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Format does not clean everything

by photoguy38 / February 16, 2008 1:53 AM PST

Through years of internet surfing, downloads, and what have you, I have come to find the only way to eliminate problems and restore my computer's performance is to format the hard drive. I know that's drastic, but sometimes it's the only way to be sure malware and things are truly gone, particularly on a shared computer. I run Windows XP SP2.
My latest problem involves a certain popup window which states "Windows Security has detected malware installed on your computer. Please go to www.RegistryCleanerXP.com and download the software to eliminate the problem" or words to that effect. I know all about these bogus warnings and am not fooled. This one even has an icon which loads in the taskbar and resembles the Windows security icon. So, true to form, I performed a clean install, not just a repair, upon format. I still got the popup as soon as the startup menu finished loading. I reformatted several times to ensure I wasn't clicking too fast and missing the clean install option. This bug is not eliminated, leaving me to think that something was changed in the registry and a format doesn't wipe that clean. I am thinking something has happened outside the Windows environment. I searched the net and found many users stated that the RegistryCleanerXP program solves the problem and is harmless. Out of desperation and against my better judgement, I installed the program. I additionally had to go to some Italian website and download a Microsoft.Net framework patch. Now I have a Collegamenti toolbar next to the address bar in Internet Explorer. I don't use IE anyway, so I'm not too worried, but it bothers me that I had to go through all that. The popup is indeed gone, but again, a format should've gotten rid of the adware or whatever and it doesn't.
Sorry for the long-winded explanation, but I wanted readers to know all the details. Any info would be greatly appreciated.

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Try this link.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 16, 2008 2:52 AM PST
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If you formatted and installed Win XP SP2 then ...
by Edward ODaniel / February 16, 2008 3:41 AM PST

if you are getting the pop-ups there are really only a couple things it could be IF you didn't click OK on one.

First, you haven't installed and configured a firewall.

Second, you haven't configured your browser to eliminate (or at least drasticly reduce) pop-ups.

Third (and most likely) you have not disabled the MESSENGER SERVICE.

Bob's link would lead you to all three but you still might miss disabling the service because many think it is something it isn't. Try following the resolution on this link:
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/security/learnmore/stopspam.mspx

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"MESSENGER SERVICE."
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 16, 2008 4:07 AM PST

I agree. Kill the MESSENGER SERVICE.

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Windows Messenger
by photoguy38 / February 17, 2008 2:30 AM PST
In reply to: "MESSENGER SERVICE."

These are all great suggestions and I thank you all....and I will kill the Messenger service at next format.
But that's the thing that I wonder about....a format does not eliminate the bug and it should.....
I would just scrap Windows entirely and go with Linux if I hadn't already had numerous problems with incompatability and driver issues with components on my machine. Frustrating.

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A format will restore this issue.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 17, 2008 2:42 AM PST
In reply to: Windows Messenger

That's why we note we'd turn off the messenger service. When you format it, the default setting is enabled so you'll start getting those messages again.

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A format will restore this issue.
by phil66 / February 17, 2008 4:50 AM PST
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Somehow I just knew you still wouldn't understand ...
by Edward ODaniel / February 17, 2008 4:56 AM PST
In reply to: Windows Messenger

Bob explained it but I am going to link you to first an explanation of what the Messenger Service is and why it is naturally defaulted to being started. Most users have no need for it but some, like me, do have uses for it. Those with no use simply disable the servide while those who want it make use of their router's capability to block block inbound NetBIOS and UDP broadcast traffic.

In short, it is NOT a "bug" and formatting removes it just fine but re-installing the OS re-installs the service in the default enabled.

This link explains its use (please don't say "but it doesn't say anything about XP", because XP is really NT 5.1 and it does apply)-
Messenger Service of Windows
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/168893

This link explains how unscrupulous advertisers can take advantage of it to send messages to the unwaqry and those who have not taken steps to isolate its use to only nodes of their own network -
Messenger Service window that contains an Internet advertisement appears
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/330904

This link tells you how you can use it if you decide for any reason that it might be useful for you.
http://www.cezeo.com/tips-and-tricks/net-send-command/

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Minor suggestion...
by eddie11013 / February 17, 2008 5:13 AM PST

After your ?next? reformat, install your firewall, install your anti-virus program, ?disable? the Messenger Service as previously stated, ?THEN?, and only ?THEN?, hookup your router/cable modem. You will no longer have these issues. A reformat will indeed erase/remove everything previously on your computer, however, if you expose your computer to the Internet, before applying 'protection', you will/can get reinfected. That's the bottom line. You must have "protection" before you actually hook up the wires of your cable modem to your computer.
Good luck,
Eddie

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