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  #1  
Old 06-02-11, 20:23
rtxx rtxx is offline
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Default XP won't boot, even to safe mode.

Hi
This is about my irresponsible friend's computer again. It is XP media center. It won't boot, even to safe mode. On an attempted boot, after showing the Compaq boot /setup options, then the windows screen, it shows "Windows Message: The system is not fully installed. Please run setup again."

Clicking "OK" causes a reboot. If booting into safe mode, this same message appears after the screen with "Safe Mode" showing in all 4 corners appears.

My friend says he saw no popups, etc; the computer just ran very slow for a while, then stopped booting.

I put the drive in an external enclosure and scanned it from my own XP computer. MBAM found lots of malware in boot disc, (nothing in recovery partition), then cleaned it. Avast found a lot more, and cleaned it. SuperAntiSpyware found nothing other than 890 tracking cookies. I ran MBAM again and it found nothing on the 2nd run.

I put the drive back in the original computer, but it still won't boot. Put it back in the enclosure, ran RootRepeal, and it reported MBR rootkits for both the boot & recovery partitions.

Will attach logs from MBAM & RootRepeal, and a PrintScreen jpg of the avast results (I can't find a text file log from Avast.) (In the Avast results, there is one file marked with a red X --that was deleted separately before the scan finished.) Disk I: is the boot partition, L: is the recovery partition.

[Last time he had malware I installed either McAfee (free from Cox) or Avast/ZoneAlarm. -I don't remember which. I looked in both directories, and I don't see any updates since last January. My friend must be living on some other plane.]

I hope we don't have to reinstall Windows. If we do, I sure hope the recovery partition is intact; there's no install discs.

Thanks!
Richard
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Avast results after MBAM.jpg (96.8 KB, 4 views)
Attached Files
File Type: txt mbam-log-2011-06-01 (23-24-57).txt (3.2 KB, 4 views)
File Type: txt RootRepeal log.txt (14.3 KB, 3 views)
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  #2  
Old 06-03-11, 06:40
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Default Re: XP won't boot, even to safe mode.

Perhaps you should have sent your irreseponsible friend here to sign up for themselves so they can appreciate what is involved.

If you really cannot run anything to provide us information that we need to perform a proper diagnosis, your option would be to use another PC to try create one or more of the below CDs to boot from that allow you to run scans and perform many other tasks without Windows even being loaded. Sometimes this can help to get you started when all else fails. They can even help in cases where a previous scan may have removed something that resulted in your PC being unbootable.
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  #3  
Old 06-03-11, 16:06
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Default Re: XP won't boot, even to safe mode.

I tried the Kaspersky Rescue Disk (USB version) - it appeared to be only a cleaner, not even a file manager. (It found no malware -though, granted, the affected computer is offline so defs can't be updated.)
I tried BitDefender Rescue USB -the file manager enabled me to copy combofix etc to the problem computer (well, I could have done that when the drive was the USB enclosure, too), but I could not figure out how to RUN the programs while using BitDefender Rescue. It asked what I wanted to open them with. BitDefender found more malware, but it was all in old restore points (now deleted). I still can't boot into XP.

It looks like SystemRescue & Trinity Rescue are more powerful, but looking at their descriptions I'm not sure I'll be able to run ComboFix, MGTools, etc from them, either -I know nothing about Linux etc.

Can you guide me to a how-to for this?
Alternately, can Combofix, MGTools etc be used on the drive while it's in the external enclosure, attached to my good XP computer? Remember RootRepeal DID find MBR rootkits that way. (Maybe the rootkits were faulty & screwed the MBR up?)

Could it be I need to fix the MBR in order to get XP to boot, then I can proceed with the regular process? If so, can the MBR be repaired with the drive in a USB enclosure, or the Recovery Console, or do I just need to become familiar with Linux & rescue disks?

Previous use of Combofix did set up the recovery console, which was a huge relief at the time, BUT it's not showing up now. F10 during bootup allows me to get into Compac's "PC Recovery" Advanced Options, but when I try a system restore it just starts over with "Windows Message: The system is not fully installed. Please run setup again."

(Re "Perhaps you should have sent your irresponsible friend here to sign up for themselves so they can appreciate what is involved." My friend is just not up to complex tasks. At the least, I see that I'll have to password-protect his AV & Firewall so he can't allow changes. IF he ever gets a computer again.)

thanks
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  #4  
Old 06-03-11, 18:04
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Default Re: XP won't boot, even to safe mode.

My friend found the Compaq Recovery Disks I made for him last episode. Maybe that'll help -I hope. I probably won't get them here until tomorrow.
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  #5  
Old 06-03-11, 19:32
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Default Re: XP won't boot, even to safe mode.

