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Many programs won't start and all personal data not found

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#1 granitepete56


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Posted 12 January 2015 - 02:21 PM


This is my first visit to your website and I have searched for similar problems and didn't find any, so here it goes (sorry, it's not a short story):



I try to keep our computers running fine by manual updates of all regularly used programs and security, usually on weekends. I would rate my level as perhaps a novice with many hour of hands on maintenance. We are on computers way more than the average user, perhaps 12 hours a day minimum, 7 days a week with almost no virus, malware, etc. issue.


Note: no joke, this was my wife causing the problem, I was at work



System info:

Windows 7 Professional Service Pack 1

64 bit

AMD-FX™-4100 Quad-Core

3.6 GHz  12.0GB 

Microsoft Security Essentials

CCleaner used to clean temp files, etc.daily

Network of four similar, not identical computers (all Win 7, 64 bit)



2014-01-08 popup on internet wouldn't close unless a number was called, (two choices - see below)

internet browser was locked up, so the number was called and remote log in by Teamviewer allowed.

Person on line was looking around and said there were untrusted websites my browser was being redirected to, Microsoft Identity Services and Network Access Protection was stopped.


He could fix it, never mentioned a fee, said it would take about two hours, then said $99.99 fee


Company info of on-line help called:

1-800-832-1740 Expert Technical Support

1-800-273-3093 Star Technical Support


He had control for about 30 minutes.


At this point, my wife finally called me and I said hang up,unplug the internet now,  I'll fix it.


Quick review of system by me showed issues that were scaring me, like being online with ?? for 30 minutes, and computer was basically useless. Although the desktop was looking close, all program icons in taskbar were replaced by blank icons (hovering over did show the program as it normally would but clicking to open did nothing). Selecting all programs in menu showed no programs, opening any personal folders of docs or pics showed nothing in them, a .picassa config file, or a bunch of what looked like javascripts to me. Unfortunately at this point i was pretty upset and din't really pay attention to what exactly they were, but there were no docs at all.


Control panel>Programs and Features showed all programs, didn't see anything out of the ordinary.


I called Microsoft and the first tech instructed me to connect back to the internet and allow him remote access. No luck, although we could get to the run command, command prompts, etc, did noything. Safe boot allowed use to use iexplore.exe and he eventually did bring the computer back to again show icons and the desktop looked as normal.


He ran Malwarebytes, HitmanPro, and Vipreantivirus said it was all fixed, it found something. He also did a system restore but I do not remember if he did it in safemode or regular mode. Unfortunately he also never told me what the scans found and a call back to Microsoft has no record of what virus or viruses were found.


So all seemed good until I turned the computer on the next day (I shut all computers off every night) and found the icons only showed the programs but either the program wouldn't start at all (Quickbooks) or the computer was trying to re-install the software (Microsoft Office 2010) or install a trial version (Adobe Acrobat) and email (Outlook) has no link to the .pst (which I can't find by searching - but none of these programs worked here or by using the Start>All Programs then choosing a program


Two more Microsoft techs and the scan process was basically repeated but no change; a second level tech also did some disk checks - sfc /scannow and chkdsk with no limiters. I repeated all scans both in safemode and in regular mode and also used Windows Defender Offline Boot disk. Microsoft Safety Scanner, Spybot Search and Destroy, and ESET Online Scanner - nothing at all found.


I can scrap the computer and rebuild everything except the .pst for Outlook but it just seems as I am really close as all standard operating programs such as all internet browsers, Paint, Sype, CCleaner, Notepad, etc. work. It appears only purchased programs requiring a serial number and personal files such as any pictures, docs, and the .pst file are no where to be found.


I'm hoping some registry or other type of user id has been changed.


Phew, that's it for now, any ideas would be greatly appreciated. I realize it may be a while before I get a response.









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#2 fitzy04


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Posted 12 May 2015 - 02:39 PM

January to May... pretty lengthy in response time. I'm usually on here to post a problem though so at least someone is here lol.


Anyway, it sounds like you could still have a virus. Virus scanners and antivirus programs are often and continually evolving to catch every virus out there. Here's the problem; viruses and the people who deploy those viruses are evolving as well. You can't evolve an antivirus program to defend against viruses that you don't know exist. Think of it as medicine. If you get sick and the doctors don't know how you got that way or what you are infected with, they can't confidently say "here's a prescription medication. Take as directed on the bottle and if it doesn't get better, come back." Same with viruses. If a virus gets through and there's no "cure" or no way of detecting it, it's going to pass through undetected, even by the best scanners.


I've seen viruses like this a few times. I've tried running cleaners and doing system restores. Many of them I was able to clean up but a few required a system wipe and reinstall of the OS. Unfortunately, that sounds like that may be your case, is a system wipe and reinstalling the OS.


But from January to May... I'm hoping you've found a better solution by now but if not, here is my suggestion. Hope you found a better solution though, mate!

#3 granitepete56

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Posted 12 May 2015 - 03:05 PM

yep, as you said it was too far gone so I just pulled out the original drive and restarted from scratch. I did save the drive (just on a shelf now) in case I have spare time to play around with it.

thanks anyway

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