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User folders have become hidden

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#1 GMan10


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Posted 27 September 2010 - 05:02 AM

I am using XP with SP3.

On September 14th I suffered a malware problem.
Gringo from the Malware Forum gave me some excellent support to work through the problems.

I have cautiously started using the machine again over the weekend.
No problems at all aside from the Phising filter slowing things down so much that I switched off auto website checking.

Today I went looking for My Recent Documents and noticed that the folder with my user name was not visible.
This was strange because I could still see everything under My Documents with Windows Explorer

I went to C:\Documents and Settings and told it to show hidden folders.
It turns out the folder with my name and Default User are both hidden.

If I look inside the folder with my name I see that folders including Application Data, Local Settings
and My Recent Documents and a few others are also hidden.

One of the infections was to the explorer.exe file.
It kept asking for Internet Access which Zone Alarm spotted and I kept denying.
Gringo guided me through using ComboFix to kill the bad file and restore a healthy version.

I hope there is a simple explanation as to what has happened.
At the moment I don't know if I should shut down or keep the machine on.
I need advice.

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#2 Gabrial


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Posted 27 September 2010 - 10:50 AM

If I understand you're issue, you are concerned because you can see files and folders you haven't seen before.

Many of the files and folders in your user profile folder and around your computer are hidden for a pretty good reason. To keep users who really don't know what they are doing from accessing them and modifying files and messing up their programs or program data.

If you'd like to not see these folders any more you can turn off the display of hidden files and folders by doing the following:

1. Press Alt-T in the Windows Explorer window (not internet explorer), then clicking "Folder Options".
2. Click the "View" tab.
3. Under "Hidden files and folders" click "Do not show hidden files and folders".
4. While you're in here you can turn on the hiding of file extentions and protected operating system files as well if you like.
5. Click "OK".

Now you can sleep content that your computer won't show you it's internal workings. :thumbsup:

Hope this helps.

#3 GMan10

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Posted 27 September 2010 - 04:11 PM

No that is not my worry but thank you for replying.
I understand that lots of folders are hidden and I had to "show hidden" to be able to see my folder.

If I go to C:\Documents and Settings now both the folder with my name and the default user folder are greyed out.

I can still see My Documents as normal in the Windows Explorer.
When I went to my C: drive and to Documents and Settings I saw the list of folders with each user name was shorter.
I was trying to navigate down to My Recent Documents when I saw the problem.

Something has happened to make my folder hidden and I am worried that my machine may still have malware at work on it.

#4 Gabrial


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Posted 27 September 2010 - 08:00 PM

You can always start a post in Am I Infected? with your suspicions. In the mean time, weither a folder is hidden or not is purely cosmetic. The computer knows its there. You can unhide any folder or file by right clicking on the file and clicking properties, then unchecking the hidden box at the bottom.

It doesnt effect anything in the operation of the system when a file is hidden, it just hides it from you in explorer and command prompt when listing directories, unless you tell it not to.

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