Posts Tagged ‘Spyware’

Fixing picture non display in Windows Explorer Thumbnails preview

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

I've been called to one of secretary PCs running Windows 7 with complain that pictures are no longer visible with Thumbnail preview.
The problem is pretty trivial but with today''s Viruses boom, my first logical reaction was it is caused by some Virus or Spyware. After scanning thoroughfully the PC and finding nothing suspicious in msconfig I remembered to check in Windows Explorer Folder Options and this was it. Problem can be fixed by tuning Windows Explorer Folder Options settings. By default Folder Options menu is not visible in Windows 7 so to display menu first  had to press Alt+F.

After pressing Alt+F navigate to:

Tools -> Folder Options -> View (tab) -> Untick (Always show icons, never thumbnails)

Windows explorer Folder Options Show View always show icons never thumbnails ticked screenshot

Windows explorer Folder options View always show icons unticked solve thumbnails preview problem screenshot

That's all Apply new settings and its resolved, pictures will be visible in Explorer and Desktop again 🙂


Fixing enter not working in Skype 6 – Skype cannot send message bug on Windows XP

Sunday, March 10th, 2013

Skype how to fix enter not sending messages in Skype6 downgrade to Skype5 windows XP
Yesterday, I had to fix another Windows XP computer infested with Spyware and Viruses. Thanksfully I cleaned it up as usual using standard combination of Malware Bytes + Little Registry Cleaner and Avira. The PC haven't been updated recently and running still Windows XP SP2, thus to make Avira running I had to install SP3 as Avira nowdays depends on Win SP3. After clean up it worked much better, though it is not 100% sure if some kind of malicious software is still not on PC.
After all seemed fine on this Russian Windows XP, there was one thing still problematic – Skype. For some weird reason whenever user from Skype contact list is messaged, it was impossible to send the message with Enter key. I tried checking if all seems fine in Keyboard Settings and Regional Settings in Windows Control Center, cause XP version was with Russian Language Pack and I suspected the Language Pack might mess up something in how Keyboard keys are mapped but all seemed fine there. One important note to make here is PC is running on old hardware and had an old standard PS/2 Keyboard detected as PS/2 – 101 – 102 keys standard keyboard. I tried re-installing the keyboard driver, trying to auto-detect however driver detected for this keyboard seemed to be latest issued for PS/2 Keyboards from Microsoft so after update Skype can't send message bug was still present and respectively the only way to communicate with people from contact list was to Call the person and speak. I researched online on the problem and found a multitude of users complaining to face the same Skype messaging – Enter key not working, unfortunately noone online seemed to have found a solution. I've seen some suggestions to use Skype settings to re-map Enter key but on this Skype the option to remap how Enter key reacts wasn't present. Thus I decided to try to downgrade Skype 6 to Skype 5 here is a mirror of Skype 5 -and try if this helps. After Uninstalling Skype 6 and installing Skype 5 – enter key started working again so mission accomplished 🙂 If you happen to have the annoying Enter key not working in skype bug just downgrade to any below version to 6 and all will be fine. Drop me a comment if you experience the same bug with Win and Skype version.
Finally, be sure not to upgrade further Skype to avoid problems. Last but not least, there is even some advantages in older skype releases, the interface is simpler – making work with skype easier.

Fix to sfc /scannow (System File Checker) error “The specific code is 0x000006ba [The RPC Server is unavailable.] “

Friday, December 14th, 2012

I had to fix one Windows XP computer today. The computer was in a terrible state (meak to say), the system was hanging during boot,

None of Windows recovery modes worked,  except when running it through:

Windows Safe Mode (With Command Prompt) mode (pressing F8 before Windows boot with Windows flag screen).

I followed some Usual commands to repair broken Windows XP, as the system was hanging during boot there was obviously some issues with corrupt by Viruses and Malware system binary (.exe) files or some .DLL was substituted in (C:WindowsSystem32 and C:WindowsSystem32DllCacache) with a trojanned version by some "bad ware". 

Thus the logical thing to do was to try:

sfc /scannow

from Safe Mode's cmd prompt. Instead of starting its work as usual System File Checker spitted an error:

Windows File Protection could not be initiate a scan of protected system files. 
The specific code is 0x000006ba [The RPC Server is unavailable.]

You can guess my amazement as I see this error for a first time in my life. Actually I don't remember if I run System File Checker scan from a Safe Mode With only Command Prompt ever so I'm not sure if this error was caused by some Virus activity which broke up the Win host, or it is due to the fact RCP Services are not loaded in Safe Mode – With Command Prompt Only.

As the message implies RCP Server is not running and sfc depends on it.

The reason for the error is Windows File Protection (WFP) was disabled by some of the Spyware or Viruses which infested the poor Win PC.

As the problem consisted in unworking RPC Services I tried launching RPC manually with command:

> net start rpcss  

This unfortunately did not succeeded (dunno why).

I've later seen another fix pointed on a couple of forums around, which is using Registry to enable SFC.

