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Norton Install Failure


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#1 boethe

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Posted 19 July 2010 - 07:01 PM

My father who uses Comcast cable tried to install Norton since Comcast switched their free anti-virus contract from McAfee to Norton. I wish I could have warned him before he tried but now it has been done and after a restart during the installation he can't get back to a working explorer.

Here are the details. It is a Compaq nx9600 laptop. It is running XP professional with SR 3. I don't know if it was clean of viruses before failure but he did not have any particular symptoms. His McAfee contract ended and he was trying to intall Norton which was provided by Comcast.

When you start the computer it goes through boot up and end up with his desktop picture showing and the mouse icon is showing and responds to the mouse but there is no explorer, no start bar and no desktop icons. I can get to a safe mode screen by hitting F8 during start up and I can select safe mode. In safe mode I get to a black screen with safe mode printed in the four corners and mouse works but again there is no explorer.

There are a number of options in the safe mode selection screen. Here they are:
Safe Mode
Safe Mode with Networking
Safe Mode with Command Prompt

Enable Book Logging
Enable VGA Mode
Last Known Good Configuration (your most recent settings that worked)
Directory Services Restore Model (Windows domain controllers only)
Debugging Mode
Disable automatic restart on system failure

Start Windows Normally
Reboot
Return to OS Choices Menu



We do not have a XP disk available. I don't know if he ever had. He bought the laptop new a few years ago with XP installed.

Please advise on possible steps to try to recover for him. Thank you for considering our issue.

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#2 Broni

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Posted 19 July 2010 - 09:13 PM

While at desktop, normal, or safe mode, can you invoke Task Manager by pressing CTRL+AL+DEL keys?

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#3 boethe

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 08:12 AM

While at the desktop in both normal and safe mode I can get to the task manager by pressing ALT-CTRL-DEL.

#4 Queen-Evie

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 03:40 PM

Have you solved this issue and gotten your dad's computer working?

#5 boethe

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 04:08 PM

No the issue is still open. No additional information past I can get into normal and safe mode and can get the task manager to come up but there is no explorer, so there is no start bar or icons.

I did look into the status of the operating system license. It is a HP laptop he bought new. It has the microsoft sticker on the bottom with a serial number for the operating system and the authentic license information. I doubt he received and am sure he does not have an XP disk. The line of thought is that if his operating system install is corrupted I am not sure how to repair it. Given that he was simply installing Norton Anti-virus when it stopped working I am not sure how it could get very corrupted.

#6 Broni

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 07:27 PM

I can get to the task manager by pressing ALT-CTRL-DEL

Click "New task" button and type in:
explorer.exe
Click OK.
Is your desktop back?

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#7 Queen-Evie

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 08:58 PM

First, I am assuming your father uninstalled McAfee prior to installing Norton.

I'm also assuming you want to UNINSTALL Norton. Here's how to get to Add Remove so you can uninstall IF doing as Broni suggested does not bring the desktop back.

Open up Task Manager.

Applications tab/New Task

Type control panel, click OK.

Control panel should open, where you can access Add Remove Programs.

Since the Norton offered by Comcast contains a firewall, ENABLE Windows firewall BEFORE you uninstall Norton.

After uninstalling Norton, reboot the computer. See if the issue is resolved.

If it is, you will next need to run the Norton Removal Tool, found HERE

Skip steps 1 and 2, go directly to Step 3. Run the tool, reboot.

He should also run McAfee's removal tool found HERE in Step 2.

After running the McAfee tool, reboot the computer then

Use Windows Explorer (set Windows Explorer to show all hidden files and folders (Tools > Folder Options > View tab) to find and delete all McAfee folders and files in "Program Files"; then in "C:\Document and Settings\<user>\Application Data"; and then in "C:\Document and Settings\All Users\Application Data". Delete the McAfee folders even if they are empty. (credit for this paragraph goes to CWH, Comcast Help Forums Security Expert)

IF the issue is resolved, install your choice of firewall and anti-virus before doing anything else.

If you are unable to get to the removal tools, you can get to them by task manager, new task, and typing in iexplore.exe. Your home page will open, you can get back here to use the links to the tools.


Was there other real-time protection running-it's possible that real-time protection could mess up the Norton install initially.

If you want to post in the Norton Help Forums about the "Free from Comcast Norton Security Suite (CNSS) please use the "Other Norton Products Board" there.

His computer likely has a recovery partition to use instead of disks. To find out, open up My Computer from the desktop.
Under Hard Disk Drives, is there anything besides Drive C listed?

In the event that he does have to reinstall the OS, it would be done using that partition. When the system is booted up, it will tell him which key (F11) to use to start the install process.

I agree with you that the OS probably isn't corrupted.

I mentioned Comcast Help Forums above. If your father isn't aware of the CHF, which is a great resource for Comcast customers, and is interested in checking it out, let me know and I will post how to get there.

Edited by Queen-Evie, 21 July 2010 - 12:07 AM.


