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All Browsers unstable and sometimes system crashes

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#1 arm0339


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Posted 21 February 2011 - 02:04 PM

Running XP Pro 3sp -- last week constant crashes caused me to buy a MS Tech session. I was trying to avoid a complete reinstall of my OS. At least 8 hours over two days with two different techs and the machine seemed "fixed". The main thing finally done by the 2nd tech was running ComboFix after which things looked much better. The tech session ended and although I have emailed for additional support I have not had a reply.

Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome all crash on a fairly frequent basis (like at least once every 20 minutes). All programs running on the machine as opposed to the browsers seem solid..photoshop, illustrator, MS Office, etc. So far the only problems continue to be in the browsers.

IE won't run and install Flash when I browse to a Flash site. IE is more stable than other browsers but no Flash objects run on the internet If I uninstall Flash I think IE is even more stable but I am not sure....at one point I thought I had uninstalled Flash and IE crashed taking the whole computer with it....not sure. In any event IE will not reinstall or register Flash on a Flash web page..just give me an error.

Firefox and Chrome are more stable if Flash plugins are disabled. When the plugin is enabled I get error message that Flash Plug In has crashed. Sometimes thats all...sometimes the browser then goes down....occassionally the machine reboots.

Rkill reports no running malware. Malwarebytes reports no malware. ComboFix executes without reporting any fixes.

Uninstalling and reinstalling Flash doesn't seem to help....or hurt...

I don't think there are any virus or other malware problems still running but I guess I can't be sure.

What can I do to get back to stable browsing on the internet? Anyone have an idea? Probably a system file is corrupted and needs to be replaced but I don't know which one or how to do it.

Thanks for any help.

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#2 hamluis



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Posted 21 February 2011 - 03:03 PM

First thing I would do...is disable all browser add-ons.

Then...I would go to the appropriate website for installing Flash Player...and install the latesst version.

I would alos take a look in Event Viewer...to see if the errors reflected there can point the way to suspects.

Funny...you don't mention at all running your installed AV program.

Rkill doesn't remove malware...ComboFix is a specialized tool for dealing with malware and is not guaranteed to reflect a clean system (the BC Malware Removal Team does not use ComboFix as one of its tools)...and Malwarebytes is an application devoted to removing various forms of malware. None of these programs is perfect with regard to removing malware...that's why the MRT here uses a variety of tools to try to assist.

Neither of these programs should be relied upon to do the work of an AV program, xine their purposes are totally different. Removal is not the same as prevention/protection, IMO.

In short, I would not rule out the fact that your system is infected. But I would try the suggestions made above before moving to that possibility.


Edited by hamluis, 21 February 2011 - 03:05 PM.

#3 Sector17


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Posted 22 February 2011 - 10:20 AM

I am sure you are frustrated, but I would recommend you go in another direction. For the price of that MS tech session and the time invested, you could have purchased an external USB hard drive, backed up your stuff, done a clean install of Windows, restored everything, and you'd be back in business. Further, you would KNOW that your system is clean.

I always make a concerted effort to clean a machine, but if I ever get to the two hour mark and there is not a pretty obvious light at the end of the tunnel, it's time to cut losses and just re-do the machine. There is nothing more frustrating than spending eight hours cleaning a machine, and still not have it fixed.

Backup, Format, Reinstall, Restore - you'll be happy you did.

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