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C Drive Filling Up
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David Hartsock
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July 17, 2009 - 12:48 am
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Selahgal,

There are a couple things to remember before you go using System Restore... 1) it may or may NOT fix your toolbar issue, and 2) it will almost definitely return any infections you may have had.

The best advice at this point is to create a new restore point and delete all the old ones. You can do that by following the directions below:
[b:mi4lz46v][i:mi4lz46v]Step 1 - Create a new restore point[/i:mi4lz46v][/b:mi4lz46v]
* Go to Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools and click "System Restore".
* Choose the radio button marked "Create a Restore Point" on the first screen then click "Next". Give the new restore point a name, then click "Create".
The new point will be stamped with the current date and time. Don't forget to remember the name you gave the restore point and the date/time should
you need it in the future.
[b:mi4lz46v][i:mi4lz46v]Step 2 - delete old restore points[/i:mi4lz46v][/b:mi4lz46v]
* Go to Start > Run and type: Cleanmgr
* Click "Ok"
* Disk Cleanup will scan your computer for several minutes, then open (be patient).
* Click the "More Options" Tab.
* Click the "Clean up" button under System Restore.
* Click Ok. You will be prompted with "Are you sure you want to delete all but the most recent restore point?"
* Click Yes, then click Ok.
* Click Yes again when prompted with "Are you sure you want to perform these actions?"
* Disk Cleanup will remove the files and close automatically.

The toolbar problem would best be fixed by creating a new toolbar. Right click on the clock in the taskbar - move your mouse over Toolbars - uncheck the desktop label - move your mouse to New Toolbar on the bottom and click. Give the new toolbar a name and make sure it is checked - then you can add programs and folders to your heart's content!

The Windows Installer/missing programs is a much harder fix. How do you know they are missing - able to run programs but entry is missing - folders show in Program Files but entry is missing, etc? Are you using the Add/Remove Programs applet in Control Panel, or a program like MyUninstaller or Revo? Either of the latter programs could be used to remove entries in the list.

You may wish to download [url=http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/myuninst.zip:mi4lz46v]MyUninstaller[/url:mi4lz46v] from NirSoft and see if it displays the same results. It requires no installation. Just open the file and click on the exe. Even if the programs don't display here you may wish to keep the program as it has a lot for flexibility that the standard Add/Remove Programs applet and shows much more information about installed programs.

OK, follow the instructions to fix the first 2 problems and get back with up on the Windows Installer/missing programs issue!

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Chad Johnson
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July 17, 2009 - 10:33 am
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And now my 2 bits.

To move the My Documents folder (and only My Documents), go to your My Documents folder (either on the Start Menu or the Desktop), right click and select Properties. On the Dialog, make sure you are on the Target tab, then select Move...

A dialog will open and you can select the new directory for My documents. Click OK a few times and wait. This could take a while to move all the files.

Here's a site about this in case you [b:9e5dzdjg]really[/b:9e5dzdjg] want info overload.
[url:9e5dzdjg]http://www.kellys-korner-xp.com/win_xp_mydocs.htm[/url:9e5dzdjg]

Now, since Malware Bytes found infections, that tells us something is going on. I would continue to run the deep scan with Malware Bytes until the scan comes up clean twice. After the first clean scan reboot then run the second.

Jim, is Malware Bytes a realtime scanner? I've never used it. Selah, do you have any other security software installed and/or running on your computer?

Here's something else to consider to -- once your computer has been infected, how do you [i:9e5dzdjg]really[/i:9e5dzdjg] know that the infection is gone? Undetected != gone. With that in mind, it may be time to begin thinking and planning of a reinstall of Windows. I'll leave that to you as it really depends on how paranoid you are.

It's probably too late for System Restore to do much good. System Restore is not a complete backup solution. System Restore only backs up certain Windows files and the registry. Since you had an infection in your registry, we do not want to use System Restore. I would follow Dave's advice and create a new Restore point, deleting the others.