#8 boethe

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 08:19 AM

From task manager file menu I can get the run command prompt. In the run command prompt both explorer and control panel lead to similar responses. In both cases a window appears saying it does not know which program to use to run explorer.exe or control.exe. I tried a few things at this prompt which might be helpful to describe to help you understand the system. The is the window which usually appears for unknown file extensions and it gives two choices, one to look on the web for program to open the extension or one to browse for the extension. I tried both. By browsing I could see I could see all the contents of the hard drive and things look ok, everything were I would expect and it does not appear corrupted. By trying to look on the web it trigger a firefox browser to open. This is interesting because it means programs can run; the browser opened and seem to be working fine (of course I was not connected to the internet). I also tried to get a little fancy to see if I could trigger the control panel to work. When it said it could not find a program to run control.exe I tried to select control.exe itself from the hard drive to run it. This caused a new window to come up saying it did not know which program to use to run rundll32.exe. So here I tried to select rundll32.exe itself to run rundll32.exe and it looped back to the same message.

Bottom line it appears to me programs can run as demonstrated by running task manager and firefox but that it has lost the mapping of the exe extension to the right path to run an executable.

Please let me know if you have ideas to try to get it out of this situation.

#9 Queen-Evie

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 09:25 AM

From task manager file menu I can get the run command prompt.


What I suggested does not involve command prompt.

Did you type in control panel to see if you can access it so you can get to Add Remove programs?

The key is to get to Add Remove so you can uninstall Norton and then run the removal tools for Norton and McAfee.

I've given you a method to get to Control Panel (it's worked for me so hopefully it will work for you also).

Edited by Queen-Evie, 21 July 2010 - 09:51 AM.


#10 boethe

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 05:47 PM

I think we are talking about the same thing. In the Task Manager across the top are the choices: File - Options - View - Shut Down - Help. When I select File there are drop down choices: New Task (Run...) - Exit Task Manager. When I select New Task (Run...) I get a window that says: Create New Task with I place to type labeled 'Open:'. This is what I described as a command prompt. I am sorry if I confused the issue by calling this a command prompt but I assumed that this is functionally similar to the command prompt since it is a place to run programs by typing their name.

If this is the same thing as you were referring then you can take my description above of what happens when I try to enter explorer or control panel. If not then please help me correct my mistake.

#11 boethe

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 08:11 PM

I was able to get it fixed. Sort of long solution so will just summarize for now as I need to go to bed.

Got to command prompt. Got to regedit. Figured out online how registry entries for exe and exefile should look. Fixed these. Could now run programs. Got to System Restore utility and found restore point from before Norton installation. Restored.

Now start bar and icons are back and things basically run ok.

Will now go back through and see if he has virus and clear up all the Norton and McAfee stuff. My initial impression is that he has downloaded to malware disguised as anti-virus or anti-adware utility. Looks he clicked on one of those fake popups that say 'you may be infected' because there is a warning popup which comes up saying you need to install some adware program and it looks like a scam.

Thanks for the help. Even though it was not the solution, your suggestion still got me thinking in the right direction which lead to the solution.

#12 Queen-Evie

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 08:26 PM

In the end, what it comes down to, is resolving an issue. I'm glad the wheels were set in motion so you could figure out what to do to get as far as you did.

If you need assistance with possible malware infection(s) you can ask for help in Am I Infected.

BTW, we were on the same page as far as Task Manager. I've never seen it called command prompt before.

#13 boethe

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Posted 22 July 2010 - 05:00 AM

Well the terminology issue sort of started me on the right track. I searched around the internet for ideas and found out that there is a feature on the task manager such that when you click on the new file option like you had suggested with the CTRL key pressed you actually get the DOS window instead of the new task window. So my wording confusion was actually useful in that I figured out how to really get to a command prompt. Once I got to the DOS window it was easier to try things. I don't remember how exactly I got to regedit but I finally did and sure enough the associations in the registry for .exe file extensions were corrupted. I think that anti-virus programs must modify them so that they can trigger to do a virus scan every time a .exe is run. Then with the registry fixed I could run any program I tried but it still did not boot correctly. So I figured out to run the restore program and luckily he had a restore point from June which worked.

#14 Queen-Evie

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Posted 22 July 2010 - 08:24 AM

I'm glad you were able to get to system restore.

That would have been my next suggestion-I was actually doing some research to find out how to get you to system restore since using New Task didn't work for you.

For future reference, you can get to it from Task Manager/New Task by typing in restore and then clicking on the rstrui icon in the file that opens.

Edited by Queen-Evie, 22 July 2010 - 08:26 AM.


#15 boethe

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Posted 22 July 2010 - 10:06 AM

For reference here is the source for .exe file association fixes. I know touching the registry is highly risky but it this case it seems to have been successful.

http://www.dougknox.com/xp/file_assoc.htm

The fact that holding CTRL key will clicking on new task in task manager brings up a DOS window seems to be a little documented feature. I was unable to find any website that directly describes this feature. I did see it on a discussion board yesterday but I did not bookmark the page and can't find it today. I tried and this does also work in Vista.




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