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  1. #1
    3 Star Lounger rcbjr2's Avatar
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    Task Manager Disappears/MSCONFIG Won't Run (Windows XP SP2)

    Recently, I noticed that Task Manager will not run on my WinXP machine. It appears when I press Ctrl-Alt-Del, but when I move my mouse, it disappears. I also can't seem to run MSCONFIG. When I try, it just never starts. I get an hour glass for a second, but then nothing. I can't check any running processes because I can't get Task Manager to stay on screen. I have Norton's Anti-Virus, Zone Alarm Firewall, and I run LavaSoft's Ad-Aware all the time. My thought is that I caught some type of virus. However, nothing is ever found when I run these programs. Any thoughts? I tried System Restore last night to go back a few weeks in case that would help, but it never would make any changes (I assume because the files were the same). Should I reinstall WinXP? Or run the Repair utility on the original WinXP CD? I suppose if I do, I'll be back at WinXP original and then have to re-run the SP2 update, correct? Thoughts??

    Thx.

    -Rich Belthoff

  2. #2
    Plutonium Lounger Leif's Avatar
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    Re: Task Manager Disappears/MSCONFIG Won't Run (Wi

    Does the event viewer show anything amiss happening?

    I'd try running the SP2 install again.

  3. #3
    3 Star Lounger rcbjr2's Avatar
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    Re: Task Manager Disappears/MSCONFIG Won't Run (Wi

    Can't see if it displays anything amiss because it doesn't really stay on screen. The little green icon appears in the system tray for a second, and then disappears. It was on screen previously until I moved the mouse, but it doesn't even do that anymore (just tried it again). It may be that it's disappearing because I now have other things running in the background taking up resources. In any event, I'll try the SP2 install again as my first step.

    Thx.

    -Rich

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    Plutonium Lounger Leif's Avatar
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    Re: Task Manager Disappears/MSCONFIG Won't Run (Wi

    Sorry - I meant the Event Viewer in:

    Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Event Viewer...

  5. #5
    3 Star Lounger rcbjr2's Avatar
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    Re: Task Manager Disappears/MSCONFIG Won't Run (Wi

    Oops! My mistake, I misunderstand. I'm looking at event viewer now, but not sure what I'm looking for. I've reinstalled SP2. I've pressed Ctrl-Alt-Del several times and Task Manager appears, but then disappears. The little green box sits in the system tray until I move my mouse near it and then it also disappears. However, as far as I can tell, no add'l entries are being made in event viewer when I try to run Task manager. I can tell you that there are no entries in the Security folder. There are multiple entries in the Application and System folders, but none with a date and time stamp at the current time as I try to run Task Manager (even if I refresh the display). So, I think I'd have to say that there are no events registering that are causing this problem, and reinstalling SP2 didn't fix it. Any other thoughts??

    Thx.

    -Rich

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    3 Star Lounger rcbjr2's Avatar
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    Re: Task Manager Disappears/MSCONFIG Won't Run (Wi

    Here is some more info. I poked around on the web and found some other people who have had this problem and the issue may be the w32.klez virus. However, one person indicated that he was able to go t a command prompt and run Tasklist to see what was running, and found some strange things. I've attached a screen shot of my running processes (I can't remember in DOS how to send the output of a command to a file or I would have attached a .TXT file). The ??xplorer.exe and hbba.exe seem strange to me. In fact, recently, ZoneAlarm asked if I should grant these programs access to the Web and I think I said no to both (although I can't find the hbba.exe in the ZoneAlarm list, but I can find ??xplorer.exe).

    Thx.

    -Rich

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    Re: Task Manager Disappears/MSCONFIG Won't Run (Wi

    I looked the list over and found some potentially disturbing results. "MSI4E.TMP -- A temp program running on your system raises a lot of spyware/virus suspicions. CTFMON can come from the SOWSAT.B worm or a CoolWebSearch infestation, though it is also a component of Office XP (information from Sysinfo.org). Some of the other programs raised suspicions due to their not being included in lists of startup programs (they list the legitimate ones as well as the less-than-legit, though I don't consider any list to be complete).

    I'd suggest taking a little stop at Trend Micro's Housecall for a free online virus scan. Also, Avast Antivirus has a free virus removal tool available for download. CWShredder, a tool specifically designed to fight the CoolWebSearch parasite, can now be downloaded from InterMute.

    On the lighter side, while trying to find out info on 'hbba.exe' I found an article accusing Ad-Aware and Spybot of being spyware themselves <img src=/S/rofl.gif border=0 alt=rofl width=15 height=15> -- "They work, because they LIKE to kill off the competition!"

  8. #8
    3 Star Lounger rcbjr2's Avatar
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    Re: Task Manager Disappears/MSCONFIG Won't Run (Wi

    Thanks for the reply. I ran Housecall the other day and it actually found 3 viruses missed by Norton's AV scan, although deleting them didn't help anything. I'll look at the other sites you mentioned. I think in the end I may need to just wipe out my hard drive and start all over, but I'm trying to avoid that if I can.

    Thx.

    -Rich.

  9. #9
    3 Star Lounger rcbjr2's Avatar
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    Re: Task Manager Disappears/MSCONFIG Won't Run (Wi

    I think I figured out the problem: WinMX.exe, whatever that is. I downloaded another process viewer, and after I killed WinMX, I was able to run TaskManager and MSCONFIG. I searched through the registry for WinMX, and thought I deleted them all, but it came back, so I changed the name of the file to WinMX.exe.old to see if that works. Do you know what WinMX might be? I thought it was something that Norton's downloaded the other day as an update, but maybe not.

    Thx.

    -Rich

  10. #10
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    Re: Task Manager Disappears/MSCONFIG Won't Run (Wi

    http://www.winmx.com/


    What is WinMX?
    WinMX is a FREE file-sharing program like no other. It allows you to connect, download, and share files with MILLIONS of other users through the decentralized WinMX Peer Network. Once WinMX is installed, you'll have access to one of the largest and most diverse networks of shared media files in the world. And unlike many other 'peer to peer' software providers, we respect your privacy and will never sell you out to spyware. When you download WinMX, you're getting WinMX and only WinMX, no bundled spyware, no ads, no B.S.

    Now running HP Pavilion a6528p, with Win7 64 Bit OS.

  11. #11
    3 Star Lounger rcbjr2's Avatar
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    Re: Task Manager Disappears/MSCONFIG Won't Run (Wi

    Thanks for the info. I never did find that on the web. I haven't installed it, and it's not in the Add/Remove Software listing in Control Panel, so I don't know how it got installed, probably through something my teenage son was doing, even maybe through AOL IM. It's also not listed on any menu in Start menus, so I don't know how it was supposed to work (unless it was just loading and letting others have access to my computer, which probably seems likely). All seems to be working OK now that I renamed winmx.exe to winmx.exe.old.

    -Rich

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