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Can't unhide Windows files


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#1 36P

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 02:17 PM

After failing to be able to instal a windows update, and following instructions on how to fix that problem, I discovered my Windows directory appears to be empty. I double check that I am showing all files including system files and hidden files yet nothing displays. If I go directly to any other folder located within C:\WINDOWS I am able to view those files, for example, if I type C:\WINDOWS\system32 in the address bar it will open up that folder, and then that particular folder will appear in the explorer tree under C:\Windows, however, no other folders or files will display. If I go Up a level, I'm back to a folder that looks empty. I tried seeing what I could view through command prompt, even safe-mode command prompt, but no luck.

System Info:
Windows XP Media Center Edition Service Version 2002 Pack 3. It is a Toshiba laptop.

What I have tried so far that I can remember:
Scan with symantec endpoint protection version 11 - nothing found
I ran SmadAV 2011 - found a few registry errors, hidden items and one trojan, I don't recall what they all were, after fixing, re-ran and no items detected
I ran SUPERAntiSpyware prior to discovering this current problem, it picked up a couple of trojans but cleaned them.
I tried the Unhide.exe - no luck
I tried changing some registry settings that were recommended elsewhere, that didn't fix anything.
I tried to restore all security settings, that didn't seem to change anything.
I still cannot apply the update (KB2620712 Setup Error - The directory or file cannot be created)

There doesn't seem to be anything wrong with the system at all, all the standard malware scanners don't seem to find anything, but I know something is messed up, but I can't seem to find anyone with the same problem. I'm sure I am missing something here, I wasn't expecting it to take this long, normally I can figure things out on my own through searching, but I'm not having as much luck this time. Sorry I don't have more specifics on what I found so far, I wasn't expecting I'd need to ask for help or that this was going to end up being such a task. I hope someone can help me out, I'm willing to start at square 1 if needed.

thanks

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#2 boopme

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 11:14 AM

Hello lets first see what this gets back.

This infection family will also hide all the files on your computer from being seen. To make your files visible again, please download the following program to your desktop:

Unhide.exe

Once the program has been downloaded, double-click on the Unhide.exe icon on your desktop and allow the program to run. This program will remove the +H, or hidden, attribute from all the files on your hard drives. If there are any files that were purposely hidden by you, you will need to hide them again after this tool is run.
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#3 36P

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 11:55 AM

OK.. I ran unhide.exe and I am still unable to view any files located in C:\WINDOWS
Show hidden files and folders is selected under Folder Options - View and Hide protected operating system files is unchecked.

#4 boopme

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 03:30 PM

Windows XP Pro 32-bit US English
Click on this and click run.
http://download.bleepingcomputer.com/grinler/fakehdd/winxp-pro-32bit-sm-reset.exe
How do I get help? Who is helping me?For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear....Become a BleepingComputer fan: Facebook

#5 36P

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 05:24 PM

OK... I tried that, and still no luck. Any other suggestions? Thanks

#6 boopme

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 08:52 PM

Let's go a bit further than you did in post 3.
In control panel.. click folder options
In folder options click the view tab.
In the view tab under "Hidden files and folders" click show hidden files.
Scroll down and un-tick Hide extensions for known file types and Hide protected operating system files(Recommended).
Click Apply and OK.
Can you see them now?
How do I get help? Who is helping me?For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear....Become a BleepingComputer fan: Facebook

#7 36P

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 09:16 PM

Sorry, I should have included that in my post as well, I had those un-checked too and unable to view anything. I also ran both of those programs you suggested in safe mode as well, and looked to see if I could view those files in safe mode. No Luck... I ran malware bytes again when I was in safe mode too and nothing is found.

#8 boopme

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 10:56 PM

Well I don't think it's malware but let's try this,if no joy then I think you will have to repost your question in XP.


Please run SFC (System File Checker)
Please run System File Checker sfc /scannow... For more information on this tool see How To Use Sfc.exe To Repair System Files

NOTE for Vista/WIN 7 users..The command needs to be run from an Elevated Command Prompt.Click Start, type cmd into the Start/Search box,
right-click cmd.exe in the list above and select 'Run as Administrator'


You will need your operating system CD handy.

Open Windows Task Manager....by pressing CTRL+SHIFT+ESC

Then click File.. then New Task(Run)

In the box that opens type sfc /scannow ......There is a space between c and /

Click OK
Let it run and insert the CD when asked.
How do I get help? Who is helping me?For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear....Become a BleepingComputer fan: Facebook

#9 36P

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 02:25 PM

Thanks for your help. I tried running SFC, it would get about 99% complete and then ask for Windows XP Professional CD2. I don't have a CD2. I attempted every trick in the book I could find with moving the i386 folder to the root directory, modifying registry, etc, but was still unable to get it to fully complete, so not sure if this would have fixed my issue or not. I can re-post my question in the XP thread.

#10 boopme

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 04:32 PM

Check it out after a reboot. If no joy ask up top. I think they can find you a file if needed.
How do I get help? Who is helping me?For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear....Become a BleepingComputer fan: Facebook




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