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Control Panel Icons Work Intermittently


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#1 panbox29

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 04:02 PM

Hello, thanks for taking the time to look into this issue.

I have Windows XP Pro Corp, SP-3 and have just re-installed a fresh copy on my Dell Dimension 4500. It is updated up to SP3 and everything appears to be running normally. However, in checking the Control Panel in category view and going into the Performance and Maintenance, then into Administrative Tools, I click on Admin Tools and sometimes the shortcut works, other times not. The start navigation click is heard, but the window does not go into Admin Tools. The same with Scheduled Tasks. I click on it to open it, however the start navigation click is heard but the window does not open Scheduled Tasks. It can work occasionally, but other times it simply sits on the Performance and Maintenance screen. In Classic View it is the same case. All the icons are there, I click on Administrative Tools and sometimes the shortcut works, other times not. The start navigation sound is heard but the option does not execute. If I right click those functions and hit Explore they work every time. I created an administrative tools folder in the start menu and all the shortcuts function normally. No problems. But inside the control panel is entirely different. The left click "open" command is what is at fault I think, being intermittent. The other control panel options all work normally.

I thought at first it may have been another program blocking the access to those shortcuts. I have PC Registry Mechanic 10.0, Glary Utilities, UltraDefragmenter, Defraggler, however I uninstalled them and tried those shortcuts with the same result. Intermittent. Then I suspected malware, so I ran a Malewarebytes scan and came up empty and kept a log. I ran a HiJackThis and created a log as well. I will post both logs (I edited out my name and computer name). The only other action I did on my computer was an AutoPlay fix on my 2 DVD drives and my USB removable drive. I suspect a registry clean may have wiped out something in the control panel, but I am unsure. Below are the logs for Malewarebytes and HiJackThis. I am stumped and I don't want to aimlessly start looking into reg fixes and mess up the registry. This install is barely two weeks old and I don't want to start from scratch again. Any feedback on this would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Mod Edit: HJT log removed, not used in non-mwlware forum, not allowed in this forum, see No DDS, HijackThis, or ComboFix logs should be posted in this forum. - BleepingComputer.com - http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/forum-56/announcement-45-no-dds-hijackthis-or-combofix-logs-should-be-posted-in-this-forum/ ~ Hamluis.

Edited by hamluis, 24 January 2012 - 04:32 PM.


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#2 mark1956

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 06:06 AM

You may have already messed up the registry by using Registry Cleaners, they should never be used and can do more harm than good, don't believe all the hype that the manufacturers try and tell you, they are a waste of money.

One thing that is not quite clear from your opening post is if the shortcuts were working when you first re-installed Windows and have since failed.

Were there any other problems with the performance of the PC that prompted you to re-install Windows?

#3 hamluis

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 07:25 AM

Bleeping Computer DOES NOT recommend the use of registry cleaners/optimizers for several reasons:
  • Registry cleaners are extremely powerful applications that can damage the registry by using aggressive cleaning routines and cause your computer to become unbootable.

    The Windows registry is a central repository (database) for storing configuration data, user settings and machine-dependent settings, and options for the operating system. It contains information and settings for all hardware, software, users, and preferences. Whenever a user makes changes to settings, file associations, system policies, or installed software, the changes are reflected and stored in this repository. The registry is a crucial component because it is where Windows "remembers" all this information, how it works together, how Windows boots the system and what files it uses when it does. The registry is also a vulnerable subsystem, in that relatively small changes done incorrectly can render the system inoperable. For a more detailed explanation, read Understanding The Registry.
  • Not all registry cleaners are created equal. There are a number of them available but they do not all work entirely the same way. Each vendor uses different criteria as to what constitutes a "bad entry". One cleaner may find entries on your system that will not cause problems when removed, another may not find the same entries, and still another may want to remove entries required for a program to work.
  • Not all registry cleaners create a backup of the registry before making changes. If the changes prevent the system from booting up, then there is no backup available to restore it in order to regain functionality. A backup of the registry is essential BEFORE making any changes to the registry.
  • Improperly removing registry entries can hamper malware disinfection and make the removal process more difficult if your computer becomes infected. For example, removing malware related registry entries before the infection is properly identified can contribute to system instability and even make the malware undetectable to removal tools.
  • The usefulness of cleaning the registry is highly overrated and can be dangerous. In most cases, using a cleaner to remove obsolete, invalid, and erroneous entries does not affect system performance but it can result in "unpredictable results".

Unless you have a particular problem that requires a registry edit to correct it, I would suggest you leave the registry alone. Using registry cleaning tools unnecessarily or incorrectly could lead to disastrous effects on your operating system such as preventing it from ever starting again. For routine use, the benefits to your computer are negligible while the potential risks are great.
Louis

#4 panbox29

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 12:44 PM

You may have already messed up the registry by using Registry Cleaners, they should never be used and can do more harm than good, don't believe all the hype that the manufacturers try and tell you, they are a waste of money.

One thing that is not quite clear from your opening post is if the shortcuts were working when you first re-installed Windows and have since failed.

Were there any other problems with the performance of the PC that prompted you to re-install Windows?


I'm starting to think reg cleaners are more harmful and the cause of most problems with peoples computers. I re-installed when suddenly my windows sounds disappeared. No empty recycle bin, no notification sound of a USB plugged in, etc. I've read up on reg cleaners before and never really seen a problem before, but now I'm starting to re-access my thinking on them altogether.

The shortcuts worked upon my initial install, but I didn't go back and check again like I have now to discover a problem, so I am unsure if they were OK in the first place or not. So, that being said, is there a way to restore the shortcuts to the Control Panel? A Windows Repair? Recovery Console?

