WinXP help...please.

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by blackfox, Nov 16, 2004.

  1. blackfox macrumors 65816


    Feb 18, 2003
    Hey, I need some advice on a WinXP computer problem. It is not my computer but my friends, and frankly I do not have the windows expertise to help him with his problem. I thought someone here might have a suggestion. I apologize that I cannot be too specific with regards to the problem as I was not around to see it develop.

    Here is the problem:

    My friends computer was overrun with spyware/adware, although it managed to run reasonably well. The other night he was determined to seek out these rogue programs and eliminate them. From what I understand, he installed WinTasks and eliminated a bunch of tasks that the program told him were superflous.

    When he restarted his computer, things were much worse - every program took minutes to open, if it opened at all. Firefox and IE when they finally opened, did not allow any keystroke recognition. WinTasks will not open. He has no DVD player functionality or basically any functioning programs with the exception of iTunes, which still works for some reason.

    His HD is full of important data he needs for GIS/GPS work (plus his music collection) and he has no way of backing anything up, as his CD burning program is also offline. His copy of winXP is also at his brothers in Texas.

    I am at a loss. Does anyone have a clue what happened? I assume he deleted something he shouldn't have. What can I/he do to fix this mess. I really feel bad for him, as his computer has been reduced to a paperweight.

    sorry to be so vague, but any assistance will be appreciated. Thanks.
  2. rccola70 macrumors regular

    Oct 28, 2004
    Try going into Safe Mode (press or tap F8 during boot) and finding/deleting the rogue files. He should use something like Spyware Search & Destroy or Adaware.

    If all else fails, you can always do a repair install of Windows which only replaces the system files with the ones on the install CD. IF thats the case, the registry would be empty of programs and reinstallation might be necessary. (Although some can still run.)

    Good Luck
  3. broken_keyboard macrumors 65816


    Apr 19, 2004
    Secret Moon base
    If the cd drive is no go but the network connection is up, you could try backing up the data to another computer across the network.

    As for actually fixing the computer, maybe you could try booting off the Win XP cd, and see if it offers you a repair function. If not, maybe try reinstalling Windows - not a clean install, but an upgrade install. That should replace all the key Windows files but leave the users data intact.

    P.S. for future reference, a really good free prog for removing adware/spyware is called AdAware.
  4. brap macrumors 68000

    May 10, 2004
    Safe mode is a good idea, although Spybot s&d is the most useless program I've ever encountered. Lavasoft Ad-Aware is the [relative] daddy.
    blackfox doesn't have the CD, so it's probably going to take a bit of time and, sadly, knowledge to bring this thing back. Ad-aware can only do so much, you really need someone who knows what should be there from what shoud not be there to clean the system.
    A good start would be to go into Safe Mode, and the Add & Remove programs menu and get rid of everything which isn't work related and necessary. Kazzaa and Limewire-esque things should be first to go. Then run Ad-aware, rinse (restart) and repeat.
  5. Timelessblur macrumors 65816


    Jun 26, 2004
    also you need to go to his host file and delete all entrys in that file because a lot of spyware/virus edit that file to prevent you from going ot any adware/spywhere site along with stoping you from getting to AV sites. From there i recomend making the file read only because he has no clue how to use it and it better for it ot be that way.

    Adware needs to be updated and run along with a good virus scan
  6. blackfox thread starter macrumors 65816


    Feb 18, 2003
    Thanks for the replys guys. Like I said, this is not my computer and I am trying to help out a mate. I have only used Macs for the past five years so I am unfamiliar with XP.

    I will implement your suggestions and report back with (any) progress. Appreciate it.
  7. davegoody macrumors 6502


    Apr 9, 2003
    Reading, Berkshire, England
    Glad that he has a PC instead of a Mac - Don't think so !

    Be he now wishes he was a mac user instead. I agree with the other poster to back up all appropriate work, re-install XP from scratch and re-install apps, then bring data back in. As for having XP disks somewhere else, if his work is so important then the £70 or so it would cost for a replacement copy of XP is small in comparison. I see this sort of thing every day, Viruses (should that be Virii ???) and Spyware completely screwing up PCs. - I fix this crap all the time - makes me glad that when I come home I have a nice PB 17" to work on ! :mad:
  8. blackfox thread starter macrumors 65816


    Feb 18, 2003
    Just to clarify: Although spy/adware certainly contributed to and precipitated the problem, his computer was functional until he began mucking about with WinTask. So the problem was his doing, by not knowing what he was doing.

    I do not know very much about WinTask, he said he merely followed th suggestions/prompts.

    Anyone with info regarding WinTasks and what might have been deleted that would cause the symptoms listed in my first post would be appreciated.

    FWIW, I immediately advocated a fresh install and drive wipe, but due to expense and inconvenience, that remains the last resort.
  9. Pixeled_Apple macrumors member

    Oct 24, 2004
    MeLbourne, Vic Aussiee!
    I always have bad E"xp"eriences with xp, bad not as bad as this, he really should have been a mac user; oh well.... try to use Spyware, Adware Remover (Lavasoft, Spybot) and use your Antivirus (i use nav 2005) and update the virus defs, or if its too serious, as most pros say, use the Safe Mode Function by press F8 at bootup, (b4 Windows XP boot-up screen appears). Or use system restore 4 minor 1s.
  10. AdamR01 macrumors 6502

    Feb 2, 2003
    You must not know how to work spybot then. It is incredibly powerful, the immunize feature works wonders. I reccomend using both Spybot - Search and Destroy and Ad-aware. If you know any hardcore PC users try hijackthis, it works great for stuff that neither program can detect. You have to know exactly what you're doing though or you will hose windows.

    Also, go into the services control panel and make sure most of the services are running. If most of them are shut off, this is why Windows is not opperating properly.
  11. rueyeet macrumors 65816


    Jun 10, 2003
    I've never heard of WinTask; it sounds like it's a utility to scan your computer for programs/files/processes that don't belong, and delete them. However, there's a lot of very unreliable utilities out there, and anytime you delete something at the system level you don't intimately understand, you are probably screwing yourself.

    WinTask doesn't sound like it works too well; your friend should do some research to identify reliable and effective anti-malware programs--and do that research at major PC-oriented sites like c|net or PC Magazine.

    In my experience, once you've screwed with your system at that level the only way to be sure is to back up your data and re-install from scratch. Windows has a tendency, even in XP, for little issues to collect over time and cause major problems eventually; for that reason I wouldn't settle for a repair, which might miss something or not put some other essential thing back. A clean system's the only way to be sure.

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