Reimaging the laptop is not an option. submitted by
The laptop has installations of multiple versions of TurboTax which the user doesn't have the ability to reinstall. TL;DR: I did something and it fixed it and I'm not really sure how but I'm pretty sure Snap.Do had something to do with it. If you've stumbled across this message on a search, the bottom-most edit will tell you what you're looking for.
HP Pavilion laptop running Win7 Home Premium. User complaining of very poor performance. I verified; after starting up the desktop is marginally useful for about 10 seconds, then the whole thing grinds to a halt.
Managed to install and run MalwareBytes; it found 1400+ issues which it quarantined (and also a required a reboot to do so). After restarting the desktop was quite a bit more responsive. The computer had THREE antivirus apps installed: Kaspersky and Norton Internet Security were both non-functional (likely corrupt), and McAfee was expired (subscription ended). I uninstalled all three, as well as a handful of toolbars and such that I know from past experience are more harmful than good. At that point I was able to run TronScript which took about four hours to complete. After a post-TronScript reboot I was able to install AVG antivirus (did a scan; it's clean). There were a few oddities; several items in "Programs and Features" were showing up with generic icons and/or couldn't be uninstalled, including a couple of items that were identified as malware and removed. I ran Hitman Pro and it found a bunch of remnants which it cleaned and "Programs and Features" returned to normal.
There is some weirdness happening which I haven't been able to squash.
- TurboTax won't launch (any version). Shortly after launching I get the "TurboTax has stopped working" alert with the all-too-informative "a problem caused the program to stop working correctly" message. If I go into "Programs and Features" and attempt to repair it, I get "Installation cannot continue due to an unexpected Windows Installer error. Error Code 65535."
- Windows Update is blank. As in, there's no text below the menu bar except for "Control Panel Home". Looks like this. If I click that blank button I get the "checking for updates" graphic for a couple of seconds, then it turns yellow with a "!" in a shield. If I click the button that appears there, the computer restarts. Repeat indefinitely.
I found this
and got some mixed results, which is to say it didn't solve the problem but the process didn't yield the expected results. Specifically, there are a number of regsvr32.exe calls made. Most of them worked, but about a dozen of them didn't. Four of them (mshtml.dll, shdocvw.dll, browseui.dll, qmgr.dll) yielded this error: "The module -----.dll was loaded but the entry-point DllRegisterServer was not found. Make sure that -----.dll is a valid DLL or OCX file and then try again." Nine of them (msxml.dll, gpkcsp.dll, sccbase.dll, slbcsp.dll, initpki.dll, wuaueng1.dll, wucltui.dll, wuweb.dll, muweb.dll) yielded this error: "The module -----.dll failed to load. Make sure the binary is stored at the specified path or debug it to check for problems with the finary or dependent .DLL files. The specified module could not be found." (The "-----" is the name of the dll in question.)
Attempting to install the latest Windows Update agent
doesn't work. It gets about 30% done, then aborts with an error "0x80070bc9".
I've been Googling for the past two days to find a fix for this but either nothing has worked or I'm unable to proceed with a fix. For example, one fix requires me to turn off Automatic Updates but I can't because there's no text or controls or checkboxes anywhere in the "Windows Update" panel.
