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Black screen after startup (some founctionality), undestroyable cookies


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#1 Tom the Idiot

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 12:50 AM

I have two separate problems, one of which I suspect is malware and the other all my fault. I'll describe the malware issue later in the post as it is less pressing. I would appreciate any help that you could give me.

I was an idiot and ran combofix without advice to do so, and after it restarted my computer my desktop will not come up - only a black screen. However, I can use Control-Alt-Delete to get to the task manager and do stuff from there. All my files seem to still be there, and I can open simple stuff and access the internet. I can access the control panel and some of its sub-panels, but things like "Device Manager" and "Taskbar and Start Menu" will not open. I tried to run DDS before posting this, but it wouldn't run. I also can't get Microsoft Security Essentials to run, and neither it nor my firewall appear to have loaded on startup.

The original problem was that there were a bunch of cookies (65) that Super Anti-Spyware identified as tracking cookies that seemed to be on my computer and could not be permanently removed - if I got SAS to remove them they'd come back the instant firefox started (before then the searches would come up clean), and if I removed them from the preferences menu in firefox they would immediately reappear. They were from sites that I do not remember visiting, and all had the same expiry data (some time in the year 5000).

I am running Windows 7 (x64). I don't know what other details are relevant, and don't want to overfill this post.

Thank you for reading this. I hope you can help.

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#2 Tom the Idiot

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 03:31 AM

Apparently my comuter can do more than I thought. It did bring up the Device Manager and the game I tried to run, but after quite some time (>30 mins in both cases). The game ran fine, but isn't a system hog or anything (Many Faces of Go) - I was just trying to see what kind of thing could run.

With Device Manager up, I continued with the instructions Microsoft gave for the problem here: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-CA/windows7/why-is-my-screen-black-when-i-start-windows-7 without success.

Note that they instruct to kill explorer.exe then bring it back up with task manager, then use the start menu - this never worked for me, but I was able to do everything through the task manager. The first two solutions (updating graphics drivers and checking a startup registry) didn't help and I am hesitant to do a system restore (the only other thing they suggest).

Advice?

Edited by Tom the Idiot, 19 February 2012 - 03:32 AM.


#3 Broni

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 02:56 PM

Please follow the instructions in ==>This Guide<== starting at Step 6. If you cannot complete a step, skip it and continue.

Once the proper logs are created, then make a NEW TOPIC and post it ==>HERE<== Please include a description of your computer issues, what you have done to resolve them, and a link to this topic.

If you can produce at least some of the logs, then please create the new topic and explain what happens when you try to create the log(s) that you couldn't get. If you cannot produce any of the logs, then still post the topic and explain that you followed the Prep. Guide, were unable to create the logs, and describe what happens when you try to create the logs.

It would be helpful if you post a note here once you have completed the steps in the guide and have started your topic in malware removal. Good luck and be patient.

If HelpBot replies to your topic, PLEASE follow Step One so it will report your topic to the team members.

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#4 Tom the Idiot

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 11:31 PM

I was writing up that post when I figured out that the cookies I thought were malicious were not after all. It turns out they were the result of a Firefox extension DoNotTrackPlus 2.06 which kept adding these opt out cookies back in every time I tried to remove them. SAS must have reclassified them as a problem after an update. I've disabled the add-on and found that I can get rid of them easily now. Since that was my only evidence for infection and no scan has picked anything up other than SAS complaining about those cookies, I think I never had a problem in the first place.

Also, I have been able to start explorer.exe from the task manager (I just had to be more patient after shutting down the explorer process that was running after startup when all I could see was the blackscreen). After that everything seems to work fine. As far as I can tell, my only remaining problem is that the computer starts to the black screen instead of starting up normally. Is there something I can do about this? Should I try a system restore with the restore point combofix created?

I have the DDS logs and such if you think I should still create the second topic.

Thank you for your reply and advice Broni.

#5 Broni

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 11:46 PM

I would.

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#6 Tom the Idiot

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 12:39 AM

I can't find a system restore point, unfortunately. Would combofix have put one in some place the system wouldn't notice? I think System Restore was turned off at the time I ran combofix (continuing with the theme of me doing stupid things).

If System Restore isn't an option, what else might help?

#7 Broni

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 12:11 PM

All I want you to do is to follow my reply #3.
I didn't say anything about system restore.

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#8 Tom the Idiot

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 07:13 PM

I misunderstood. I have created the new topic here: http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/topic443475.html

Thanks for the help. I appreciate it.




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