Author Topic: Can no longer open programs  (Read 11018 times)

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Offline kinggfx

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Can no longer open programs
« on: December 04, 2003, 06:07:16 AM »
I am running Windows XP on a Compaq Intel 2.5 ghz machine.  I downloaded (i believe the newest version of the avast! software, but I can't even open it to check) and did the scan, found  23 files and deleted them.  My computer then booted up fine.. The problem is whenever I click on a program either on my desktop or start menu it tells me

" Windows cannot find 'C:\Program Files\etc etc\wmplayer.exe'. Make sure you typed the name correctly and then try again, etc. "

For some reason only Internet Explorer works.

Please help!
Thank you

Offline techie101returns

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Re:Can no longer open programs
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2003, 06:16:04 AM »
king,

Firstly, did the system work ok before installing Avast?

Can you start your system in Safe Mode?

Apparently, some of the files you deleted were necessary to system operation.  Sometimes, even Avast, can identify files that are harmless (false positives).

If you can start in Safe Mode, we may need to Restore your system to an earlier point before Avast was installed.

Instructions on how to do this can easily be found in the HelpSupport section of XP.

techie

Offline kinggfx

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Re:Can no longer open programs
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2003, 06:20:06 AM »
Tried that.. only problem is I can't access the XP help and support function from either the start menu or from the run.. command prompt.. how can I get into it?


edit -

sorry, yes the system worked fine (except for the virus that kept closing things like msconfig and any other programs I tried installing)

and, what do I hit during the startup to go into safemode?

thanks

edit2 - got to system restore through control panel, but when I click it I get the same error message as everything else.  ???

edit3 - ok went into safemode, set the restore point to yesterday, and did it.. but I still have the same problem.. AHH!!!
« Last Edit: December 04, 2003, 06:47:43 AM by kinggfx »

Offline igor

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Re:Can no longer open programs
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2003, 11:19:18 AM »
If you cannot run your applications, it sounds like your associations has been corrupted (since a virus that redirected the associations to itself has been deleted).
You can download avast! Virus Cleaner and let it fix that. For more instructions, read the paragraph right before the screenshot (in italics) on the avast! Virus Cleaner page.

Offline raman

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Re:Can no longer open programs
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2003, 12:18:39 PM »
If you cannot run your applications, it sounds like your associations has been corrupted (since a virus that redirected the associations to itself has been deleted).
You can download avast! Virus Cleaner and let it fix that. For more instructions, read the paragraph right before the screenshot (in italics) on the avast! Virus Cleaner page.

Does that mean, that the cleaner will set the following Registry entries back to default, even if it does not know that special Virus?

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\batfile\shell\open\command]
[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\comfile\shell\open\command]
[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\exefile\shell\open\command]
[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\piffile\shell\open\command]
[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\regfile\shell\open\command]
[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\scrfile\shell\config\command]
[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\scrfile\shell\open\command]
MfG Ralf

Offline igor

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Re:Can no longer open programs
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2003, 01:14:11 PM »
Yes, if these entries point to a non-existent file (or to the Cleaner itself), they are set back to default.

Offline raman

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Re:Can no longer open programs
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2003, 01:19:21 PM »
Yes, if these entries point to a non-existent file (or to the Cleaner itself), they are set back to default.
Cool, really cool!
But what if the entries point to an existing file? Gives it a warning or offers it the possibility to fix it?
MfG Ralf

Offline Vlk

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Re:Can no longer open programs
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2003, 01:25:24 PM »
Just a silly question but how come you can run the Virus Cleaner (to fix the problem) if you can't actually run any program?

Vlk :-[
If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving's not for you.

Offline igor

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Re:Can no longer open programs
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2003, 02:06:50 PM »
raman: No, it doesn't give any warning in this case. I believe there are legal reasons for programs being associated to such extensions. At least I've heard of such tools (haven't seen them personally  ;))

vlk: As written on the Cleaner web page :), you can either rename it (if only some of the extensions are corrupted), or you can rename Virus Cleaner to the missing name (you can run explorer using a hotkey or from My Computer) or you can select (browse) it directly from the error dialog.