As for the missing programs - is it certain types of software that seems to be missing? Is there one specific one that's missing? Again, as Dave said, using other uninstall managers can skew your Add/Remove panel.

Let's get your toolbar happy and your infections removed before worrying about the installer / missing Add/Remove Items.

--zig

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Selahgal
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July 17, 2009 - 10:45 am
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Step 1 - Create a new restore point
* Go to Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools and click "System Restore".
[b:3701hx3k]
I went to do this and when I got to the folder ACCESSORIES, the entire list disappear. SO, it is not just my taskbar toolbar disappearing. I'm suspecting this issue and the disappearing windows installer box issue are connected somehow. They are both STUCK halfway through a process or something! So I opened system tools from the desktop directly and guess what ... there is no SYSTEM RESTORE listed there! I normally use my System Suite Program to do checkpoints and system restore points. I guess as long as there IS a restore point created, it would be ok, yes?[/b:3701hx3k]

Step 2 - delete old restore points
* Go to Start > Run and type: Cleanmgr
* Click "Ok"
* Disk Cleanup will scan your computer for several minutes, then open (be patient).
* Click the "More Options" Tab.
* Click the "Clean up" button under System Restore.
* Click Ok. You will be prompted with "Are you sure you want to delete all but the most recent restore point?"
* Click Yes, then click Ok.
* Click Yes again when prompted with "Are you sure you want to perform these actions?"
* Disk Cleanup will remove the files and close automatically.

[b:3701hx3k]Did this and it opened Disk Cleaner with the option of selecting C or F drive and I picked C drive. Did all the steps as well.[/b:3701hx3k]

The toolbar problem would best be fixed by creating a new toolbar. Right click on the clock in the taskbar - move your mouse over Toolbars - uncheck the desktop label - move your mouse to New Toolbar on the bottom and click. Give the new toolbar a name and make sure it is checked - then you can add programs and folders to your heart's content!

[b:3701hx3k]I have already created a new toolbar and it didn't fix the problem. But with the above info, I don't think it's a toolbar issue any more, do you?[/b:3701hx3k]

[b:3701hx3k]Wow, what a mystery this is![/b:3701hx3k]

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Selahgal
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July 17, 2009 - 10:53 am
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Hi Zig! Love your nick/name. Always loved the Ziggie cartoon.

RE My Documents ... that dir is already IN my F drive. I believe it was the DOCUMENTS AND SETTINGS folder we were talking about how to move. Or at least change the TARGET of files to F drive so C didn't fill up so fast all the time.

I have System Suite, SpyBot, Ad Aware, AVG, Advanced Windows Care and a few others. Only System Suite, AVG and Advanced Windows Care are running in real time. I will continue to run the Malware program regularly too. I already have TOTAL UNINSTALL so I give that a run too.

I hope I am a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG way from re installing windows!!! YIPES!!!!!

No clue what is missing in ADD/REMOVE but I know lots of what was there was updates and service packs.

And away we go .... !!!

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David Hartsock
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July 17, 2009 - 12:00 pm
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While you are scanning with Malwarebytes make sure you are deep scanning both drives (C and F). I'm thinking a re-install may be in order (sorry to say the "R" word).

To be honest, by the time you get the installer issue fixed it may be simpler (and less time consuming) to just do it. As long as you get your ducks in a row before you tackle it it will be pretty uneventful. It's also a good way to ensure you have everything setup correctly from the start!

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Selahgal
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July 17, 2009 - 1:03 pm
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Are you talking about reinstalling windows??????