What can be done? UPDATE 1:
Shortly after posting the above I found the System Update Readiness Tool for Windows 7
which successfully ran and required a reboot when it was done, but it did not solve the problem. UPDATE 2:
Upon doing a Safe Boot w/Networking (haven't tried without it), a suspicious alert appeared
. Note the "/ from windows" text; it's clearly the wrong font or perhaps even a graphic. I have no idea what this is about; it's too generic for my Google-fu skills to identify. In a normal boot this doesn't appear. UPDATE 3:
I found this thread
which described a way to fix the 0x80070bc9 error when installing the Windows Update Agent. Following those directions allowed me to complete that installation, but none of the problems have been resolved. UPDATE 4:
Some observations that have been happening throughout this... In a normal boot (after the desktop appears), there's a period of about 30-60 seconds where the "busy" cursor is active, then all the icons on the desktop refresh and switch to generic icons, then back again; that process takes about 3-4 seconds. In Safe Boot that doesn't happen at all. Also, when I click "Windows Update" it takes about 30 seconds for the (damaged) Windows Update window to appear. UPDATE 5:
Looks like TurboTax launches and runs successfully in Safe Mode. All three versions, in fact. So it looks like there's some kind of startup item borking the works. UPDATE 6:
When I go into services, it opens on the "extended" tab which is empty. If I click on the "standard" tab the list populates, but I also get an alert box entitled "mmc.exe" with the alert "Unable to download . Unable to open this Internet site. The request site is either unavailable or cannot be found. Please try again later." I suspect this has something to do with the suspicious alert in update #2. UPDATE 7:
I'm increasingly convinced there's more malware on this PC. If I go into services and select "Normal startup" it enables everything EXCEPT AVG, and I can't re-enable it. UPDATE 8:
The computer has fixed itself, or maybe some farting around I did with the registry did something good. After I did all of the above I started to experiment and poke around. The computer had Snap.Do installed on it and I kept finding bits and pieces of it throughout the system. I combed through the registry and deleted every reference I could find to Snap.Do, but it didn't seem to help any. Frustrated, I shut the lid on it (literally) and worked on some other things over the weekend. This morning I re-opened the lid and discovered a Windows Update alert in the lower-right corner. Clicking on it brought up Windows Update, text and all, where it had a couple of updates waiting. It downloaded and installed them and, following a reboot, Windows Update appears to be working normally/as expected now. FINAL UPDATE:
The laptop is now working properly. I don't know if there's any one thing I did to get it working; I did a lot, including several things which were entirely "what if..." things. It turns out this laptop was pretty severely compromised by a variety of malware, including some that evaded half a dozen different antimalware apps. That being said, here's my best guess for solving this issue:
- Uninstall any questionable toolbars and applications.
- Uninstall any old apps that you intend on updating to current versions.
- Uninstall any antivirus software. It has probably been compromised already, and is likely old.
- Reset Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer to factory defaults. Trash the old data. (Export and re-import your bookmarks first if you need those.)
- Run TronScript with the -sd (skip defrag) and -swu (skip windows update) flags. Don't be surprised if the laptop reboots several times; that's the malware fighting back. Keep doing this until TronScript runs to completion (including the MalwareBytes scan).
- In my case, the computer had Snap.Do installed which was a royal effing PITA to get rid of. The uninstall function didn't work on it and the registry was littered with Snap.Do bullshit. I combed the hard drive for anything having to do with Snap.Do and/or Resoft and deleted it, then similarly combed through the registry and deleted every entry I could find with Snap.Do and/or Resoft in it. When I was done I scanned the system using HitmanPro. It found a bunch of issues and removed/resolved them.
- Use CCleaner to clean up the system registry. I had to do this multiple times before it came up clean.
- Repair the damage caused by all the malware. In my case this specifically targeted the Windows Installer and Windows Update engines, among other things. For me, this included running the Windows Update Troubleshooter, reinstalling Windows Update, and running the System Update Readiness Tool (though maybe not in that order). Reboot after each step.
- Download and install Microsoft Security Essentials and have it do a full scan of your system. It took about four hours on mine and found three things, including an adware program, that everything else ignored. Clean it up and reboot.
- Run TronScript again, this time allowing it to do Windows Update (skipping defrag is optional).
- After rebooting, run HitmanPro again. Follow it up with another visit from CCleaner to tidy up the registry and erase clutter.
- Reboot again, then make sure Security Essentials is still running and fully updated.
- Make sure MalwareBytes is installed/running/fully updated.
At this point the computer should be good to go. I realize that this is perhaps obvious stuff to a lot of people but I'm including it here in case anyone else has a Windows 7 machine with no text in the Windows Update window and/or can't get anything to install and/or run properly. All said and done there were nearly 2000 malware-type items found and cleaned from this system to get it functional again, including many which several populacommon tools didn't identify. All said and done I think I used eight or nine different antivirus/malware scanners on this thing to get it running again.
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