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  1. #1
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    Windows Firewall will not start

    This morning there was a warning on one of our machines running XP Home, SP3, that the firewall was off. I went through the steps to enable it, but got "Could not turn on Windows Firewall.... To turn on manually go to Control Panel."

    In Control Panel selecting Windows Firewall I got, The firewall settings cannot be displayed because the service is not running. Do you want to start the service?" Clicking YES brings up, "Windows cannot start Windows Firewall."

    Have run CCleaner and got rid of some junk, not a huge amount, and am presenty scanning with Malwarebytes. Any suggestions as to what would disable the firewall which has always been on? Also any other scan I should do?

    David

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  3. #2
    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    You may have picked up some Malware. Download and run Malwarebytes.

    Jerry

  4. #3
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Some malware could potentially disable a firewall, so I would recommend a full system sweep with your current AV/AM.
    I would also recommend downloading the latest MBAM free edition and complete a full scan as well.

    In Windows XP check to ensure that all related security center services are set to full automatic, including the services associated with the default Windows firewall.
    Type "services.msc" without the quotes into the run box to bring up the services section.

    It has also been well known that the default XP firewall is inadequate, a third party firewall and a hardware router capable of handling the job would
    be far better than relying on XP's default firewall.

  5. #4
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    Thanks for the replies. The Malawarebytes (latest version) found just one problem, PUM.Highjack.StartMenu, which it removed. The Automatic Updates and Security Center are on Automatic and Started. After a re-boot the firewall started normally and that seems to have cleared the problem

    I do know that the XP firewall is less than perfect, but... I would install Comodo, but this is my wife's machine, and anything like a popup asking "Do you want to allow..." throws her for a loop. (At heart she's a pencil and paper sort of person, so even looking at a keyboard tends to make her nervous, too many keys.) So that's why I keep using the default firewall.

    Thanks for your suggesions,

    David

  6. #5
    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    I know I'm in the minority here but I don't use any other firewalls other than the Windows Firewall and the hardware firewall in my router. I find that using MSE along side the Windows firewall and common sense responses to Internet popups and phishing Emails (never click on a Email link. Open a browser and type it in the address bar) is protection enough. I have also found third party firewalls can cause usage problems from time to time. Whenever I have to trouble shoot a network or internet problem with one of my clients, one of the first things I do is disable any third party firewalls.

    Jerry

  7. #6
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    Thanks for the inputs. Malaware found PUM.Highjack.StartMenu and deleted it. After a re-boot all was well, but now I'm wondering how she could have picked it up. The only e-mails she gets or sends are to family and friends, never gets spam, the only surfing has been for recipes and baby items on Craig's list. Hardly hardcore stuff! And why MSE, updated automatically, didn't block it in the first place?

    David

  8. #7
    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    New malware is created constantly. No single antivirus or anti malware program will catch everything.
    Hard to tell where the malware was picked up. Even reputable sites get infected from time to time. Places like recipe sites will have ad links as revenue generators that can sometimes have hijack links buried in them. Email messages from friends and relatives can unknowingly pass malware as well when they pass on links.

    Jerry

  9. #8
    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhinoceros View Post
    Thanks for the replies. The Malawarebytes (latest version) found just one problem, PUM.Highjack.StartMenu, which it removed. The Automatic Updates and Security Center are on Automatic and Started. After a re-boot the firewall started normally and that seems to have cleared the problem

    I do know that the XP firewall is less than perfect, but... I would install Comodo, but this is my wife's machine, and anything like a popup asking "Do you want to allow..." throws her for a loop. (At heart she's a pencil and paper sort of person, so even looking at a keyboard tends to make her nervous, too many keys.) So that's why I keep using the default firewall.

    Thanks for your suggesions,

    David
    Set Comodo to Safe Mode, both for the firewall and for Defense Plus. This quiets down a lot of those annoying (and arcane) popups. I find under Windows XP Pro SP3 this has not compromised my security, as long as I also use MSE-4. Don't even bother with the Comodo Internet Security modules -- they don't have a good reputation and they are painfully slow to update. I also use the free Comodo DNS service, but that is strictly optional.

