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XP Home- Computer only works properly in Safe Mode


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#1 brijamgel

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Posted 07 April 2010 - 10:53 PM

Hello all, and thanks in advance to anyone that would be willing to give their precious time to help a stranger with a computer problem.

The issue: my desktop computer only functions normally in Safe Mode.

The system: Dell Dimension 4600, Windows XP Home Edition, Service Pack 3, Build 2600.xpsp.080413-2111

The symptoms: In normal startup mode, Windows loads VERY slowly. The desktop icons, start menu, and taskbar all load VERY slowly (several minutes). They often freeze and sometimes disappear altogether. In trying to initially determine if there is Malware, I am unable to install SuperSpyware (Error: The system administrator has set policies to prevent this installation). I am the only user of this computer and am an Administrator. In looking at the Event Viewer, there are numerous System and Application errors, especially 10010 and 10005 (DCOM), 7026 (Service Control Manager), 4 (sptd), 20 (Windows Update Agent). In addition, the the Device Manager indicates a problem with the Audio Device (onboard, SoundMAX Integrated Digital Audio). It asks me to reinstall the driver, but does not automatically find it, and I do not have the disc and am unable to find it online. Using Safe Mode with Networking, the system seems to work fine. In Normal mode, overall performance is so spotty that it is terribly difficult and time-consuming to do much of anything.

Origin: These issues began about 2 weeks ago, when I began having problems scanning/printing with my HP Officejet 6110 AIO. I was advised to uninstall the HP software, then uninstall Windows Service Packs 2 and 3, reinstall the HP software, then to reinstall Service Packs 2, and 3, as well as all other available Windows updates. Since uninstalling Service Packs 2 and 3, my system has not been stable. Unfortunately, I did not have a good sytem restore point available, so I have been left trying to work my way through issues one at a time by using MS Knowledge Base articles and various forums. I have finally reached the conclusion that the problems are too numerous and beyond my level of understanding. I am not sure whether the root cause of my issues is Hardware, Software, or if they are Malware-related. As far as I can tell, the system is not using excessive processor resources or memory. From my research, there seem to be many other people that have experienced some, several of these issues.

If anyone has any ideas or instructions for a methodolgical approach to returning the computer to normal operation, any assistance would be greatly appreciated. I am sure that I may have omitted some information that might help during the diagnostic phase. If so, please let me know what else I can provide that would be helpful. Many thanks again for taking the time to have a look!

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#2 noknojon

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 01:22 AM

Hi -
What Antivirus programs are you running and is/was it set to scan at a certain time - Your first defense is your A/V program -
In safe mode with networking try to download SUPERAntiSpyware or Malwarebytes - Update either program you can get (this can be done while still in safe mode) - Scan in safe mode (not a usual step but it may be required in your case) -
Leave the printer uninstalled for now and see if you can get any form of scan - It sounds infection or printer related -

Thank You - :thumbsup:

#3 Baltboy

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 07:15 AM

I have had limited success uninstalling service packs in the past. For the most part it seems to cause more problems than it fixes. Many of the programs, drivers, windows parts rely on the specific versions of the files to function properly.

However, since it appears that windows is working well in safe mode at least the core windows files are still intact. Safe mode only loads bare minimum windows files and drivers for the computer to function.

Assuming you have your windows media I would create a slipstreamed installation CD with SP 3 using a program like Nlite. Then do a repair install in order to straighten out any problems with the windows files you may have. If you continue to have issues in the standard mode check back in.
Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.
Mark Twain

#4 hamluis

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 07:50 AM

<<The system administrator has set policies to prevent this installation). I am the only user of this computer and am an Administrator.>>

This doesn't make sense to me...admin privileges are admin privileges.

Louis

#5 cryptodan

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 12:39 PM

Sounds like a malware infection.

#6 brijamgel

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Posted 10 April 2010 - 06:25 PM

Hello,

Thanks for all of the responses, and sorry for the delay on my end in providing an update.

Noknojon- On this machine I previously used AVG Free, but had uninstalled it awhile back because it seemed to use too many system resources. Currently, there is no AV software running (I know, I am ashamed to admit this!) I was not able to install SUPERAntiSpyWare or Malwarebytes in Safe Mode due to the Administrator error that I mentioned in the original post, but I was finally able to install and run them in Normal Mode. It just took a painfully long time, due to the freezes/hangs that happen every minute or so. The slowdowns seem to correspond with the Event Viewer errors. The HP AIO printer is installed, but not connected or turned on. Should I uninstall the software at this point?

Baltboy- I do have my original XP Home CD, but it only contains Service Pack 1a. I have never created or used a Slipstream installation disc, so I will research Nlite to see how to go about doing that, and will report my results. It seems that many others would agree with your experience with regard to uninstalling Service Packs. Prior to doing that, I had a printer-related issue on my hands. Since then, I am trying to overcome total system instability. In retrospect, uninstalling the Service Packs seems to be a huge mistake.

Hamulis- I agree- since I am the only user and Administrator, this doesn't make any sense at all to me. Since my original post, I have had one person tell me that my symptoms are possibly indicative of a corrupted profile. If that is a potential cause, I am not sure how to determine that with certainty, or what exactly to do under those circumstances. By the way, I am located in Dallas, and drive through Killeen periodically on the way to Austin and San Antonio. My wife almost got a job working in Temple for Scott & White.

Cryptodan- Thanks, I am still not sure whether this issue is related to hardware, software, or malware (or a combination). Though the SUPERAntiSpyware and Malwarebytes scans came back OK, I am not convinced that Malware can be officially ruled out.

Thanks to all- if anyone has any other ideas, I am open to learning and trying other solutions. In the meanwhile, I will try the slipstream XP installation.

#7 hamluis

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Posted 10 April 2010 - 06:35 PM

FWIW: Generally, a damaged profile will often provide clues for a given user on a system...he/she will have problems that other users don't have. Notable (IMO) among these will be an inability to login normally or notification by Windows that it is using a temporary profile to log user in.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/555473

How To Identify Damaged User Profile

Louis

It won't hurt anything to run BlueScreenView - http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/blue_screen_view.html.

download/install BlueScreenView - http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/blue_screen_view.html and get an idea of what the system sees as problematical.

Double-click BlueScreenView.exe file to run the program.

When scanning is done, Edit/Select All...then File/Save Selected Items. Save the report as BSOD.txt.

Open BSOD.txt in Notepad, copy all content, and paste it into your next reply.

Edited by hamluis, 10 April 2010 - 06:39 PM.


#8 hamluis

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Posted 10 April 2010 - 06:42 PM

Forgot...Slipstreaming Windows XP To Create a Bootable Windows XP CD or DVD - http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutorials/slipstreaming-windows-xp-to-create-bootable-cd/.

Louis




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