My mom's PC (an HP) will start up, but then nearly every program (REVO Uninstaller being the only exception) I open freezes and will not close. If I try to close the programs with the Task Manager, the Task Manager also freezes up and will not close, even if I open another Task Manager window. I tried several times to restart or to shut down through the Start menu and the Task Manager, but both methods failed to restart or shut down Windows. After waiting for up to five minutes following various attempts, I gave up and pressed the power button on the PC tower, only to repeat the same steps with the same results after powering up again. My mom tells me that the PC sometimes allows her to perform tasks, although slowly, but then other times it behaves as I have described here. She also tells me that she downloads several attachments from chain emails every day, so I told her (again) to stop downloading and opening attachments.
My first suspicion is that Google Chrome, which I downloaded and installed the day before this trouble started, is destabilizing Windows XP and causing everything to crash (even though everything worked fine immediately after I installed Chrome). I had a similar problem, although slightly different symptoms, when I accidentally installed a beta version of Chrome on my own (Dell) PC last year.
After one of the hard boots of the HP machine, I immediately ran Revo Uninstaller to remove Chrome. Revo seemed to be running Chrome's uninstaller, but then just sat there with the progress bar stuck at the same spot (and the CPU apparently not being used) for 10+ minutes when I finally gave up. Interestingly, Revo never became unresponsive, but it would not progress beyond starting up Chrome's uninstaller.
I suppose it's possible that Revo deleted something from the registry that it shouldn't have when I was removing other programs the week before the current problem started, but the trouble didn't start until almost a week after I used Revo. I haven't tried a system restore because I wanted to get advice here first. I'm also not sure I could get the system restore utility to work for more than a minute after Windows finishes loading.
If Chrome and registry errors aren't the cause, then I have to suspect an infection that either got in very recently or somehow eluded the following scans a few weeks before this problem started: MBAM, SUPERAntiSpyware, Norton IS 2011, IObit 360, avast boot-time scan, Spybot S&D, CWShredder, Comodo online scanner, BitDefender online scanner, ESET online scanner, Emsisoft Emergency Kit, and Emsisoft Anti-Dialer. About the only thing I didn't do was scan for rootkits (except whatever avast now includes in its scans) because I lack the expertise to interpret the results.
HP Pavilion a1400y (Celeron D processor, 2.99 GHz, 1 GB RAM)
Windows XP SP3
Google Chrome v 10.0.648.151 with AdBlock for Chrome add-on (I downloaded both from links on CNET pages)
avast! Free Antivirus v 6.0.1000
IObit Security 360 v 1.60 (with both Standard and Advanced real-time protection enabled)
Thank you for any help you can provide.
Edited by lestatpdh, 21 March 2011 - 09:46 PM.