    Do Complete Scans with MBAM Free and at least one other stand-alone antispyware application (I like Super Antispyware Free) every week or two. These scans take several hours each. Maybe run one one week, and the other the next week, overnight in each case. With the option to shut down the computer after scanning, or just let the computer go into sleep or hibernate mode if you prefer.

    And that's it. Pretty simple actually, and very effective in my experience.

    Unless you can trace malware to a specific site or email message, it's best to just treat it and move on. If it doesn't keep reappearing that's the least hassle for the best outcome.
    Last edited by bobprimak; 2012-07-26 at 12:51.
    -- Bob Primak --

  10. #9
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    bobprimak is right. Need to schedule virus scan periodically.
    Fly-by infection is now common, even if you are not adventureous in web surfing. Some sites, and third parties riding on that site, their servers may have been infected themselves, thus spreading the malware. Post elsewhere here reports that this is the main spreading now, not by bad sites.
    I propose periodic scan via SD card or CD/DVD. You cannot write back to CD. This will prevent from modifying the anti-malware in the first place, before it even begins scanning. It also avoids in situation where malware blocks the installed anti-malware. SD card has a tiny switch on the side. This switch prevents from writing to the card.
    If you prefer, try portable apps anti-malware. They do not need to install (malware thus do not find and block it). You may even change the file name, such as adding underscore(s), "_" to the name of the exe file, to further avoid detection by malware.
    With portable app anti-malware, you can schedule scanning-disinfect. Some can shut down after scanning.

  11. #10
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    No minority - rather quiet majority

    @jwitalka

    I don't believe you are in the minority. IMHO in this forum people that "don't update Windows - ever" and need to "pay for third party anti virus" are a very vocal minority that simply drowns out the reasonable, silent majority.

    Many hundreds of my (mostly) totally computer illiterate customers are doing exceptionally well with the default Windows firewall and MSE, on XP, Vista and Win7.
    Eike J Heinze
    What I am about
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    In addition to making sure your AV program is up-to-date and doing regular scans, you need to make sure your Windows security updates are happening and the third-party programs you use. 90% of the viruses I have cleaned up on peoples' systems in the last several months have come from old versions of Java. It didn't matter if they had Norton, McAfee, Kaspersky, eset, Comodo, MSE, or several others...

    Java should be either version 6 update 33 or version 7 update 5 (and any older versions uninstalled), and for a novice's computer, it should be auto-updating (though she will still have to ok it). Adobe Flash Player should be on an 11.3 version with auto-update enabled. To a lesser degree, there are security risks with Adobe Reader (now at 10.1.3) and Quicktime (now at 7.72.80.56). In my experience, keeping these four (if they are installed in the first place) up to date, along with the routine AV checking mentioned earlier, has been sufficient to keep most machines virus-free.

    I have toyed with Secunia PSI as a way of keeping these programs up to date, but my sense is that it really isn't for novices. It took some system resources, and it didn't automatically update everything it was supposed to, so I had to do it myself anyway. My advice is to check her machine periodically for AV & firewall status, third-party updates, and for that adware that always seems to find a way to get in there.

    Also, I don't think it was mentioned, but as a rule after cleaning an infected system, I reset the defaults on the Windows firewall. If they have a third-party firewall, I will reset it if I can find where to do that, or else I will uninstall/reinstall.

  13. #12
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    A couple of days ago a novice user on my Windows7 machine inadvertently clicked on a dialog box supposedly from Adobe. She open a payload that installed a nasty Trojan disabling the A/V and the firewall. I manged to delete the virus (not easy) but the firewall would not turn on as discussed here. I tried to reboot among other things, but decided just to go and install Zone alarm and hope it wouldn't interfere too much with the operation of the computer. So far, it's working fine, now I need to figure out why MSE won't update, but that's another thread of course.

  14. #13
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    Update, Update, Update

    @Gomek:
    I bet that your Adobe Reader and/or your Java were not up-to-date when that happened.
    Adobe Reader should be at version7 update 5 and Adobe Reader at version 10.1.3.
    Eike J Heinze
    What I am about
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