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I need help! (Malware related)

by topher1723 / March 1, 2009 7:48 AM PST

I need help! I'm at the end of the road trying to figure my computer out. I know some about computers, but not enough to figure this thing out. I run Anti-Spyware programs fairly regularly (mostly Norton and Ad-Aware, also have Avast and Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware). Lately whenever I try to boot up in Safe Mode to run these programs, I get a blue screen and I can't get anywhere. I can boot up in normal mode just fine, it is only in Safe Mode that it won't work. I've also tried to do System Restore, and each time I do it, it doesn't work. I have XP by the way.

Norton had been finding Antivirus XP 2008 on my computer and I couldn't get it removed. I started reading up on the virus one day, and I changed some of the registry values associated with it. That worked and Norton didn't find it anymore. I also found Microsoft Security Adviser and seemed to get that taken care of as well. However, I'm still having the same problems with Safe Mode. Apparently I didn't get it fully taken care of. I also have a new problem that started after I thought I fixed those things. Any time I try to open a picture file from My Documents, nothing happens. I can't even see thumbnails. My Desktop background is also weird. When I go to the Display options and look at the different choices for backgrounds, they all look weird and some don't even show up at all (just like the picture files). I don't know what is going on and all the programs I have find nothing wrong. I would suspect running in Safe Mode would find something, but I can't get there.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Please Try This..
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / March 1, 2009 10:10 AM PST

First, you haven't mentioned whether Malwarebytes is still current and if so, does it find anything when run in "normal" Windows..

Next, on a separate "clean" computer, please download the free SuperAntispyware program installer plus its manual updater, then rename both files to something different like gogetum.exe and Gogetumupdater.exe. Once that's done, copy them to a CD or flash drive and transfer them to the problem computer..Run the installer and after installed, run the updater.. Now run a full system scan with SuperAntispyware and delete anything it finds.


SuperAntispyware Manual Updater

In regards to the Display settings and the failure of Safe Mode to function correctly, both are a frequent problems with Antivirus XP 2008 after cleaning it up.. Unfortunately, you didn't tell us whether you are using XP PRO or XP Home.. The fix isslightly different for each version.. (Pro has the Group Policy Editor/gpedit.exe while HOME does not.)

For Windows XP PRO, see the "gpedit.msc" instructions in the lower part of the link below:
Remove Antivirus XP 2008

For example, the Safe Mode problem may reside at the "Administrative Templates-User Configuration-System-Don?t run specified Windows applications" section. Or, try simply opening Registry Editor and check the path below:


Once there, under SafeBoot, you should now see "Minimal" and "Network". If it's not that way, make it so.. Common blockage entries are things such as "Minimal-" and "Network-", respectively.

For Windows XP HOME, there are also options in the Regsitry Editor which might get it done also. See the links below::

Gpedit.msc Isn't Available On XP Home.. Pro Only....

And To Determine More Of Gpedit.msc Registry Edits..

Hope this helps.


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by topher1723 / March 1, 2009 11:06 AM PST
In reply to: Please Try This..

That fixed one minor problem but not the rest. Lately my desktop items would not appear until my firewall had started up. After I changed those things you just mentioned they came up right away after restart. However, I still:

Can't boot in Safe Mode
Can change the desktop background, but the patterns are still messed up
Still can't open picture files

Any other thoughts?

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Let's try a few other fixes.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 1, 2009 11:15 AM PST
In reply to: Well....
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One problem fixed...
by topher1723 / March 1, 2009 3:28 PM PST

Safe Mode is back. I still didn't find anything scanning on Safe Mode however. Thanks for the reply by the way.

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by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 1, 2009 9:22 PM PST
In reply to: One problem fixed...

Please don't leave out what you did to fix safe mode.

Please don't leave out the detail about what application you associated with that picture file. I can't tell if that's a JPEG, BMP or other.

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Safe mode fix
by topher1723 / March 2, 2009 4:51 AM PST
In reply to: Please.

I used the 3rd option on the Safe Mode fixes link that was posted above to fix it.

As for the pictures, the picture files were associated with Microsoft Picture and Fax Viewer. I did change the association of those to Microsoft Office Picture and Fax and I can open them now. However, I still cannot see the thumbnails for each picture file. There is just a generic logo for each one.

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Thumbnails can be a "Microsoft" issue.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 2, 2009 5:06 AM PST
In reply to: Safe mode fix

A rather long discussion about that found out the owner had started taking RAW snaps. This is why I asked about the image types. You replied with "As for the pictures, the picture files were associated with Microsoft Picture and Fax Viewer. I did change the association of those to Microsoft Office Picture and Fax and I can open them now. However, I still cannot see the thumbnails for each picture file. There is just a generic logo for each one."

That's not the needed level of detail to address this one.

Here is the MS article about it ->

This issue is NOT fun at all. All it takes is ONE unsupported image and XP stops in its tracks and all images have no thumbnail. This is NOT A BUG!

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Read More Of The Answers In That Thread..
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / March 1, 2009 1:01 PM PST
In reply to: Well....

Unfortunately, I don't see that you told us which version of Windows XP you're using....

The link I posted earlier is from a thread regarding the removal of XP Antivirus 2008.. Most of the posters there had similar issues to yours and most fixed them. Explore those responses.

