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Hard drive space disappearing post malware removal

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#1 Powder Bandit

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 11:42 AM

Hello all. Where to start:
Windows Vista Home Premium (...I know...)
IE 9

What happened/is happening: I have had a couple malware (correct term?) over the past couple months. The first one was an IE redirect, which I removed successfully(?) with MBAM. That is when I believe some very bad things started happening, which I wasn't immediately aware of.

So, time passed, then one day I got a low disk space warning. I checked and I had some lowish number of GB of space left...3-5 GB or something. And I knew I should've had more than that. And I checked on it periodically (several times per day) while continuing my normal comp use, which I will say I no longer download anything to speak of (tv shows, movies, music, etc). And I watched these few GB of free space disappear for no apparent reason over a matter of about 2-3 days, all the way down to literally "0 kb." Using disk cleanup and with restarts, It might fluctuate back up to 100 MB. I deleted some large movie files that I've had for over a year, giving myself back 8 GB or so, then I watched the same thing happen to that free space over about 3 days: disappear to who-knows-where.

So, then I happened to get another malware, and I once again called on MBAM. This is when I start to notice a couple things and make a connection. When using MBAM the second time (about a month later, without using inbetween) I noticed that it took a lot longer to perform a "quick scan" and that it had A LOT more files to scan in the quick scan. Which, makes some sense if my hard drive space is disappearning.

Here's a couple facts: the first couple times I ran MBAM quick scan (related to the first malware) it scanned about 190,000 files, and it took about 5 min. After the space disappearing, when using related to my second malware infection, it scans over 1,000,000 files, and it takes hours. Every time I run MBAM now it finds more files, and takes a lot longer. Most recent quick scan: 1,400,000 files, and took 15 hours to complete.

Most importantly, perhaps, I noticed that it spent the overwhelming majority of time scanning this directory:
"C:\USERS\OWNER\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5\<weird dir of 8 letter and numbers>\<long weird files usually ending in .js>"
And apparently .js are JavaScript files.

So my hypothesis, which I can backup to a theory, is that for some reason my computer started storing massive amounts of temp internet files, and quickly eats up any free space on my hard drive. One thing I can't make sense of is why it continues to happen when I'm not browsing the net, and not even using my computer at all. E.g. I go to work, come back, and in that time I've lost 100's of MB, if not a GB. Also the fact that I don't believe it was happening before the first time I ran MBAM, means that something changed which started this.

If I go to Internet Options > Browsing History settings button > View files, it opens the folder which has these files, which, interestingly appears to be in a slightly different directory then where MBAM scans it: "C:\Users\Owner\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files"

So it contains about 1000-1500 .txt cookies, but doesn't appear to contain the million or so files totaling my multiple missing GB. But when I click on that folder and view properties, it does show that it contains thousands of folders, over a million files totaling 20-some GB. I turned on viewing of hidden files, and still nothing shows other than the aforementioned cookies.

I've searched on the disappearing space, no one seems to know the cause, or to be able to fix the problem. I've searched about these hidden temp files. I don't kow if CCleaner works for these or not. I finally found an article which had information that I hadn't read anywhere else, saying that basically (some info about) your entire browsing history is permanently stored on your computer, and that the only way to access/delte it is through true DOS mode. I suppose I could believe that, but again, anyone would notice 10's of GB filling up for no apparent reason, so something is definitely "wrong" with my computer compared to a "normal working" one.

At this point I'm pretty much resigned to reformatting and reinstalling Windows, unless someone has a magic fix. If you need additional info, let me know. To be honest, I doubt if I'm interested in installing 5 programs and posting their logs and such. In terms of rate and speed of a successful fix, I'd probably rather reinstall.

Thanks to anyone who takes the time to read this and respond. Sorry if I posted this in the wrong section...

Edited by Powder Bandit, 05 September 2012 - 11:47 AM.

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#2 boopme


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Posted 05 September 2012 - 02:34 PM

Hello and welcome.. I would like to run these next. Do not run a Temp file or registry cleaner now.

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.

Run RKill....

Download and Run RKill
  • Please download RKill by Grinler from one of the 4 links below and save it to your desktop.

    Link 1
    Link 2
    Link 3
    Link 4

  • Before we begin, you should disable your anti-malware softwares you have installed so they do not interfere RKill running as some anti-malware softwares detect RKill as malicious. Please refer to this page if you are not sure how.
  • Double-click on Rkill on your desktop to run it. (If you are using Windows Vista, please right-click on it and select Run As Administrator)
  • A black screen will appear and then disappear. Please do not worry, that is normal. This means that the tool has been successfully executed.
  • If nothing happens or if the tool does not run, please let me know in your next reply

Do not reboot your computer after running rkill as the malware programs will start again. Or if rebooting is required run it again.

If you continue having problems running rkill.com, you can download iExplore.exe or eXplorer.exe, which are renamed copies of rkill.com, and try them instead.

Please download TDSSKiller.zip and and extract it.
  • Run TDSSKiller.exe.
  • Click on Change Parameters
  • Put a check in the box of Detect TDLFS file system
  • Click Start scan.
  • When it is finished the utility outputs a list of detected objects with description.
    The utility automatically selects an action (Cure or Delete) for malicious objects.
    The utility prompts the user to select an action to apply to suspicious objects (Skip, by default). Let the options as it is and click Continue
  • Let reboot if needed and tell me if the tool needed a reboot.
  • Click on Report and post the contents of the text file that will open.

    Note: By default, the utility outputs the log into system disk (it is usually the disk with installed operating system, C:\) root folder. The Log has a name like: TDSSKiller.Version_Date_Time_log.txt.

I'd like us to scan your machine with ESET OnlineScan
  • Hold down Control and click on the following link to open ESET OnlineScan in a new window.
    ESET OnlineScan
  • Click the Posted Image button.
  • For alternate browsers only: (Microsoft Internet Explorer users can skip these steps)
    • Click on Posted Image to download the ESET Smart Installer. Save it to your desktop.
    • Double click on the Posted Image icon on your desktop.
  • Check Posted Image
  • Click the Posted Image button.
  • Accept any security warnings from your browser.
  • Under scan settings, check Posted Image and check Remove found threats
  • Click Advanced settings and select the following:
    • Scan potentially unwanted applications
    • Scan for potentially unsafe applications
    • Enable Anti-Stealth technology
  • ESET will then download updates for itself, install itself, and begin scanning your computer. Please be patient as this can take some time.
  • When the scan completes, push Posted Image
  • Push Posted Image, and save the file to your desktop using a unique name, such as ESETScan. Include the contents of this report in your next reply.
  • Push the Posted Image button.
  • Push Posted Image

NOTE: In some instances if no malware is found there will be no log produced.
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