OK well let me know how you get on. I may have to send you off to the software forum though to seek further advice, and then you can return here to focus on the actual malware removal.
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Old 06-05-11, 19:28
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Default Re: XP won't boot, even to safe mode.

No dice on the nondestructive reinstall. First it did a hardware check, including the hard drive, and found no issues. It then took about a half hour to go through the nondestructive recovery -again no issues until the last item. It asked which country,which time zone,etc. It then did a monitor check-which is unfortunate since my spare monitor is from ~win 98 if not earlier. Apparently -I'm guessing here- it didn't like not getting expected feedback from the monitor? It gave an error message "Cannot create file c:\hp\bin\SetRes.log", then hung for an hour. I plugged in a flat panel and rebooted... It went back to "The system is not fully installed. Please run setup again." (I have not gone through the process a second time using the flat panel -I hear sometimes they cause this error msg by themselves during a reinstall. I don't have a newer CRT here.)

So out of ignorance it seems like the malware screwed up SOMEthing pertaining to some hard disk function required when booting (but apparently not required when functioning as an external drive), like the MBR. What else might be screwed up this way? But my impression is that people expect different error messages than this to be given when there are MBR, partition table, etc problems. WHAT issues other than sysprep and interrupting an actual install (neither of which apply to the cause of my friend's problems) would give rise to this message?

Kestrel, you never actually answered my question "Alternately, can Combofix, MGTools etc be used on the drive while it's in the external enclosure, attached to my good XP computer? Remember RootRepeal DID find MBR rootkits that way." I gather that's a negative.

Can ComboFix, MGTools, etc be run from one of those Rescue CD programs? How?

Could it be I need to fix the MBR in order to get XP to boot, then I can proceed with the regular malware-ridding process? If so, can the MBR be repaired with the drive in a USB enclosure, or do I just need to become familiar with Linux & rescue disks?
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  #7  
Old 06-05-11, 21:27
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Default Re: XP won't boot, even to safe mode.

Quote:
Kestrel, you never actually answered my question "Alternately, can Combofix, MGTools etc be used on the drive while it's in the external enclosure, attached to my good XP computer? Remember RootRepeal DID find MBR rootkits that way." I gather that's a negative.
No, not really, it would not give us enough information that way. I think its for the best that you head off to software as suggested and then if you get back up and running I will continue to assist here.
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  #8  
Old 06-07-11, 18:30
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Default Re: XP won't boot, even to safe mode.

OK, it's working now, thanks to sach2 in the hardware forum. To summarize, the owner hadn't informed me that he and a friend had tried a nondestructive recovery, which never finished. It could not finish, and was giving the "The system is not fully installed. Please run setup again" message until I renamed the existing SetRes.log to SetRes.log.old, and created a new blank doc with the same name -this allowed it to finish the nondestructive recovery.

SAS found only tracking cookies; I won't attach the log. MBAM found some "rogue links" only. I don't see anything obvious in the other logs, but you might.
Attached Files
File Type: txt mbam-log-2011-06-07 (14-38-39).txt (1.6 KB, 1 views)
File Type: txt RootRepeal.txt (732 Bytes, 1 views)
File Type: txt Combofix log.txt (16.0 KB, 1 views)
File Type: zip MGlogs.zip (123.7 KB, 1 views)
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  #9  
Old 06-07-11, 18:52
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Default Re: XP won't boot, even to safe mode.

Quote:
OK, it's working now, thanks to sach2
Ahh thanks sach2!! Reviewing the logs now.

Quote:
SAS found only tracking cookies
You should attach the log anyway.
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  #10  
Old 06-07-11, 19:04
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Default Re: XP won't boot, even to safe mode.

Now we need to use ComboFix
  • Make sure that combofix.exe that you downloaded while doing the READ & RUN ME is on your Desktop but Do not run it!
    • If it is not on your Desktop, the below will not work.
  • Also make sure you have shut down all protection software (antivirus, antispyware...etc) or they may get in the way of allowing ComboFix to run properly.
  • If ComboFix tells you it needs to update to a new version, make sure you allow it to update.
  • Open Notepad and copy/paste the text in the below quote box. Ensure you scroll down to select ALL the lines:
Code:
KILLALL::

File::
C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\23256868
C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\muui32clp1xb41do30186g73wxfgt8irp431q23v6s78nf
C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\~23256868
C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\~23256868r
C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\SIGNUP\SET139.tmp
C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\SIGNUP\SET198.tmp
  • Save the above as CFscript.txt and make sure you save it to the same location (should be on your Desktop) as ComboFix.exe
  • At this point, you MUST EXIT ALL BROWSERS NOW before continuing!
  • You should have both the ComboFix.exe and CFScript.txt icons on your Desktop.
  • Now use your mouse to drag CFscript.txt on top of ComboFix.exe



  • Follow the prompts.
  • When it finishes, a log will be produced named c:\combofix.txt
  • I will ask for this log below

Note:

Do not mouseclick combofix's window while it is running. That may cause it to stall.

