after successfully recovering from a malware infection with help of Bleeping Gringo of your malware fighting team, I would like to adress the next issue, that troubles me for some time.
I learned to live with the situation, for I could not find any expert help on the Internet or in literature. I learned about this site only recently when looking for assistance in this malware issue and decided to give it a new start.
How it started:
For all I know the problem started with a substantial update that Windows performed automatically to end of 2011. (Sorry, I cannot give an exact date to retrace which update it was). I did not install any new software or hardware for some time then, so it either came while surfing the internet (Norton 360 updated and active) or by way of this update.
This is a little hard to explain for I am using the German version of Windows and so I do not know the English names of the screens that pop up nor do I know the English equivalents of the textmessages. To identify the screens I am talking of I named them for easy reference here and added a kind of glossary at the end of this chapter to identify which screens I mean.
Startup after long shutdown (over night):
After clicking the start-button on my PC the resources screen shows up for a very short period of time (less than one second) and seems to be somewhat incomplete. Then I see a black screen for some time and then the XP-screen shows for a few seconds. After some time again the startup screen flashes (less than 1 sec), the screen returns to black and stays this way for times on end. This is accompanied by substantial hard drive activity which dies down after a minute or so to an occasional io-action (every 1 sec or so), may be a defrag or a scan going on, I have no means to know. Or, on other occasions, the computer seems to do nothing at all. My screen does not show its 'no input signal' - message or goes into standby, so I think that there is a signal and that my PC is still alive and did not just quit.
If now I wait for say 40 minutes or more and then press the resetbutton, the PC restarts with the sequence of events that I am used to on booting: system resources screen, XP-screen, startup screen, log in screen all seperated by more or less longish periods of black screen, just the login screen pops up immediately after the startupscreen. I can log in and everything is fine.
If I interfere earlier than these 40 minutes (not exact, its an estimate), then the events happen without a fixed sequence or pattern that I could recognise. Resources screen flashes up, followed by XP-screen or start failed screen or nothing or black screen with occasional changeing the grade of blackness. In the end I once again have that black screen with the PC doing apparently nothing. Pressing f8-key after the resources screen does not give any reaction at all. The only thing I can do is to interrupt the sequence by again pressing my PC's reset button just to start this sequence again.
I am on the winning tack when the XP screen shows for a longer time (longer than about 5 seconds) or the startup failed screen shows up and remains open. This happens occasionally after a few reset-starts. I could not establish any rule of how and when I should press reset to make either of these things happen. It remains to be a lottery like random hit or miss thing. Once I am in the startup screen, I can select Windows to start normally which it does and then I reach the login screen eventually and I am ready to go. Once my system started there is no more malfunction and it is working perfectly.
Once my system has started successfully, it has no problem at all to do reboots when necessary. It behaves as if nothing ever was amiss. I did not establish how long a standstill could last for easy reboot. This 'memory period' is shorter than 3 hours and longer than five minutes.
Screen names I used in the above:
'Resources screen': this is the one to first show up when you start your computer giving the devices and drivers
'Start failed screen': This screen informs the user that the windows start failed and offers selection of diverse startup modes, will start booting automatically after 30 seconds (countdown) when no input occurs
'XP-screen': Screen with Windows XP-logo
'startup screen' : screen saying that Windows is being started
'log in screen' : to select username and input password if defined.
What I did to get rid of this:
- I disabled my virus protection just to see if this performs a scan during startups (Norton 360 is scanning things all the time) but no change
- I set my Wlan-manager to manual start, just to make sure that there is no internet connection during startup
- I cleared all entries form autostart - no effect
- check of system files ('sfc /scannow') - no results
- ran Norton Power Eraser without effect
- learned to live with this.
What I did not do:
- I did not want to reinstall my bios - version is still up to date - I read on the internet that this can go perfectly wrong and mess up things completely.
- I did not reinstall my OS because I hate the idea of reinstalling all my software.
- I could not restore my system to an earlier date for I had the automatic setting of system recovery points disabled at the time of infection.
As I said, I learned to live with this. Having my office at home I set up the routine to start my PC first thing I come down in the morning, then perform my morning rites and have breakfeast while my PC does its startup rites and when I come to my office I can restart by clicking reset and all is fine.
But still, I would be happy to return to normal again.
p.s. Sorry, this got rather longish, but I gave all the details that I have observed on what is going on.
Edited by hamluis, 28 June 2012 - 03:46 PM.
Moved from XP to Internal Hardware - Hamluis.