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  1. #1
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    msn hijacks home page (IE7)

    After I installed IE7 on my laptop, every time I log on to any account, my IE homepage has been reset to msn.com. (I installed IE7 on my desktop pc earlier and have had no problems there.) No matter how I reset the home page, even if I set it to a blank page, when I log off and log back on, the home page has been reset to msn. I have run spybot and zonealarm spyware scans and have found nothing. My firewall and internet settings are exactly the same on both computers. I have googled various message boards, and other people seem to have the same problem, but I haven't found an answer. Any ideas?

    Fafner

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    Re: msn hijacks home page (IE7)

    I don't have IE7, but I do have a thought on this. I believe Spybot S&D might have a feature to revert the home page if you (or some malware) changes it. If so, you'll need to turn off that feature so you can set your desired home page, and then turn it back on going forward.

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    Re: msn hijacks home page (IE7)

    There is a feature in SpyBot that allows you to lock the start page against the current user, although it doesn't seem to work against msn. Anyway, what I'd really like to do is get rid of whatever is doing the hijacking, rather than lock down the system against myself. I have no problem changing the start page back to what I want, but it's a pain to have to do it every time I log on.

    Fafner

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    Re: msn hijacks home page (IE7)

    I think what Jefferson is saying is that you need to disable that feature in Spybot to allow you to make the change, change your homepage to the one you want and then re-enable that setting in Spybot to prevent it from being changed again.
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    Re: msn hijacks home page (IE7)

    If you are running Windows Defender it will also monitor home page changes and require you to approve them.

    Joe
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    Re: msn hijacks home page (IE7)

    I understand what Jefferson is saying about the lock feature in SpyBot, but what I am saying is that it doesn't stop the unwanted change of my start page to msn. I set the start page to blank, lock it with SpyBot, log off, log on, and it's back to msn. Only now, instead of only needing one step to change it back to blank, I have extra steps because now I have to unlock spybot first.

    I will give Windows Defender a try. But what I really am getting at is what has been planted on my computer to make these unwanted changes and how do I clean it out. The solutions I have seen don't address that. What they do is leave the malware on my computer but try to prevent it from doing anything. They don't try to get rid of it.

    Fafner

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    Re: msn hijacks home page (IE7)

    I don't believe Joe was saying that you should install Windows Defender, but asking if it was already installed.

    This doesn't appear to be a malware issue (malware doesn't reset your homepage to MSN). Have you recently upgraded anything or installed IE7 ??? Also would be helpful to know exactly what anti spyware/malware software and what AV and firewall programs you are running.
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    Re: msn hijacks home page (IE7)

    This behavior started after I installed IE7, as I indicated in my first post. I haven't installed anything since then. Installing IE7 on my other computer didn't result in this behavior -- everything is fine on that computer.

    Well, I did install Windows Defender after Joe's post, but it doesn't prevent the hijacking of the start page. I reset it to blank, log off and log on again, and once again, the start page has been changed to msn. I don't know how you define malware, but this is mal enough for me.

    I can't find anything in the Windows Defender settings that refer to browser hijacking or start page protection. The help files refer to advanced settings or advanced options, but my installation doesn't have any such settings.

    Fafner

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    Re: msn hijacks home page (IE7)

    After a few hours of fiddling (as if I didn't have anything else to do) I tracked the problem down to a program called qctray.exe. The laptop is an IBM Thinkpad, and this exe file appears to be a utility for connecting with wireless networks. I disabled it using msconfig, reverting to native Windows wireless connection utilities, and now my start page sticks when I reset it. Has anyone else had this problem? Why should qctray.exe cause the hijacking of my start page? I'm puzzled.

    Fafner

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    Re: msn hijacks home page (IE7)

    Descriptions (CastleCops QCTRAY Qctray.exe Startup and file information and qctray.exe - qctray - Process Information) of it i saw say it can change network configurations. Can you configure qctray.exe? If it is changing the home page it is most likely doing this before Spybot's TeaTimer is loaded.

    Joe
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    Re: msn hijacks home page (IE7)

    I had already found the links in your message, plus a few others, and the information there led me to diable qctray. There doesn't seem to be any way to configure qctray.exe, at least not that I can find. I think your speculation that it's changing the home page before SpyBot is loaded is correct. If I open to internet properties/general/home page as soon as the Windows start menu is loaded, my home page hasn't been changed, but a few moments later, after all the processes are loaded, the change has been made. So qctray makes the change when it loads. Or, rather, made the change, because it doesn't load now that I have disabled it.

    Fafner

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    Re: msn hijacks home page (IE7)

    <center>
    <hr>I don't know how you define malware, but this is mal enough for me.<hr>
    </center>As I said, this doesn't appear to be malware, and it's not. It's as annoying as malware, to be sure, but it's not anything that was going to compromise your system the way malware will. Doing a Google search for "configure qctray.exe" produced some interesting reading on the subject. But apparently, it's either on or off.
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    Re: msn hijacks home page (IE7)

    OK, I found it. No, it's not malware, but it has been pretty darned annoying. I feel a little stupid for not having found it earlier, but these IBM thinkpads come with such a pile of things in the Programs menu that one never looks at. Anyway, for the benefit of anyone else who may have the same problem, it's under (at least in my version) Start/All Programs/AccessIBM/IBM Access Connections. Go to Manage Location Profiles, highlight the appropriate profile, click Edit, then click the Internet Explorer tab and uncheck "My internet explorer home page for this location."

    Whew.

    Thanks to everyone who responded.

    Fafner

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    Re: msn hijacks home page (IE7)

    First, thank you for posting back with the solution. <img src=/S/thumbup.gif border=0 alt=thumbup width=15 height=15> I had read some of the info the Google search turned up and the location of the file and the registry value were mentioned, but no information on actually configuring the utility or if it even had settings to change. Since I didn't have the thing on my system, I couldn't check into it any further and pointed you there if you were of a mind to go. It must have been very annoying. Glad you got it sorted out.

    Again, thanks for posting back. <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>
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