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Problems running browser (do I have a virus?)
Thread poster: Geoffrey Barrow
Geoffrey Barrow
Local time: 11:43
Norwegian to English
Feb 25, 2004

Yesterday my back-up computer, a Pentium III running Windows 98, suddenly froze and could only be restarted using the reset button. On restarting, I got various strange messages telling me that no FAT could be found on the hard drive, and that I should go into the setup to correct problems. Of course, this doesn't help, as if you don't know what the problem is, there's no way you can find out how to fix it in the BIOS/CMS setup. If I skipped this, Windows appeared to start but I got a message telling me that file ltp.vxd could not be found and asking me where to find it. ell how on earth should I know where to find it? It couldn't be found on the Windows CD - what other options do I have? In the end I booted using a start-up disk and reinstalled Windows from the CD. Everything appeared to work fine, except that no driver could be found for the HP printer (Perhaps that is why a file called "lpt.vxd" couldn't be found?). OK, so I'll re-install the printer, so skip that for now. However, now everything appears to work except that as soon as I start Internet Explorer the system freezes - and can only be restarted by using the reset button. I tried Netscape, and the same thing happens!

Does anybody recognise these symptoms? Is this the work of some virus? (However I should point out that I have scanned the system using the latest PC-cillin pattern file and found nothing.) Does anybody have any idea as to why on earth starting a browser causes the system to crash and what I can do to get a browser to work on this machine again?

I would be grateful for any ideas anybody may have!

Geoff Barrow


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Hynek Palatin  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 17:43
English to Czech
+ ...
Virus or a HDD failure Feb 25, 2004

There are viruses that infect lpt.vxd:
http://www.bradford.ac.uk/lss/it-services/software/virusarchive1998.php (search for "Navrhar")
http://securityresponse.symantec.com/avcenter/venc/data/w97m.invert.b.html
and maybe more...

It could be also a hard disk failure. Try running ScanDisk. If it finds bad sectors, I recommend buying a new hard disk.

In any case, your OS seems to be corrupted. If I were you, I would backup the data, format the hard disk and reinstall Windows. Don't forget to scan the documents for viruses and apply all critical Windows patches. Without them, your computer will be infected in a few minutes after connecting to the Internet (unless you use a firewall).

If reinstalling Windows on a clean hard disk seems to be too drastical, you can try to reinstall only MS IE.


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Geoffrey Barrow
Local time: 11:43
Norwegian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Problems running browser (do I have a virus?) Feb 25, 2004

Thanks Hynek,

I have run Scandisk several times, and it finds nothing wrong with the hard drive, so I'm hoping that this is not the source of the problem. I'm still struggling however, but I'm also trying to finish a translation assignment on my main machine, so I haven't got very far yet. However, I'm beginning to wonder if you may be right and that the best plan is to format the disk and start from scratch..... Oh well, I seem to be getting fairly adept at formatting hard drives, having done it on two other machines in the last few weeks. Once you have managed to back up data you want (or alternatively accepted that the system is so loused up that you can't save anything) then it isn't really all that scary!

Cheers!
Geoff


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two2tango  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 12:43
Member
English to Spanish
+ ...
Try Spybot Feb 25, 2004

Your machine could be infested with spyware (not detected by antivirus because it is not viral in nature).

I suggest downloading and running the excellent (free) software Spybot, to be found at:
http://www.safer-networking.org/index.php?page=download

Even without serious symptoms, you are likely to be surprised by the amount of garbage your machine picks out there.

Cheers,
Enrique


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Geoffrey Barrow
Local time: 11:43
Norwegian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Problems running browser - still... Feb 26, 2004

two2tango wrote:

Your machine could be infested with spyware (not detected by antivirus because it is not viral in nature).

I suggest downloading and running the excellent (free) software Spybot, to be found at:
http://www.safer-networking.org/index.php?page=download

Even without serious symptoms, you are likely to be surprised by the amount of garbage your machine picks out there.

Cheers,
Enrique


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Geoffrey Barrow
Local time: 11:43
Norwegian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Problems running browser - still... Feb 26, 2004

Hi Enrique

Yes, don't I know it! I ran a free scan on my main machine recently and was shocked at what it found. Haven't had time to do much about it yet, though.

As for the other machine, I am still having trouble. At some point I got a message saying that the CMOS setup was wrong, so I went in there and restored the default CMOS and BIOS settings. I then actually got Windows up and running, and nothing appeared to be wrong. Scandisk did not find anything and I scanned with PC-cillin, which found no viruses. Then I tried Internet Explorer, and this time it worked! Just to be on the safe side, I went to PC-cillin's web site and ran the online virus scan. This appeared to work and no viruses were found. However, when the scan finished, the system froze with an egg-timer by the pointer. The weird thing is that when I moved the mouse, I got a buzzing sound from the PC! No, really, it made clicking sounds, and the faster I moved the mouse, the higher the frequency of the clicking!!!!

I guess this really is beginning to look like a virus? I tried calling PC-cillin's 1-800 number to see if they could confirm this based on the symptoms, but needless to say it is impossible to get a reply there. Anyway, I had to press the restart button to get out of this, and when Windows started, Scandisk ran, only this time it started a full surface scan, which it doesn't normally do. This is pretty slow - it started a couple of hours ago and is still only 16% complete. I guess I'll just let it go and see what happens.

Stay tuned....

Geoff


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Hynek Palatin  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 17:43
English to Czech
+ ...
HW problem Feb 26, 2004

Geoffrey Barrow wrote:

At some point I got a message saying that the CMOS setup was wrong, so I went in there and restored the default CMOS and BIOS settings. I then actually got Windows up and running, and nothing appeared to be wrong.


This sounds like a hardware problem. There is a battery that provides power for BIOS settings. Maybe it needs to be replaced.

BIOS settings contain, among other things, information about your hard disk. If this information is lost, the system will not recognize the disk or it may have problems accessing it. I think these are the symptoms you experienced.

Still, I would check the computer with another antivirus software, just to be sure (you can download a trial version).

However, when the scan finished, the system froze with an egg-timer by the pointer. The weird thing is that when I moved the mouse, I got a buzzing sound from the PC! No, really, it made clicking sounds, and the faster I moved the mouse, the higher the frequency of the clicking!!!!


It's normal when computer freezes. The information about mouse movements is being sent to some buffer, but no application is reading it and the computer issues warning beeps, because the buffer is full (note to other readers - please correct me if I'm wrong). It's similar to holding a key pressed for too long.

I recommend calling a professional. Otherwise you might spend too much time on this.


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Geoffrey Barrow
Local time: 11:43
Norwegian to English
TOPIC STARTER
CMOS battery Feb 27, 2004

Thanks Hynek, I think you may just be on to something there! I didn't think about the CMOS battery - but then we never do, do we? How many people ever even consider changing that thing? I have now researched this a bit and must say that the symptoms I am seeing do seem to point towards a dead battery. Another symptom I noticed was that the CMOS clock was wrong, by the way. However, Scandisk is still running the surface scan, which it started about 7 hours ago. Now that it's 77% complete, I may as well let it finish. That means that tomorrow morning I will be able to investigate the battery possibility.

Cheers!
Geoff


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