Re-enabling SFC is done by:

1. Launching regedit

2. Once launched go to the following reg settings (sub-values)

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionWinlogon

Use modify on it and change value to be "0"
3. Restart windows and launch again Safe Mode With (Command Prompt Only)

There execute:

> sfc /purgecache
> sfc /scannow

This solves it however, as you never can be sure if the Install time .DLLs are not already rootkited by the Virus-es and Spywares which "posessed" the computer. It is generally a good idea to Launch the Windows Install CD, recovery console and launch SFC using it, or even try using the Windows CD (Repair) mode. Though this is a temporary work around, this system will need a re-install in very short future, or it will most likely came in the same broken state in a very while – I don't believe such an infested computer can be "cured" except with a clean CD Windows re-install.
If this method didn't work for you but something else worked for you, whether you had to fix a Win PC please drop a comment with the solution.

Little Registry Cleaner (Free Software / Open Source Windows XP Registry Cleaner)

Saturday, December 17th, 2011

Little Registry Cleaner - Free and Open Source Software Windows XP Registry cleaner / Alternative to Registry Booster
Have you ever wondered, if there is a free (open source) software that could fix Windows XP registry irregularities e.g. (obsolete or unwanted items that build up in the registry over time.)?

I did not either until now, however when I had to fix, few Windows XP computers which was not maintained for a long time fixing the Windows registry was necessery to make the sluggerish computers improve their overall stability and performance.

The reasons of the slowness in computers who run for a long time by users who does not have a "computer culture" are obvious.
Windows programs which has incorrectly placed registry records withint the Windows registry database, Programs which on Uninstall / Removal left behind a lot of registry records just to hang around because of impotent (coders), or records created on purpose on program uninstall to intentionally further track the user behavior etc.
Other reasons why Windows registry gots bloated with time, are due to Malware or polymorphic Viruses which load them selves everytime on Windows load using some obscure registry records.

Though I'm not a big proprietary software lover still my job as a system administrator , enforces me to fix some broken Windowses.
I haven't fixed Windows machines for a long time, so my memories on programs that clean up registry are from my young years.

The software, I've used before to fix Windows 2000 / XP Registry was:

1. Registry Booster

From my current perspective of a free software hobbyist / evangelist it was important for me to clean up the Windows PCs with a program that is Free or Open Source Software.
When I'm asked to fix some Windows computer I always do my best to make most of the programs that roll on the PC to be FOSS.

Using FOSS instead of downloading from torrents, some cracked software has multiple benefits.

1. Usually Free Software is more stable and more robust2. FOSS software for Windows usually does not come with Malware / Spyware as many of the cracked proprietary software

3. Free and Open Source Programs are simplistic in interface and way of use

A bit of research if there is a Free (Open Source) Software immediately lead me to a program called Little Registry Cleaner
You can see a screenshot of the program in the beginning of the article, the program is very easy to install and use and uses some .NET framework classes so right before installing it installs .NET library (code).

The use results of Little Registry Cleaner were amazing. Even though it is a free software the program found and fixed more registry problems than its competitor Windows Registry Booster! 😉

Cleaning Packard Bell Hera GL laptop running Windows XP from Viruses and Spyware (Viruses / Spyware which can make CD drive and Wireless seem unworking)

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

Packard Bell Hera GL Fixing Broken RaLink Wireless

Yesterday, one (girl)friend of mine brought me one Packard Bell notebook, which had a 2 years old Windows installed on it.
As one can imagine Windows XP on it is full of Spyware and Viruses. Besides the software problems the notebook had some hardware problems with the CD / DVD which is not reading CD / DVDs at all.

Initially I thought, the CD unable to read problems are caused by the infected Windows, however even restarting the PC with a bootable Hirens BootCD and a Whoppix liveCD and trying to boot from it failed this convinced me its a CD / DVD combo drive hardware failure.

By the way, I’ve just recently found out about Nixory – Is a nice Free Software Open Source AntiSpyware tool for Firefox, IE and Chrome.

Nixory Windows XP Screenshot

I hope it will get a sharp development and soon, when some friend asks me to fix his stupid non free-Windows PC, I would not have to use a trial version of Malware Bytes but directly use only Nixory

Anyways after using Nixory, MalwareBytes and Avira and thoroughfully scanned the system in Safe Mode and found and deleted some 15 Spyware / Viruses and tampered a bit with the Wireless Driver settings all the notebook devices started working fine again.

The wireless had also one really odd problem on this Packard BellHera GL, even though the notebook wireless antenna was capable of detecting all the wireless networks it couldn’t properly connect to any of it but failed to get proper IP addresses.
Partially the unable to grab an IP via wireless router dhcp server got fixed by using the Wireless restart Button (located on the Notebook corpus).
However even after cleaning up the Virus and Spyware the Wireless Networks connectivity problems on this Packard Bell continued, until I changed also few settings in the Control PanelI never thought Viruses / Spyware infected can have some bad impact on Wireless Card and CD drive make them unsusable though they showed like working correctly in Windows Control Panel -> System ??

In the meantime I reinstalled the Wireless Driver for the notebook, the Wireless card on the notebook was showing up itself under the name of Ralink 802.11n Wireless Lan Card in Windows Device Manager

After re-installing the wireless driver I had to also change few settings for the Wireless Network Connection using the menus Properties -> Configure -> Extended; therein everywhere for each Value I make it be Enable and for Power Saving Mode , I’ve choose the Value option of CAM

After a system reboot, everything started working finally fine. One last thing to add is that before I fixed the Ralink wireless to work under Windows, I tried to use a Bootable Linux LiveCD but even there the wireless was failing to connect to the wireless networks (maybe this shit wireless device has some issues with its Linux drivers).