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Windows XP GUI Becomes Unresponsive

Discussion in 'Software' started by ict76, Feb 20, 2011.

  1. ict76

    ict76 Private E-2

    I just finished the malware removal guide. No infections were found and I was told to start a thread in the Software forum. malware removal link

    Problem Synopsis:
    When I boot into Normal mode in WinXP, the system stops responding (can't load programs, task manager, etc). I can only shut the system down by pressing and holding the power button. The GUI is responsive at first, but after a minute or two it stops responding. I can boot into safe mode and that was what I used to run through the malware removal guide. After finishing the guide I still get the same symptoms when booting into Normal mode.

    Any suggestions?
  2. TimW

    TimW MajorGeeks Administrator - Jedi Malware Expert Staff Member

    First go to msconfig and disable all your startup programs. See if that makes a difference.
  3. ict76

    ict76 Private E-2

    I disabled all startup programs using msconfig and rebooted. It didn't help. I did notice on the first boot that I waited to log in (nature called) and that time it stalled after accepting the login and at the point were it is loading your personal settings (before loading the GUI). I had to power cycle the system and tried again. This time I logged in right away, waited 30 seconds, and then tried to load Avast Antivirus. It just sits there with the hourglass next to the cursor.
  4. Caliban

    Caliban I don't need no steenkin' title!

    Greetings, ict76.

    I just read through your logs, but I feel that we need some more info from you. What's the make and model # of your machine?

    Also, if possible, please download and run Everest, a free system information tool.

    When the program opens, click 'Report > Quick Report - All pages > Plain text'.

    When the scan completes, click 'Save to file', name the file 'Report', and save to an easily found location, such as your Desktop.

    Then attach that file to your next post.

    Also, is the machine fairly responsive while in Safe Mode?
  5. ict76

    ict76 Private E-2

    My laptop's is a Lenovo Thinkpad R61i (Machine-Type Model: 8932-A54).
    I'm running Windows XP SP3.
    I downloaded Everest and am running the report. It seems to be taking a while on the DirectX sections. The machine seems to respond normally when run in Safe Mode. I'll attach the report file when it finishes.
  6. ict76

    ict76 Private E-2

    Here's the report from Everest.

    Attached Files:

  7. Caliban

    Caliban I don't need no steenkin' title!

    Now I know why I don't like Everest - it's not showing installed software, processes, etc.

    If you don't mind, download and run Free PC Audit, which is a stand-alone info tool. When the report finishes, save the text file and attach it here.

    Sorry about the confusion - just trying to get a handle on what's going on with your machine.

    Also, do you have a valid XP installation disk?
  8. ict76

    ict76 Private E-2

    Here's the PC Audit report.
    I'll look around, but I'm pretty sure I don't have an WinXP installation disk.

    Attached Files:

  9. Caliban

    Caliban I don't need no steenkin' title!

    Thank you for the report.

    Are you connected to the internet when you try to start the machine in Normal Mode? If so, try disconnecting completely (cables, wireless, etc.) and boot to Normal Mode, see if your symptoms change.
  10. ict76

    ict76 Private E-2

    I powered the machine down, unplugged the Ethernet cable, and turned off the wireless radio via the hardware switch. When I then booted into Normal mode the symptoms did not change.
  11. Caliban

    Caliban I don't need no steenkin' title!

    One thing that jumps at me from your report is that you only have 20g of free space.

    I'm also seeing a Lenovo Rescue and Recovery entry: have you made Rescue and Recovery disks for this machine?

    Unfortunately, one thing I'm not seeing is an obvious cause for your issues. Have you checked your Device Manager for any hardware flags? And, are all of your device drivers current?
  12. ict76

    ict76 Private E-2

    I copied the contents of the My Documents folder to a external hard drive and then deleted the contents of the My Music folder which freed up another 28g. I rebooted into Normal mode and the symptoms remained.

    I powered down and then booted back into Safe mode. I then ran the Thinkvantage Create Recovery Media program and used the same external hard drive.

    I don't see any hardware flags in the device manager.
    Is there an easy way to check if the device drivers are current, other than going through each one in the device manager?
  13. Caliban

    Caliban I don't need no steenkin' title!

    There are programs dedicated to finding driver updates (many are listed here), but I don't use them and cannot recommend them.

    I'm kind of grasping at straws with the driver angle, anyway - without a Windows disk, it's going to be somewhat problematic to try to repair Windows, which is the direction I think this issue is heading.

    Be patient - maybe some of the gurus here will jump on board and lend a hand.
  14. ict76

    ict76 Private E-2

    I went through the drivers and found the following devices had newer drivers available.

