I'm new and this is my first post, and I was hoping you guys could help me out real fast with some issues I've been having with my computer.
I'm moderately tech-savvy, and when I don't know what I'm doing I have enough common sense and resourceful enough to figure it out. However, step by step instructions are always preferred! :D
I'm running windows 7 32 bit (legit copy, however- I borrowed a w7 disc from my friend and no longer have a windows 7 disc readily available
NOTE: Are you a TL;DR type of person? A bullet point summary is at the bottom of my story, to save time
So, here's the deal.
When I try to launch taskmanager, it's telling me that taskmgr is not a valid win32 file.
This problem occurred like so.
My friend was over and wanted to play Skyrim.
I loaded up steam, and tried to play it. However, it told me that skyrim was currently unavailable, and I had to try again later. Something was amiss, since I knew it was, and I googled how to fix it. It turns out that scanning and updating the game files revealed that I was missing one, and upon replacing it, the skyrim launcher worked once more! So I launched the launcher, and hit "play". Nothing happened. I tried again. Nothing happened. I then realized that I had downgraded my nvidea drivers so I could play Dragon Age: Origins. I updated my video drivers from nvidea and then launched the game a 2nd time. Once more, nothing happened. I guessed that the process had simply gotten stuck or was in a loop somewhere, so I hit Ctrl+Alt+dlt to open task manager. Once again, nothing happened. My computer didn't freeze, a error message did not pop up, simply nothing happened.
I right clicked the task bar to open task manager THAT way, and then I finally got the error message that my taskmanager wasn't a valid win32 program.
This is the first time this has ever happened to me, and I didn't know how to handle it.
I restarted my computer, and ran Windows Defender, and got nothing.
I'm a torrenter, but I'm a smart one. I've gotten virus' before and I've learned some tricks for safe navigation of the interwebs, and It's worked for me- well. The only thing I've recently torrented was Sid Miers Pirates!, but it was a clean install and nothing noteworthy happened.
A while ago, however, I went into my startup screen and accidently closed a lot of SERVICES from starting at boot, (instead of startup programs). This was a while ago, and purely accidental. I realized my mistake when I tried to open steam and it told me It wasn't working at all, once I restarted the steam service it started working just fine.
(Slightly unrelated: I did the same thing for itunes and ever since it's been telling me itunes installed incorrectly. Do I just need to re-install it to fix?)
I figured I might've messed with a service a while ago and it finally came back to bite me in the ass. I couldn't remember which services were originally enabled/disabled, so I just figured I would do a system restore to a couple days back, and it'd all be fine.
Here's another problem.
System restore wouldn't launch (I forgot the error message) and it was being stupid and unhelpful.
I don't remember what happened next, but I got the system restore program up and running, only to discover that my computer had NO restore points. None. Meaning I couldn't restore to a previous time! I know for a fact it automatically made restore points every tuesday at like, 2 am, (Or something like that, I never really messed with it or needed to use its services)
So I can't restore to a previous point, or use task manager.
However, I don't have a virus, I don't think I have malware (My computer hasn't exactly done anything- if It has, I'm not aware of it. Other programs are running normally. I guess the only thing that was worth noting was that my hotmail account was blocked for 'sending a bunch of spam mail out', but this has happened before... I don't think its connected, but it's worth mentioning I guess)
Also: I went into the system32 file and manually looked for the taskmanager.exe file. It was there, and launching it gave me the same error. I THINK some other programs are giving me the same error, but I can't think of any and it might just be one or two.
Also! I can't use any of my usb ports for flash drive use. Meaning, I plug in a flash drive, and my computer makes the "de-dum" sound saying it recognizes new hardware, but it doesn't prompt me with a "reading new hardware" bubble, or showing any new storage in the control panel. I tried two usb flashdrives, both in the front and back of the computer. Nothing happens once I plug it in. One flash drive has a light that turns on when it's plugged in, it lights up (and the computer makes a recognition sound when its plugged in) but absolutely nothing happens. Plugging in other hardware, like my mouse or keyboard, are correctly and promptly recognized and work just fine when i plug them in)
I can access regedit, msconfig, control panel. My computer isn't forbidding me from accessing anything on it (yet?)
I want to restore use of task manager!
BULLET POINT SUMMARY OF THE BEFORE-MENTIONED WALL OF TEXT
-!> Taskmgr will not start because it is not a valid win32 application. (This is the problem.)
-> I have searched for fixes for this problem, but this problem is usually paired with the victim being afflicted with a virus of some kind. I don't believe I have one, so it's why I'm making a new post.
-> I don't have the disc, but I do have a valid w7 32 bit copy
-> I've recently downloaded a torrent, but I am 98% sure it was a clean file. (2% margin of error, with everything that comes from the internet)
-> I downloaded a single file from steam (directly before the error first appeared)
-> The taskmanager.exe file is in (95% sure- system32 folder) the right place.
-> I can access regedit and msconfig, and I still have administrative control. Nothing appears to be forbidden/changed.
-> Attempting to launch Task Manager from the Ctrl-Alt-Delete page makes absolutely nothing happen. (No dip in performance, or error window, etc)
-> Attempting to launch Skyrim has the same result. (No dip in performance, no error prompt...The Skyrim Launcher will open but the game will not start at all)
-> I did a windows defender scan, got nothing
-> My system restore points were wiped, and I had some trouble getting it to open/run.
-> In order to play Dragon Age:Origins, I had uninstalled my nvidea graphics drivers to install an older version. When skyrim wouldn't launch, I installed the newer ones, but nothing happened.
-> A while ago (2+ weeks) I accidently stopped some startup services from starting. This has caused me some issues as of late, but nothing like this.
-> (Possibly unrelated) My hotmail account (not my gmail, which I use everyday!) was flagged and blocked for spamming
-> My usb ports will not recognize flash drives at all- the computer makes a noise when I plug them in, but no prompt/recognition of the new storage space is confirmed.
WHAT I'D LIKE TO KNOW.
How can I get use of my Task Manager back?
Unrelated: I want to upgrade to 64 bit, but I don't want to lose any of my data or stuff that I have. Should I just copy+paste my files to my extra hard drive, unplug that hard drive, then update my main drive to 64 bit (which I assume wipes your data, right?) and then re-plug my harddrive in and move stuff back?
Optional, but I'll love you forever: How can I fix my usb ports not recognizing my flash drives?
Optional, but I'll love you forever: How do I get skyrim running once more? (Other games work just fine)
Thank you for your help!
EDIT: Cleaned up the wall of text a bit, clarified some of the bullet points, cleaned up some of the presentation, added some bold and stuff to make some points clearer/easier to read, added in some misc info, spelling mistakes
Edited by ewdude1, 03 December 2011 - 11:46 PM.