If after running Combofix you discover none of your programs will open up, and you recieve the following error: "Illegal operation attempted on a registry key that has been marked for deletion". Then the answer is to REBOOT the machine, and all will be corrected.


Now run the C:\MGtools\GetLogs.bat file by double clicking on it. (Right click and run as admin if using Vista or Windows7) Then attach the new C:\MGlogs.zip file that will be created by running this.

Let me know of any problems you may have encountered with the above instructions and also let me know how things are running now!
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  #11  
Old 06-07-11, 20:22
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Default Re: XP won't boot, even to safe mode.

Two logs attached.

I can't really tell you yet how it's running.
(I did have a problem with Windows Update earlier -it failed one of the first updates to itself, without giving an obvious reason. But I'll see if it works now)
Attached Files
File Type: log SUPERAntiSpyware Scan Log - 06-07-2011 - 13-46-42.log (1.3 KB, 2 views)
File Type: zip MGlogs.zip (125.5 KB, 1 views)
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  #12  
Old 06-08-11, 00:59
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Default Re: XP won't boot, even to safe mode.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rtxx View Post
(I did have a problem with Windows Update earlier -it failed one of the first updates to itself, without giving an obvious reason. But I'll see if it works now)
Well, that was a pain! KB 898461 would not install, apparently required for further Windows Updates to proceed. Not a malware problem, but a Microsoft problem. Here's most of the solution for that one:
http://support.microsoft.com/default...en-us%3B914229
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  #13  
Old 06-08-11, 18:11
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Default Re: XP won't boot, even to safe mode.

Well, the logs look good to me. Ready for final steps?
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Old 06-08-11, 19:47
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Default Re: XP won't boot, even to safe mode.

...and now having failures on all the rest of the Windows Updates. Access denied??? Looks like I get to try the SubInACL fix; I'm glad at least the malware removal part went smoothly.

So, yes, please show me the final steps.

Thank you!
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Old 06-08-11, 19:49
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Default Re: XP won't boot, even to safe mode.

You're welcome.

If you are not having any other malware problems, it is time to do our final steps:
  1. We recommend you keep SUPERAntiSpyware and Malwarebytes Anti-Malware for scanning/removal of malware. Unless you purchase them, they provide no protection. They do not use any significant amount of resources ( except a little disk space ) until you run a scan.
  2. If we had you use ComboFix, uninstall ComboFix (This uninstall will only work as written if you installed ComboFix on your Desktop like we requested.)
    • Click START then RUN and enter the below into the run box and then click OK. Note the quotes are required
    • "%userprofile%\Desktop\combofix" /uninstall
      • Notes: The space between the combofix" and the /uninstall, it must be there.
      • This will uninstall ComboFix and also reset hidden files and folders settings back to Windows defaults.
  3. Go back to step 6 of the READ ME and renable your Disk Emulation software with Defogger if you had disabled it.
  4. Any other miscellaneous tools we may have had you install or download can be uninstalled and deleted.
  5. If we had you download any registry patches like fixme.reg or fixWLK.reg (or any others), you can delete these files now.
  6. If running Vista, it is time to make sure you have reenabled UAC by double clicking on the C:\MGtools\enableUAC.reg file and allowing it to be added to the registry.
  7. Go to add/remove programs and uninstall HijackThis.
  8. Goto the C:\MGtools folder and find the MGclean.bat file. Double click on this file to run this cleanup program that will remove files and folders
    related to MGtools and some other items from our cleaning procedures.
  9. If you are running Win 7, Vista, Windows XP or Windows ME, do the below:
    • Refer to the cleaning procedures pointed to by step 7 of the READ ME
      for your Window version and see the instructions to Disable System Restore which will flush your Restore Points.
    • Then reboot and Enable System Restore to create a new clean Restore Point.
  10. After doing the above, you should work thru the below link:
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  #16  
Old 06-16-11, 21:32
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Default Re: XP won't boot, even to safe mode.

FINALLY got Windows Update to work with no failures, so everything seems to be working normally now. I have one last question:

When ComboFix set up the option for the Recovery Console (in the operating system choices, when booting), it apparently put a 3rd entry in there, "Do not select this (debugger enabled)". I'm just curious if you can tell me about that. Did ComboFix really put that in here (It didn't happen before when I used ComboFix. Or maybe I just didn't notice it before)? What is it for, what does it do?

Thanks very much!
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  #17  
Old 06-17-11, 09:26
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Default Re: XP won't boot, even to safe mode.

Yes Combofix put it there. It's useful if you ever need to debug (perform administrative tasks, disable /enable services etc...) from the recovery console.
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