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Jim Hillier
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July 17, 2009 - 7:21 pm
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[b:2lzppw33]Zig [/b:2lzppw33]- Re MBAM: Only the Pro (commercial) version includes any real time protection, the FREE version is a scanner/remover only...mind you, it is in my opinion, the best one around. I had already mentioned to Selah that I was unhappy with the anti spyware security installed on her machine; Assuming the AVG is the free version, it is not the best these days...particularly having no rootkit detection. Spybot is OK but doesn't offer any true real time protection, it's mainly centered around IE. Ad-Aware, well that's next to useless (IMO)..again assuming Selah is using the free version, it does not include any real time protection and really is a second rate scanner/remover. Advanced SystemCare includes an immunization feature only, very similar to the one in Spybot...no true real time protection. The System Suite I know very little about, only that is is not among the most recognised/used security products.
It seems to me, there may be quantity but not a lot of quality. I would much rather see something along the lines of Avast or AntiVir with Threatfire or some other HIPS/heuristic based protection, and MBAM or SuperAntiSpyware as on demand backup scanner....all are free.

[b:2lzppw33]Selah[/b:2lzppw33] - Yes, they are talking about re-installing Windows. As I explained in an earlier post....the process of identifying malware and ridding a machine of numerous varied infections can be a complex and time consuming chore with no guarantees of absolute success. Add that to the fact that the machine was not setup properly in the first place plus the problems you are experiencing and it all says a re-install would almost certainly be the fastest, simplest most expedient way of remedying the total issues.

cheers....JIM

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Selahgal
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July 17, 2009 - 8:01 pm
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Yeah, I'm using all the FREE ones except for System Suite [http://www.avanquest.com/USA/software/systemsuite-9-professional-114908?meta=small-business&cat=pc-essentials-software&sub=anti-virus-protection-software]. I thought the AVG Free still provided real time protection? At any rate, System Suite does and has tons of features. I've used it for years now. I guess I'm overcautious on security, but like you said I've got more quantity than quality!

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Chad Johnson
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July 20, 2009 - 8:46 am
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[quote="Selahgal":1rddgdwp]No clue what is missing in ADD/REMOVE but I know lots of what was there was updates and service packs.

And away we go .... !!![/quote:1rddgdwp]

When you're viewing Add/Remove programs, look at the top of the window. There should be a checkbox for 'Show updates'.

Check that and it should bring back the 'missing' items.

Now, I know a lot of advice has been tossed your way, and I'm not sure what's been done anymore.

So let's start with the basics, and move forward from there:

Step 1) Backup your important data.
If something terrible happens, make sure you have duplicates of all your important data. An external hard drive is <$100 but recovery services can run in the thousands. Make sure all your data is on some type of external media (Ext HDD, CD-R, DVD-R, friends computer, anything) before we try anything else.

--zig
(glad you like the name, but the cartoon Zig was Ziggy. )

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Selahgal
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July 20, 2009 - 9:49 am
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I opened the ADD/REMOVE PROGRAMS and the SHOW UPDATES box IS checked and always has been checked as far as I know. That's the problem with amateurs like me trying to fix stuff, often it just makes it worse! LOL But it's often a good LEARNING EXPERIENCE or as we used to say in the Army ... "Good training!"

We bought an external hard drive when we moved four years ago, and backed up our entire hard drive. But now we can't seem to access it again and so the info sits there. It's a Maxtor. At this point it would be nice to backup my CURRENT hard drive info but until I figure out how to access the info, I might as well just delete it cause I can't get to it again. SIGH.

As to what's been done. Bascially, I've found the culprit who has been loading my C drive and deleted much of that, which were system suite 'backup' files. Not sure exactly WHAT they were. Hope they weren't important! So I'll just keep deleting those as needed until I can find a way to change the target to F drive?

Still dealing with my appearing/disappearing windows installer box. No clue why it's there or how to delete it. It seems to appear every time I click the mouse to open or close something. I think that problem is what is causing my subfile lists to disappear too. Gremlins?

I am amazed at how helpful and patience you guys have been with me! This is the best computer help site I have visited! I can't thank you enough.

Selah

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Chad Johnson
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July 20, 2009 - 1:02 pm
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If you're not able to read the files on your old hard drive, then it's probably not going to do much good anymore.

If you're certain you don't need the old backup, you can format it and make a new backup. Try to use Fat32 so you don't have file permission issues if you need to access it later. Although if you have really large files (2GB or more, I think), they won't fit on a Fat32 drive...

--zig

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