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  1. #1
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    Click 'blank' to open

    AAAarrrrgggghhhhh !!!!!!! <img src=/S/surrender.gif border=0 alt=surrender width=31 height=23> <img src=/S/bwaaah.gif border=0 alt=bwaaah width=123 height=15>

    NORMALLY on a W98SE Machine, when you want to "open" a file or application on the desktop, you:
    1. <LI>Position cursor over Desktop Item
      <LI>Right mouse click
      <LI>Highlight first item " <span style="background-color: #FFFF00; color: #000000; font-weight: bold">Open</span hi> "
      <LI>Left mouse click Highlighted " <span style="background-color: #FFFF00; color: #000000; font-weight: bold">Open</span hi> "
    Here is my problem on a W98SE machine I am currently working on. When you right mouse click the icon, the first item is NOT "Open", but "blank". ...

    WITHOUT having to edit the registry item by item, how do you change all "blank" references to "Open" ?

    I believe the computer was hit with several viruses then "Cleaned" (do not know how, when or where). To the best of my knowledge, this is NOT the about:blank virus. The computer was scanned with Norton Antivirus 2005 software - came up clean (updated virus definitions before scan).

    I exported the entire registry for backup. Then I exported another entire registry as a working test case.

    I tried global searches, but there are numerous references where "blank" is acceptable. If I change "blank" to "open" in several cases where I KNOW it is a problem and do NOT change the Class ID, W98SE hangs. I have successfully changed "blank" to "open" for 3-4 applications, but that required SEVERAL changes PER REFERENCED APPLICATION ! ! !

    I purchased and ran Registry Mechanic and Registry First Aid - they didn't find the problem (except where no application existed anymore). Restoring the computer is a last resort option for reasons to numerous to go into here. Correction, MY LAST RESORT OPTION is leave the system alone. Clicking on the highlighted " <span style="background-color: #FFFF00; color: #000000; font-weight: bold">blank</span hi> " does perform the "Open" function. This appears to be a labeling problem.

    Has anybody seen this problem before ? Does anyone have any advice ? Will I really care since I already put over 40 hours into researching this problem ?

    (last question was purely rhetorical).

    Thanks in advance for any help in this matter.
    Scott

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  3. #2
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: Click 'blank' to open

    Try installing Windows 98 over top of itself. That should correct the problem.
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  4. #3
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    Re: Click 'blank' to open

    Doc

    I thought of this, but won't this overwrite initial configuration information (Outlook, Office, other applications) ?

    To be honest, it has been so long since I tried over installing W98, I was not sure what the other application impacts were.

    Thanks.
    Scott

  5. #4
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    Re: Click 'blank' to open

    It shouldn't affect the applications. It just resets the OS settings and restores any that have become corrupt or otherwise borked. You may have to reconfigure Outlook Express and some of the other OS related things, but your applications and programs should be just fine.
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  6. #5
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    Re: Click 'blank' to open

    Doc,

    Thanks, i will try it and let you know what happened.
    Scott

  7. #6
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    Re: Click 'blank' to open

    After carefully making a disk image backup of the drive, I finally re-installed W98SE over the existing W98SE OS.

    I was never able to get through the install. The system hung and I was forced to re-boot. The system never came back up.

    Formated the hard drive, re-insatlled the backup image and verified everything was working. Performed some diskmanagement functions (defrag, removing cache files, removing temp files, etc -> things I SHOULD have done initially).

    Re-Installed W98SE over existing OS. Completed install with no apparent problems. After re-booting, notice "Blank" was still there. Interestingly, NEW applications installed has the correct reference "Open". Apparently, W98SE Re-install leaves the references alone. I did re-run Registry Mechanic and Registry First Aid after the successful W98SE re-install, no good.

    Although this is an annoying problem, It is a livable problem until the time comes to wipe the hard drive clean and install XP or Vista. When that happens, BEFORE installing a new OS, I will experiment with Registry hacks using macro's in an attempt to globally change the affected area's. At that time I won't care about messing up the registry. If I lean something from it, it may come in handy in the future.

    Anyways, thanks for the advice.
    Scott

  8. #7
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: Click 'blank' to open

    Wow !!! My apologies for my suggestion causing you so much trouble. <img src=/S/sorry.gif border=0 alt=sorry width=15 height=15> I've never seen or heard of a system hanging on a "over the top" installation like that before. Fortunately, you had the foresight to make a backup before you started and kept me out of the doghouse around here. <img src=/S/thumbup.gif border=0 alt=thumbup width=15 height=15>

    This is a strange problem, given that you have done so much to correct it and it won't resolve. I checked out Kelly's Korner for a solution and the Right Click Context Menus - Deleting entries provided this link to customize the Right-Click menu. Most of this seems to be directed at removing entries, but perhaps it will point you to the registry line that controls the Open function and you can then edit it. HTH <img src=/S/crossfingers.gif border=0 alt=crossfingers width=17 height=16>
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  9. #8
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    Re: Click 'blank' to open

    First - DON'T apologize <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15> !!! Your advice was solid. As I should have explained better in my post, I should have done some disk management BEFORE the W98SE re-install (er "over the top" install - See I can learn new terms <img src=/S/brickwall.gif border=0 alt=brickwall width=25 height=15> ).

    I believe I had several things going on with the system. Although I was inspired to make the backup, I forgot the basic tenants for preparation of a new, "over the top" instsall . <img src=/S/doh.gif border=0 alt=doh width=15 height=15> <img src=/S/stupidme.gif border=0 alt=stupidme width=30 height=30>

    Second - I don't think you are in the Doghouse and <img src=/S/bow.gif border=0 alt=bow width=15 height=15> to your wisdom.