As to opening picture files, the suggestion from Bob is a good one.. In addition, sometimes it relates to the display of internet style pictures.. Please try resetting using the instructions below:

As to the internet picture issue, have you checked this setting? From Internet Explorer, click on "Tools" in the upper left, then select "Internet Options". When that opens, click on the "Security" tab, then click on the "Internet" icon (the world globe), then the "Custom Level" button. At that page, in the "reset to" line, select "Medium", then click on the "Reset" button.. Select "yes" when it asks: "Are you Sure". Close that particular window and then click on the "Advanced" tab in "Internet Options". Scroll down to the "Multimedia" section and UNCHECK the box next to "Show image download placeholders" and CHECK the "Show Pictures" box.. Now click on "Apply", then OK.

Because malware can change almost any registry of Group Policy settings, you'll need to check ALL of the suggestions mentioned. This problem is one of those "do this" types of fixes.. As you've seen, it takes a lot of troubleshooting.

Hope this helps.


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Answers to questions
by topher1723 / March 1, 2009 2:10 PM PST

I am running XP Pro.

The problem with pictures that I am referring to is for pictures that are saved on my computer, not anything on the internet. Basically, if I go to My Pictures, I can see a few pictures on each folder showing some of the files each folder contains. When I double click on a folder, I have it set to show thumbnails, but I can no longer see the picture on the thumbnail. I just have a logo for .bmp or .jpeg. When I double click on a file to open it up, nothing happens. However, if I right click and open it by choosing the Paint program, it works fine.

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Have You Tried..?
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / March 2, 2009 8:52 AM PST
In reply to: Answers to questions

Do you have it set to cache thumbnails in Folder Options-View tab? Make sure that "Do not cache thumbnails" is unchecked, click Apply/OK.

And...Open the "Picture" folder,, click "View" in the upper left, select "Icons" then hold down your "shift" key and select Thumbnails. This should bring back the Thumbnail titles.

Hope this helps.


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by topher1723 / March 2, 2009 11:27 AM PST
In reply to: Have You Tried..?

The Do Not Cache box was already unchecked, and my thumbnails did not come back when I held down the shift key and chose thumbnails.

For further clarification, I can see the pictures of the files on the folder thumbnails. When I actually open a folder to see the picture files contained in the folder is where I can't see the thumbnails.

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One More Thing I Can Think Of..
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / March 3, 2009 1:20 AM PST
In reply to: Nope

Try running the command below:

Click Start-Run, then type regsvr32 shimgvw.dll
Then click on OK.

Or, click on Start-Run, type "cmd", then click on OK. When the command prompt loads, type:

regsvr32 shimgvw.dll

Then press the "Enter" key..

Hope this helps.


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Thats 2 out of 3
by topher1723 / March 3, 2009 12:43 PM PST

That fix worked! Thank you very much.

I have one last problem that is yet to be fixed. My backgrounds of my desktop are still messed up. Almost all of the choices that are on the Windows list under Display in the Control Panel are messed up. Either they don't work at all, or they look distorted. There are only a couple that look normal. I just have it set as a plain color because nothing else looks right. Any thoughts?

When I was reading up on Antivirus XP 2008, I saw a lot of people had problems with the virus where it would change the desktop background to some sort of message. I never had this problem that I can remember, but I think my problem is probably somehow related.

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by topher1723 / March 3, 2009 12:48 PM PST
In reply to: Thats 2 out of 3

I should add that I can change the background to one of my own photos. It is only the backgrounds on Windows that don't work.

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Then A Couple Of Suggestions..
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / March 3, 2009 1:19 PM PST
In reply to: &

1. Try this:

Right click a blank area on desktop, choose "Properties", then select the "Themes" tab, then use the drop down box to select the original "Windows XP" theme, then select "Apply".

2. Click on Start-Run, type "gpedit.msc", then click on OK. When the Group Policy Editor loads, looking on theleft side of the window, navigate to "User configuration"-"Administrative Templates"-"Control Panel"-, then click once on the "Display" folder, then look on the right side of the windows.. Double click on the "Prevent Changing Wallpaper". When that opens, select "Not configured" or "Disabled". Click on "apply", then OK, then reboot the computer.

3. If that doesn't fix it...Click on the link below, then select number 142 on the right side where it shows "Allow Wallpaper/Background Changes". RIGHT click on the link, choose "Save Target As", then download the file to your desktop.. Generally, the file will be saved with a name such as "wallpaperenable.reg.txt". Rename the file by removing the .txt file extension so it reads: "wallpaperenable.reg".. Once that's done, close all windows on the computer, disable your antivirus program and run the .reg file, choose "YES", when it asks: Are you sure?".. Reboot the computer.. The file will automatically edit the registry with the correct Wallpaper entries.

Hope this helps.


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3 of 3
by topher1723 / March 3, 2009 3:11 PM PST

I think the picture problem may have fixed this problem also. I'm not sure. The landscape type background options were not working at all. I just checked them and they work fine now. It took a couple seconds for them to appear, but they showed up this time. I must not have been patient enough to see if they worked right after I fixed the picture problem. I also just realized that the generic shape type backgrounds looked messed up because each time I selected one, they were coming up as the stretch option under position instead of tile. That was making them look weird. When I changed them to tile, it seemed normal. I'm not sure why it is coming up as stretch for those generic ones, but it doesn't matter that much.

Anyways, it looks like all 3 of my problems are solved. I probably still have some remnants of that stupid virus on my computer, but it looks like I'm OK for the moment. Thanks Grif for all your help. Other boards have not been helpful at all.

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