted 30 December 2009 - 10:53 AM

If the AOL program is the only one affected...I would uninstall it and reinstall. It would seem to be damaged.

Older versions of programs such as you mention...tend to evolve because of noted vulnerabilities in the older versions. You might check the AOL website for more info on such.

Louis

#3 bm1984

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 12:49 AM

I've figured out what is happening, but still no solution to it. I seem to have contracted a virus that is deleting files/folder in alphabetical order in Windows Explorer after completely shutting down and turning on the computer. It deletes around 100 files or so each boot.

Hypothetical Example:
C:\ folders..

AOL [105 files]
Backgrounds [180 files]
dell [etc...]
Program Files
Windows

so... it deletes around 100 files from the AOL folder after the first boot. Then, it'll delete the remaining 5 and another 95 from the Backgrounds folder on the next boot. Etc...

I've been digging around on the Internet for hours and can't seem to find anything similar! I don't want it to get down into my Program Files and such folders...I'm scared to turn off my computer now.

Anyone know what this is?

I've done scans with Spybot, CheckDisk, Symantec, Windows Malicious Software Removal, reviewed the startup programs, and more.

It deletes the files on the initial loading of the Windows login screen because there is a long black-screen irregular pause between the DOS boot text and the Windows login screen where the hard drive is spinning.

#4 bm1984

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 01:57 AM

**PROBLEM SOLVED*** This is a must read for anyone upgrading from IE7 to IE8!!!

Alright, so after spending hours digging around to see which programs I had installed around the same time as IE8 (thinking surely it couldn't be Microsoft software deleting my files) I found out what it was...

THE ASK & RECORD TOOLBAR --- DO NOT INSTALL THIS UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, IT IS VERY BUGGY AND WILL DELETE RANDOM FILES ON YOUR COMPUTER (depending on what folder you have it set to store the saved YouTube videos in ;-P ).

While the Ask & Record Toolbar was compatible with IE7, with IE8, the settings get corrupt and it begins treating your C:\ as your Ask & Record storage folder. Thus, if you have specified in the Ask & Record Toolbar settings that you want a max of 40mb stored at a time, it will delete 40mb of data on your C:\ starting with files/folders beginning with the letter A. Thus, it was deleting my pictures, logs, and AIM since they were in the C:\AOL Tools folder. Technically, you could consider this addon a virus.

After hours of searching online I came across a blog where someone had a similar experience... only it was deleting his boot.ini file. :-O

Thankfully I had that AOL Tools folder there! Or my comp. would have gone to sh*t.

Another thing about it is that even if it is DISABLED (which mine was... I nearly forgot I had it), it will still do this to your computer if you have IE8 installed because it runs in the background!

Bottom line:
- The Ask & Record toolbar does not work as intended with IE8.
- The Ask & Record toolbar is crap anyway... find another way to save YouTube vids and rip audio.
- Uninstall the Ask & Record toolbar, even if you have IE7. No telling what other surprises it has in store.

Fortunately the toolbar is easy to uninstall. Go to Start --> Settings --> Control Panel --> Add & Remove Programs and remove both the Ask Toolbar AND the Ask & Record Toolbar

Phew. Hope this post saves someone else from all the turmoil. If you have this application, check your root C:\ folder immediately!

#5 Stang777

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 02:16 AM

Thanks for sharing that info

#6 hamluis

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 08:00 AM

The Ask toolbar, IMO...has been considered a nuisance item (like so many toolbars are) for some time now.

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&rls...bar&aqi=g10

Even though it is installed (legally) when users install various programs (without doing a custom install to see what is really being installed on the system), it (historically) has been known to cause problems.

Louis




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