    TouchChip Fingerprint Coprocessor
    ThinkPad UltraNAV
    Intel PRO/Wireless 3945ABG
    Broadcomm NetLink Gigabit Ethernet

    I was able to update the Broadcomm driver, but the Intel setup program I downloaded to update its drivers wouldn't run in Safe mode.
  15. TimW

    TimW MajorGeeks Administrator - Jedi Malware Expert Staff Member

    Do you have the install code sticker on the machine? I am thinking that you may need to borrow an XP disc ( making sure it is the same version as what you have ) and do a repair install. You won't need the code to do a repair install. But you would to do a clean install if the repair install doesn't help.
  16. ict76

    ict76 Private E-2

    Yes the install code sticker is still on the bottom of the laptop. I've been trying to find out if one of my friends has the XP Pro installation dvd, but haven't heard back from anyone yet.
  17. TimW

    TimW MajorGeeks Administrator - Jedi Malware Expert Staff Member

    The only thing that keeps running through my head is ZoneAlarm. I wonder if uninstalling it will make a difference. Keep looking to borrow a disc. :)
  18. ict76

    ict76 Private E-2

    I uninstalled ZoneAlarm and booted into Normal Mode and things seem to have improved. I was able to load Avast and update the virus definitions, which was something I couldn't do earlier. I also got a notice from Windows Update that an update was downloading and it installed without any problems. I just completed the reboot after installing the Windows Update and got a notification for more updates which I'm downloading now.
  19. ict76

    ict76 Private E-2

    So I finished with the Windows Updates, now what?
  20. Caliban

    Caliban I don't need no steenkin' title!

    What are your symptoms?
  21. ict76

    ict76 Private E-2

    Uninstalling ZoneAlarm seems to have fixed the problems I was experiencing (GUI becomes unresponsive).

    I was asked to disable all of the startup items using msconfig. Should I now enable all of them?

    I noticed that there is still an entry in the list of startup items for the zlclient (C:\Program Files\Zone Labs\ZoneAlarm\zlclient.exe). I checked and the Zone Labs folder was removed when I uninstalled ZoneAlarm.

    If ZoneAlarm was causing the problem, should I use another software firewall and what one do you guys recommend?
  22. TimW

    TimW MajorGeeks Administrator - Jedi Malware Expert Staff Member

    Yes, you can re-enable your start up programs in msconfig. But you might want to try doing it a few at a time to make sure your issues don't return. You should also run CCleaner to remove any remnants of ZoneAlarm.

    I might suggest you try Comodo as your firewall. But only the firewall portion.

    Good to know things are back to normal. :)
  23. ict76

    ict76 Private E-2

    So I went through the list of startup items in msconfig, enabled it, and then rebooted (with the exception of zlclient.exe). I made it through the entire list without any of the previous problems occurring. The only unusual thing I noticed was that Avast Antivirus didn't didn't start on its own (I don't see its icon in the system tray). I can double-click on the desktop icon and it loads and seems to function correctly. I combed through the setting in Avast and didn't see an option to start up with Windows. Under Basic Settings, I still have the box checked for "Show avast! tray icon". What do I need to do to get avast to load when Windows starts up?

    I then ran CCleaner as you suggested and then rebooted. I still see the entry for zlclient.exe in the startup items list. Is this something I should remedy and how do you suggest I fix it?

    Lastly, I have a question about the Windows Recovery Console entry in my Boot.ini file. Should this have been cleared out during the cleanup process of the malware removal guide? Is it okay for me to still have this setup?

    Thanks again to all of the folks that have been working on this!!! I've learned somethings along the way. Your help has been very appreciated and saved me loads of money.
  24. Caliban

    Caliban I don't need no steenkin' title!

    For the avast! bug, check your Services list (Start > Run > services.msc), make sure the avast! service is set to Automatic.

    The Recovery Console entry in your boot.ini file is not going to hurt anything - I'd suggest leaving it there for a while until you're absolutely sure the machine is running well.

    As far as the zlclient.exe - can you find the file? If so, try renaming it to something like zlclient2.exe, reboot, and see if any problems arise and if a new entry is made in the Startup list. If everything's kosher, and a new entry is not made, I'd say it's safe to delete the file. If, however, a new startup entry is made for 'zlclient.exe', then there is some registry key calling for the program, and we'll have to dig it out.
  25. ict76

    ict76 Private E-2

    I checked and the avast antivirus service is set to automatic and in msconfig's services tab it shows as running - this is after a reboot and I haven't double-clicked on the desktop icon, and its icon doesn't show up in the system tray.

    I did a search for a file containing the term "zlclient", including hidden and system files/folders, and it didn't find any file with that in the name. I opened regedit and did a search for "zlclient" and the only thing that showed up was from the file search history.
  26. Caliban

    Caliban I don't need no steenkin' title!

    Is the MSConfig > Startup entry for 'zlclient.exe' checked or unchecked?

    And, go back into RegEdit, and find HKLM > Software > Microsoft > Shared Tools > MSConfig > startupfolder and > startupreg - are any entries there?
  27. ict76

    ict76 Private E-2

    Yes, the entry for 'zlclient.exe' is checked.

    Both are empty.
  28. Caliban

    Caliban I don't need no steenkin' title!


    Couple of things you might try:

    1. Download Revo Uninstaller, create a Restore Point, run the program and see if it can scrub any leftover ZA fragments.

    2. If the entry still remains after the scrub, and it 's still bothering you enough to just delete it, grab Startup CPL, which will install as a Control Panel applet, create a Restore Point, and delete the MSConfig entry (make sure you look at all of the program's tabs).
  29. ict76

    ict76 Private E-2

    Revo didn't find it so I used StartupCPL to delete it.

    What about the avast antivirus service not starting? Services shows it as automatic startup. Should I try stopping it and then restarting? Or something else?

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