Offline raman

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Re:Can no longer open programs
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2003, 02:16:00 PM »
No, it doesn't give any warning in this case. I believe there are legal reasons for programs being associated to such extensions. At least I've heard of such tools (haven't seen them personally  ;))

<g> But not for exe or comfiles! Maybe an info in the logfile that there are some non standard settings is usefull in that case?
MfG Ralf

Offline igor

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Re:Can no longer open programs
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2003, 04:07:30 PM »
I really had exe file association on my mind... I don't remember the name of the software, but it was some kind of access manager.

As for the warning... well, I think that Cleaner is a tool for cases when something is wrong - not just to "check". If it should be a new feature, I'd rather target it for avast itself, not the Cleaner. (Besides, handling unknown viruses may theoretically have dangerous consequences - if an active virus were checking whether somebody had changed its associations - and at that point triggered some nasty payload... it wouldn't be very nice).

Offline techie101returns

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Re:Can no longer open programs
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2003, 06:18:59 PM »
Igor,

I was not aware that the Virus Cleaner functioned in that manner.
An excellent post for us.  I hope that kingfx is successful using it.

I am still puzzled at how the Cleaner can repair files that are no longer there, but heck...if it works who cares.

In additon, VLK brought up a good point.  If king cannot run anything else, how is the Cleaner able to execute?

techie

Offline kinggfx

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Re:Can no longer open programs
« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2003, 07:25:12 PM »
It is weird how I can open Internet Explorer, and some other things like Winamp mp3 files, MS works files, etc, but no programs themselves.  I'm at school now, when I get home I'll try the cleaner and hopefully it will work, thanks!

Offline igor

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Re:Can no longer open programs
« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2003, 09:31:16 PM »
techie101: Well, this feature is not the main functionality of the Cleaner, but since there are quite a few people having problems after they have deleted some kind of virus (doesn't matter if using avast! or anything else) and now cannot start applications anymore, I decided to implement this feature. avast! Virus Cleaner is checking the associations anyway (if it finds a virus in memory or file), so it was not a big change.

However, it doesn't repair files that are not there - I don't master that kind of magic :)
When started, it reads the exefile (and other important types) associations from registry - and if it points to a file that doesn't exist (say, the association is c:\badbadvirus.exe %1 %* and the file c:\badbadvirus.exe simply isn't there), it sets the association to default (which is "%1" %* for an exefile).

I explained the starting of avast! Virus Cleaner in that case previously. There are more possibilities how to do it.
1. It is possible that only the exefile association is corrupted (points to thad c:\badbadvirus.exe). So, starting aswClnr.exe doesn't work. However, you can rename it to aswClnr.com and start it. Windows doesn't care much about the extension as long as it's an executable one - so even though it's an EXE file, you can rename it to .BAT and start.
2. Some viruses (e.g. Swen) associate on all possible executable extensions (for Swen, with the exception of .CMD on WinNT platform). So, whatever you rename the Cleaner executable to, you always get the message "Cannot find c:\badbadvirus.exe" when you try to start it.
Now, there are two possibilities - you can rename the Cleaner directly to the c:\badbadvirus.exe file. Now, starting anything will start Cleaner instead.
Or, even easier - the error dialog ("Cannot find c:\badbadvirus.exe") has a box where you can enter the patch to the missing file. If you point it to the Cleaner executable instead, it should work as well - it changes the association to Cleaner, so Cleaner will be started.

kinggfx: Well, it's not a big mystery. Windows have a number of ways how to start executable. For usual user requests (clicking on a destop icon, starting from Start Menu, ...) - it takes the associations into account (technically, is uses ShellExecute function I guess). This way won't work when the association for the given file type is wrong. Some request, however, are handled without checking the association - the file is simple started (technically, it's CreateProcess call). This will work always. So, even when the associations are wrong, you are not completely helpless. In fact, when you can run Explorer, you can go to Folder Options and change some associations manually...

Offline techie101returns

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Re:Can no longer open programs
« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2003, 10:11:31 PM »
Igor,

Thank you for the in-depth explanation.  It is a bit clearer now.
Although I have not been infected yet (thanks to Avast), I think I will download the cleaner as a handly tool to keep around.

techie