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Virus removal left Start Menu and programs empty, unable to gain ownership and fix the problem

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#1 Frk.P.


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  • Local time:11:42 PM

Posted 09 April 2012 - 11:38 AM

First of all: I am by no means a technical genius (Google got me this far) and my technical lingo/knowledge is limited.
In other words ... if suggested solutions to my problem were to be posted in a not-too-technical language and thoroughly explained, you'd make me very happy. :)

My troubles originated when I got a virus on my PC: SMART HDD, a rogue scanner.

Google led me to this guide (http://www.myantispyware.com/2010/12/14/how-to-remove-smart-hdd-and-smarthdd-virus/) to manually removing the virus and I followed the first 6 steps without encountering any problems.

Step 7 is where I first encountered one of my current problems:
"7: Now you can unhide all files and folders that has been hidden by Smart HDD. Click Start, type in Search field cmd and press Enter. Command console “black window” opens. Type cd \ and press Enter. Type attrib -h /s /d and press Enter. Close Command console."

Access denied.

I followed through with the remaining steps anyway and successfully removed the virus using MBAM and TDSSKiller (which only found "RS_Service" which, so Google tells me, is an Acer program and seeing as TDSSKiller suggested to "skip it" I left it be).

To be sure my system was clean I created a System Resque CD (Avira Antivir) and booted my computer from the CD running a full system scan: nothing was found (except a few "warnings"/"alerts" concerning a couple of encrypted files (I consulted a more technologically knowledgable friend who told me not to worry about the warnings - the virus had been removed).
Afterwards I performed a checkdisc.

I believe the virus is gone, but my desktop and Start Menu still look a mess!

No programs are visible on my desktop (except for the ones I've installed after I began trying to fix my computer, such as TDSSKiller and MBAM).
No programs are visible in my Start Menu - and selecting "All programs" leads me to programfolders that appears to be empty.

I've taken a screen cap and uploaded it to webpicasa to illustrate the problem, first my Start menu:


Secondly, how the programs seem to be empty ("tom", Danish, meaning "empty"):


I googled "Start menu empty" which led me to bleepingcomputer.com and this suggestion:

This is a manual fix for Vista/Windows 7 users:

1. Copy the entire content of this folder:
and paste it to this folder:
C:\Program Data\Start Menu

2. Copy the entire content of this folder:
and paste it to this folder:
C:\Users\user_name\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch

3. Copy the entire content of this folder:
and paste it to this folder:
C:\Users\user-name\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\TaskBar

4. Copy the entire content of this folder:
and paste it to this folder:
C:\Program Data\Desktop

-- Note: The "Start Menu", "Quick Launch" and "Desktop" folders are system folders. In order to see them, you need to Reconfigure Windows to show hidden files, folders. In Windows Explorer go to Tools > Folder Options and click on the View tab. Under Advanced settings > Files and Folders > Hidden Files and Folders, uncheck "Hide Protected operating system Files (recommended)" and hit Apply > OK. In order to access the "Start Menu" folder, you may need to "take ownership" of that folder as shown here.

If the above does not work, then you can restore the defaults for the Start Menu and Administrative Tools as follows:•Windows 7: Restore Default Shortcuts in Start Menu All Programs

•Vista: Restore Default Shortcuts in Start Menu Programs

•Restore the Administrative Tools folder with vista_ultimate_admintools.zip

Not surpringsingly I once again encountered "access denied" when trying to access the Start menu in order to manually fix the problem as suggested.

So I followed this guide: http://www.wintuts.com/Change-permissions-take-ownership
But what happens?
When trying to change permissions and gain "full control" access is denied: I cannot change the settings.

What do I do?

Thanks so much for reading this - I'm looking much forward to your help! :)

Edited by Frk.P., 09 April 2012 - 12:26 PM.
Moved from Win 7 to Am I Infected.

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#2 dev00790


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Posted 09 April 2012 - 06:04 PM


I will be helping you with your problems
Please do the following:

Step 1

Download Security Check by screen317 from here.
  • Save it to your Desktop.
  • Double click SecurityCheck.exe and follow the onscreen instructions inside of the black box.
  • A Notepad document should open automatically called checkup.txt; please post the contents of that document.

Step 2

Please download Farbar Service Scanner to your Desktop and run it on the computer with the issue.
  • Make sure the following options are checked:
    • Internet Services
    • Windows Firewall
    • System Restore
    • Security Center/Action Center
    • Windows Update
    • Windows Defender
  • Press "Scan".
  • It will create a log (FSS.txt) in the same directory the tool is run.
  • Please copy and paste the log to your reply.

Step 3

Please download MiniToolBox, save it to your desktop and run it.

Checkmark the following checkboxes:
  • Flush DNS
  • Report IE Proxy Settings
  • Reset IE Proxy Settings
  • Report FF Proxy Settings
  • Reset FF Proxy Settings
  • List content of Hosts
  • List IP configuration
  • List Winsock Entries
  • List last 10 Event Viewer log
  • List Installed Programs
  • List Devices
  • List Users, Partitions and Memory size.
  • List Minidump Files
Click Go and post the result (Result.txt). A copy of Result.txt will be saved in the same directory the tool is run.

Note: When using "Reset FF Proxy Settings" option Firefox should be closed.

Step 4

Download Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware (aka MBAM): https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/download/malwarebytes-anti-malware/ to your desktop.

  • Double-click mbam-setup.exe and follow the prompts to install the program.
  • At the end, be sure a checkmark is placed next to Update Malwarebytes'
    and Launch Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware, then click Finish.
  • If an update is found, it will download and install the latest version.
  • Once the program has loaded, select Perform quick scan, then click Scan.
  • When the scan is complete, click OK, then Show Results to view the results.
  • Be sure that everything is checked, and click Remove Selected.
  • When completed, a log will open in Notepad.
  • Post the log back here.

Be sure to restart the computer.

The log can also be found here:
C:\Documents and Settings\Username\Application Data\Malwarebytes\Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware\Logs\log-date.txt
Or at C:\Program Files\Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware\Logs\log-date.txt

Regards, dev00790


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