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  1. #1
    Bronze Lounger
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    Various Programs Won't Run (XP-Pro)

    I'm trying to help someone with a Dell Inspiron laptop running XP-Pro, and I am facing some very wierd problems. Here are the symptoms:

    1. Upon booting up nothing happens when clicking on various program icons such as Outlook Express, Internet Explorer, etc.. Also, going to Accessories, System Tools, and clicking on, say, Disk Cleanup, nothing happens. Task manager runs, but none of the programs I attempt to start show up as a process.

    2. Figuring that some background task was causing the problem I got into Task Manager and started deleting tasks. When I deleted dwin.exe I found that Outlook Express would run. It would successfully download new email messages indicating that the cable connection to the Internet was working. Internet Explorer would open, but then it hangs as it seemingly cannot connect to the Internet. Furthermore, programs such as Disk Cleanup still wouldn't work at all.

    3. I installed Norton AV 2004, downloaded the latest virus definitions and ran it -- it found three problems, two of which were some type of spyware, and it suggests you click on the spyware name to go to the internet to get instructions. However, it wouldn't connect to the internet (as, I believe, it was trying to run IE6.0, and that doesn't work). I tried to register Norton, but it couldn't connect to the Internet.

    4. In installed and ran Ad-Aware and Spy-Bot and ran both. Each one found several problems and I had them deleted.

    5. I also discovered a background process running called wuauclt.ext that showed up on the Symantec site. Symantec had instructions on deleting it from the registry, but it was not located where Symantec said I should find it. I found it in another place, but was hesitant to delete it without knowing for sure if I should.

    All of the above sitll hasn't resolved the basic problem, i.e. I can't get anything but Task Manager to run until I use it to delete the dwin.exe process. Even then, it seems to pop back up now and then.

    Needless to say, I am terribly frustrated with not being able to detect the problem. Any recommendations as to what might be the cause and cure?

  2. #2
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Various Programs Won't Run (XP-Pro)

    This may not be the most popular answer, but if I had a system that was that badly infested I would back up any data files and then start again with a clean installation. I would then make sure I had the full set of anti-virus and anti-spyware tools installed before restoring the data.

    StuartR

  3. #3
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    Re: Various Programs Won't Run (XP-Pro)

    I'm afraid I agree with Stuart (if you see what I mean!).

    The amount of time and effort you will spend on investigating and eradicating some fairly unknown and probably messy problems will far outweigh the time required to do a very thorough backup of data, a reformat of the hard drive, and a reinstall. The former method does not guarantee success; the latter method (probably!) does.

    Here I am relying on the philosophical principle known as "Occam's Razor", which, when somewhat paraphrased, states:
    "Where there are a number of possible solutions to a problem, the simplest is usually the best"

    Sorry!

    John

    PS The philosophers among us will not need to access this explanation, but may not know that its author, "William of Occam", came from a village called Ockham, near Ripley, in Surrey, just off the A3, which runs in a south-westerly direction from London...
    <font face="Script MT Bold"><font color=blue><big><big>John</big></big></font color=blue></font face=script>

    Ita, esto, quidcumque...

  4. #4
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    Re: Various Programs Won't Run (XP-Pro)

    Illustration to JohnGray's post:

    It usually takes me 4-5 hours to install Windows, Office and about 30 other programs "from scratches".

    Once it took me 15 hours to clean badly infected computer (the process ran overnight).

  5. #5
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    Re: Various Programs Won't Run (XP-Pro)

    Thanks to everyone for the advice. I finally located the man's original XP disk and did a repair/reinstall. That fixed the problem. I really suspect that he had a virus or worm, as he didn't have any anti-virus software installed. I got him to purchase Norton and I installed that for him along with installing Ad-Aware and SpyBot. Hopefully that will keep him from having similar troubles in the future.

  6. #6
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    Re: Various Programs Won't Run (XP-Pro)

    Excellent news, Chuck! Particularly good that you put on some antivirus software (I hope that also included a firewall?).

    You will now be marked out as "the computer expert"...!!

    John
    <font face="Script MT Bold"><font color=blue><big><big>John</big></big></font color=blue></font face=script>

    Ita, esto, quidcumque...

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