    Finally - thanks for the links. One shows the registry "modification" where the "open" should be (ignore the "New Key #1" reference). In my case the "open" is repaced with "blank". Thes are the type of registry hacks I was making - the problem is there are thousands.

    There doesn't seem to be an individual open line that controls all of the "open" labels (Note: the function works - just the label is incorrect). An IT friend of mine "Postulates" the oever the top install did not fix the problem because Microsoft allows us to change the labels. If we change the labels, we "OBVIOUSLY" know what we are doing. From the link, I think I can come up with a macro to find all occurances of the offending label (there are tied to shell references). I can then run the macro on a backup copy of the registry, export the references to a new text file with correct references, then import the changes to the registry ....

    O R .... <img src=/S/blush.gif border=0 alt=blush width=15 height=15>

    I COULD do a High Velocity Impact test to determine the satisfaction of seeing the computer being run over by .....

    <img src=/S/sorry.gif border=0 alt=sorry width=15 height=15> - don't mean to suggest violence for a solution. <img src=/S/sigh.gif border=0 alt=sigh width=15 height=15>

    Thanks again for the links.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Scott

  10. #9
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    Re: Click 'blank' to open

    Doc,

    Almost forgot. After the successful over the top install, Norton provided an alert that it "quarantined" viewport due to suspicious behavior.

    With a little research I found viewport was a process being used by ATI to control multiple Desktop views. The executable was .EXE - HOWEVER, I found the file with a .Com reference as well. I forced a Norton File scan on the .com file and came up with a virus - unknown. I sent to Symantec for analysis. I have never heard of a virus doing this and could not find a reference in the Symantec Virus Database or Google searches.

    I believe this was the bad boy causing the initial problems.

    Rebooting the computer caused the correct file to be loaded and ATI display functions work fine. Since I didn't know the functions were activated to begin with (and was never told by the machine's owner), I didn't know to check the function.

    As you are probably aware, Windows executes commands and files in order (BIOS, internal windows commands, ,com, .exe, .bat). An external file with same filename but different extensions are executed based on first encounter per path. If the same filename with different extension is found at the same subdirectory, the order is defined as .com, .exe, .bat.

    The only real question is why Norton Antivirus 2003 didn't catch the virus the first time around. Possibly because there was no definition at time the virus hit the computer, the definitions were not updated at the time the virus hit (computer automatically checks 3 times a week - this has been changed to more frequent checks), there was and or is no check for the virus.

    This brings the next question, why did Norton 2005 antivirus program still identify the virus as unknown. This leads me to believe the Antivirus programs "Bloodhound heuristics" section actually caught the virus activity.

    If I get any response from Symantec, I will pass this on as well.

    Thanks again for your help
    Scott

  11. #10
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    Re: Click 'blank' to open

    Scott,

    I am humbled by your praise. <img src=/S/thankyou.gif border=0 alt=thankyou width=40 height=15> You don't appear to be one who is alone in the dark with your computer though. <img src=/S/laugh.gif border=0 alt=laugh width=15 height=15> It sounds as though you've found the source of your trouble. Hopefully things will settle down on that system now and you can get it working correctly and setup the way you want it.

    <center>
    <hr>The only real question is why Norton Antivirus 2003 didn't catch the virus the first time around<hr>
    </center>I run Norton AV too and can tell you from experience that it will sometimes post an alert and quarantine a file that has been on your system for years. My overnight scan last night quarantined a file that has been on my system since 2002. It was a silly .exe file for a game or joke and I know I've run it several times over the past 4 years. The Trojan-Dropper file that it said was inside was not listed on their page that the information linked to and I don't recall ever having that virus (or any other in the past 8 years). My system has been having some memory leakage problems this past week and since that file has been removed, the leaks are not quite as bad. I don't know if the two are related, but I've already deleted the file and will wait to see if the problem returns. The point is that the AV programs are not without their warts and boils, so research their findings before you accept their information as gospel. It will be interesting to hear what Symantec has to say about this one though. It may not be a virus at all, but a file with some code that resembles or whose activity resembles a virus that has been recently discovered and the protection for that came down in the last update before the scan. Obviously, it contained something that was compromising the way that computer functions.

    Hope the fix is permanent, but do let us know what Symantec has to say.
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  12. #11
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    Re: Click 'blank' to open

    <img src=/S/sigh.gif border=0 alt=sigh width=15 height=15>HERE WE GO ....

    Symantec FINALLY got back to me concerning the file I sent them ...

    The answer is (Drum roll PLEASE) ....

    They don't know !?!?!?! In a nut shell, they have determined that file COULD BE a "Blended threat" virus that has no defined origin but COULD be the result of a corrupted file. I deleted the affected file and had re-installed the ATI software to be safe. I also ran two different <img src=/S/free.gif border=0 alt=free width=30 height=15> AntiSoftware programs to ensure I had no problems.

    As for the "blank" being the "open" statement. I did a semi-manual approach to force the fix. Exported the ENTIRE Registry file to a text file. Created a macro to search for the blank reference and export that line, 3 lines previous to it and 3 lines after it to an external text file. I then viewed the scaled down file making manual changes of the bad "blank" staements to "open" statements. NOTE: Not all blank staements needed to be changed. Turned out there were a total of 132 references that had to be changed. Incorporated the "Revised" file back into the registry, re-booted and AMAZINGLY, I do NOT crash the comuter.

    After ensuring I have a COMPLETE backup, DVD image and TWO different backups of the registry in alternate locations, I'm calling the problem closed (whew) <img src=/S/yep.gif border=0 alt=yep width=15 height=15>

    Thanks to all who tried to help <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15> <img src=/S/bravo.gif border=0 alt=bravo width=16 height=30>
    Scott

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