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some exe files won't open in Win7 x64


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#1 El Jedo

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 01:17 PM

hi there,
I have a strange one that I haven't come across yet. A computer with Windows 7 Home Premium x64 started having a problem yesterday with exe files (I think). Most (but not all) exe files won't open.

Example - when I try to open Firefox, either from the desktop shortcut, or from the exe located in Program Files (x86) \ Mozilla folder, the following message appears: "Windows cannot access the specified device, path, or file. You may not have the appropriate permissions to access the item."

also, the icons for the files I can't open have been set to generic icons. I've checked/changed permissions and taken ownership, in case that helped, but it didn't change anything, the weirdest things are:

1. Some exe files and programs will open - for example, mahjongg won't open, but spider solitaire will. in the case where the program will open, the icon is in tact.

2. everything works perfectly fine in Safe Mode with networking - i can open firefox, surf the web, download files, everything I should be able to do.

What I've done so far -
--> downloaded, updated and ran Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, found a few infections (although I think nothing major)
--> disabled all startup items and (non-microsoft) services
--> i tried to run hijack this, but when i tried to install it to "C:", it gave me the error that it must be installed on a local volume
--> i did head into the registry and check the exefile and it was set properly under HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT

I don't think its a virus issue, but I'm totally stumped on this one, anyone have any ideas? I don't want to reformat if I can help it.

Thanks in Advance,
Chris

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#2 cryptodan

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 03:16 PM

A virus could cause these symptoms.

#3 El Jedo

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 03:21 PM

cryptodan, I'm fully aware that it could be the case, but if I've run MBAM and cleaned out anything that may be in there, can't run HJT, and Combofix doesn't run on Win7 64 bit, virus or not, I need a solution.

I deal with viruses on a daily basis, but have yet to see anything that doesn't have any effect in Safe mode but basically cripples the computer in normal startup mode.

Usually if there is a virus, its pretty obvious by checking Malwarebytes logs, even if it doesn't remove them, I can see something is there, but it looks pretty standard to me.

do you have any suggestions?

#4 cryptodan

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 03:28 PM

You do realize that some very malicious viruses can disable detection methods from security scanning programs. I have seen this first hand with a few root kits I have had to remove.

#5 El Jedo

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 03:32 PM

of course i realize that some are not standardly detectable, but in most cases, there is some indication of symptoms, but in this case, it is only some of the programs that won't open, there are no other symptoms. anyway, I'm not here to argue whether there is or is not a virus, I'm just wondering if there are any solutions that will prevent me from having to reformat and reinstall Windows on my client's computer, a fix would be a lot less hassle. If it is a rootkit, I could see the merits of reformatting, but in my experience with rootkits, they've always been detectable (at least in some manner), and this is not like anything else i've come across.

#6 Broni

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 03:34 PM

but have yet to see anything that doesn't have any effect in Safe mode but basically cripples the computer in normal startup mode

It's actually very typical for many infections.
MBAM is not "solve-it-all" tool, no matter how good it is.

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#7 El Jedo

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 03:39 PM

yep, i agree Broni, I never only rely on MBAM, but this one just seemed different. Perhaps because its on Windows 7 and there isn't the same malware solving experience available yet. Any suggestions for anything that could give me more evidence of malware/rootkit, or do you think at this point a reformat should be the course of action?

#8 cryptodan

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 03:42 PM

Can you post a DIR listing of your C drive and any other drives on your computer?

#9 Broni

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 03:45 PM

Most likely, conventional tools used in "Am I Infected?" forum won't detect more than MBAM did, so I suggest, you read here: http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/34773/preparation-guide-for-use-before-using-malware-removal-tools-and-requesting-help/ and you start a new topic in malware forum: http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/f/22/virus-trojan-spyware-and-malware-removal-logs/

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