#5 bluemagma

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 02:15 PM

if you know anything about registry then you can try this solution

http://www.kellys-korner-xp.com/xp_c.htm#cpiconsmissing

or option 299 here
http://www.kellys-korner-xp.com/xp_tweaks.htm

#6 mark1956

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 04:01 PM

Those fixes may do it, but I am wondering what could have caused the system to play up so soon after a reinstall. I am guessing you had not run the registry cleaner until the problem occured?

I would suggest running a test on the hard drive, as follows:

Identify the make of your hard drive and then use one of the links below to get the manufacturer's diagnostics for ISO (CD) not the one for Windows.

When the download is complete right click the file and select Extract Here and burn the image to a CD.

In Windows 7 right click the extracted file, select Open With, then select Windows Disc Image Burning Tool then follow the prompts. For all other versions of windows (if you do not have an ISO burner) download this free software. ImgBurn
Install the program and start the application. Select the top left hand option to burn image file to disk and then on the next window click on the small yellow folder icon and browse to the file you have downloaded from the links below. Then click on the two grey discs with the arrow in between (bottom left) and leave it to complete the operation.

Boot the PC into the Bios setup and set the CD/DVD drive to 1st in the boot sequence. Insert the disk in the drive then reboot and the disc will load into dos.

Excelstore Use EStest CD image
Hitachi/IBM Use the Drive Fitness Test - CD Image.
Seagate, Samsung, Maxtor & Quantum Follow links for SeaTools
Western Digital

Toshiba/Fujitsu
If you have a Toshiba/Fujitsu hard drive I would suggest the use of the diagnostics from the Seagate link as this will work on all makes of drive and on any OS.



#7 panbox29

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 08:58 PM

if you know anything about registry then you can try this solution

http://www.kellys-korner-xp.com/xp_c.htm#cpiconsmissing

or option 299 here
http://www.kellys-korner-xp.com/xp_tweaks.htm


I tried the control panel restore registry repair at Kellys-Korner, but those restores didn't do the trick. The "Restore Category View" repair took away the option to switch to classic view (lol). However, I found the reg value to get it back so no problems there. I think PC Tools Registry Mechanic has "hijacked" certain shortcuts to control panel options. I reverted back to Reg Mechanic 10.0 after trying the latest version, when it (without my consent) "maximized windows performance", which put simply disabled certain startup items and un-registering dll's!! That's when I did a reinstall of XP from scratch afew weeks ago. PC Reg Mechanic 10.0 also has a "maximize windows" option, but it does not enable without your consent (which makes sense). So, that's my only possible explanation for this bizarre quirk in my Control Panel.
It does work if you right click and explore, but it's a hit-and-miss when you left click to open. Maybe it's a quirk in Windows Explorer, since Explorer is what is used to access Control Panel. Control Panel is accessible fully in the Start Menu folder I created in the "Task Bar and Start Menu" window. So, I'm still up in the air as it were as to a fix. Maybe a re-install from scratch... again? (lol) Bleeping computer, indeed. :crazy: :busy:

#8 mark1956

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Posted 26 January 2012 - 05:51 AM

Ok, so as the reg fix did not work I would suggest you run the hard drive diagnostics I gave the instructions for earlier. When you have a problem that is intermittent that is often a sign of an intermittent hardware fault and the prime suspect, in this case, would be the hard drive.

It might be worth a try running in Safe mode to see if the problem still exists, if it doesn't then it could be down to some other software that is running in the background in Normal mode which we can help you to isolate.

The obvious cure for the fault is to re-install from scratch, but that won't stop the problem if there is a fault on the hard drive so it would be wise to check this first and go from there.

#9 bluemagma

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Posted 26 January 2012 - 09:53 AM

I would try uninstalling registry mechanic and seeing if it reappears. If not then reinstall your mechanic.

#10 mark1956

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Posted 26 January 2012 - 06:09 PM

I would try uninstalling registry mechanic and seeing if it reappears. If not then reinstall your mechanic.

Well, anything is worth a try but that would be a weird outcome if uninstalling RM did the trick.

But recommending it is reinstalled :o didn't you read post 3!!!

#11 panbox29

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Posted 27 January 2012 - 12:05 PM

I tried booting into safe mode and using the control panel icons, same result. I had already tried uninstalling Reg Mechanic, Glary Utilities, UltraDefragmenter to see if that changed things, but it didn't. So, I'm still up in the air for a solution, aside from re-installing from scratch again.

#12 hamluis

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Posted 27 January 2012 - 01:07 PM

FWIW: The recommendation to uninstall the aforementioned apps...won't reverse or solve any existing problems. If entries have been either corrupted or removed by those apps...they won't suddenly heal themselves or replace themselves. Removal only ensures that new problems cannot be laid at the feet of such apps.

Problems after a clean install are normally indicative of a hardware problem, with the hard drive being a prime suspect. If you haven't run the appropriate hard drive diagnostic yet (Dell Diagnostics will do), I suggest doing so.

Louis

#13 mark1956

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Posted 27 January 2012 - 01:58 PM

So, I'm still up in the air for a solution, aside from re-installing from scratch again.



We cannot tell you to do this and do that and it will fix the problem we have to find out what caused it first, only then can we find you a solution.

I have already supplied full instructions for running a test on your hard drive which has also now been suggested by Hamluis.

If you want to find out what has caused the problem then you have to start running some diagnostics to get to the bottom of it.

Run the test and let us know the outcome and we can take it from there.

Leave Reg Mechanic and Glary Utilities uninstalled and forget them, they are a waste of time and will not fix the problem you have.

If the hard drive test comes up clean then there are a few more tests we can run, but it is important to make sure the hard drive is in good health before moving on.

Edited by mark1956, 27 January 2012 - 02:01 PM.





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