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Computer Problems

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Hi guys! So yeah, as the title suggests, I'm having some problems with my computer. I've tried looking around a bit to see if anyone can help me with it, but nothing I've been told seems to be having any effect. I decided maybe I should try posting something here before I think about taking it in the shop. Anyway...

It appears as though I'm having 3 separate issues (although they could all be related...I'm not sure). First, as an example, say I was trying to go to doomworld, but I didn't know the web address, I would go to Google, and do a search for it. The links all come up, and I click the correct link, but sometimes it will redirected me to a totally different website. Other times it will go to the correct address.

Secondly, I'll have an error that comes up, seemingly out of no where, saying "Host processes for Windows services stopped working and was closed." Both this issue, and the previous on came up at about the same time, maybe 2 weeks ago or so. When the error comes up, it says Windows will notify me of a solution. A few seconds later, a "Problem Reports and Solutions" window comes up telling me:

"There was a problem with Windows that caused it to stop working correctly.

Your computer might be missing updates that can help improve its stability and security.

Go online to check for and install Important and Recommended updates.

Click to go online to the Windows Update website

In the left pane, click Check for updates. If any updates are found, click View available updates."

EDIT: I'm having trouble even posting to explain the problem. I was only able to go this far. When I click "Submit Thread" or preview it, it tells me the web page isn't found.

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More from Seeker_of_Truth

When I click on the link provided, it tells me "The webpage at http://www.update.microsoft.com/windowsupdate/v6/default.aspx might be temporarily down or it may have moved permanently to a new web address."

When I close out of this window, sometimes my taskbar, and scroll bar will change its format to something that looks like it's running in Safe Mode, or maybe something like an older OS, i.e. Windows 98.

This next problem has only come up just a scant number of times, but I felt as though maybe I should say something about it anyway. "The dependency service or group failed to start." This just started coming up last Saturday, but it only happens when I try to install something, and it doesn't always even happen then.

After these problems started showing up, I ran an anti-virus, anti-malware, and anti-spyware scan. The anti-virus and anti-malware came up clean. The anti-spyware had errors, but this was the first time I ran an anti-spyware program, based on someones recommendation, so I was expecting errors.

I was then told that I should do a system restore. I did that once last week, and I did another restore to a date farther back just this afternoon, but both didn't work. I went to go to an even farther point back, but when the system restore menu came up, it said there were no restore points.

I apologize for this being so long, but knowing from personal experience, and looking at other technical cases here on Doomworld, I thought I should post as much information about this as possible. Any help anyone could provide is much appreciated. If any other information is required, please let me know, and I will do what I can.

Thanks, Seeker_of_Truth

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From Guide to detecting and removing malware on AtomicMPC.com.au:

The Windows hosts file is used to resolve hostnames to IP addresses without using the DNS system, it will also override any DNS queries. This means, malware may take a malicious IP and make it resolve to say, microsoft.com. The windows hosts file is located in \Windows\system32\drivers\etc\, and is called Hosts, without a file extension. The only content by default should be an entry for, the local interface, or two entries if you are using Vista or later. If you have used antimalware software, there may be additional entries added a countermeasure to prevent malicious sites from being contacted.If there are entries for well known or good sites such as microsoft.com, mcafee.com or similar, then this may be a sign of infection.

If you are using Internet Explorer 7 or above, you can run Internet Explorer in protected mode (right click, and Start in Protected mode), which will prevent any addons from loading. This will then allow you to see if the problem is isolated to Internet Explorer or not.

BTW, I didn't catch what type of web browser you use ... you might try the latest Firefox to see if it works differently for you there. The loss of system restore functions is leading me to believe that you've encountered rootware. You might see about running a trusted rootkit to detect and quarantine any suspicious data on your system that antimalware, spybot, and antivirus software isn't detecting.

Oh yeah, and get Linux. :p (Sorry to be the "getlinux arsehole" -- I couldn't resist.)

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I use Google Chrome for day to day stuff. When the problem first came up, I tried it on Internet Explorer, and I downloaded Opera. It seems to be happening between the different web browsers. I'll try out Firefox though and see if that makes a difference.

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That hosts file suggestion is interesting, but I've noticed many problems like that are due to more clever malware that just changes the DNS settings in the network configuration. Instead of the DNS servers being set to your ISP's servers or something like OpenDNS they get set to an evil server that blocks AV sites and Windows Update.

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Sounds like a delayed onset of the Downadup (or a similar) worm's symptoms (no updates for Windows or AVs etc.)

Use an off-line antivirus (preferably one running from a Live CD of some kind) and then WHILE OFFLINE and AFTER THE VIRUS HAS BEEN REMOVED run any and all fixes Microsoft released for the specific case of the Downadup worm.

BTW, don't tell me you're on XP without SP3? SP2 systems tend to have it much worse.

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Malware Bytes is one of the best programs I've used to remove evil software that causes these types of problems. The program is retail and costs money, but the free download (which I linked to) will still allow you to run a deep scan and remove any offenders it picks up. If you have a worm that is blocking you from getting to that download site try and write back here and I'll upload the installer to a different site under a different title (either the malware is messing with your hosts file, as previously explained, or it is truly something evil like Conficker, which won't allow you to direct IE to any sites containing keywords such as "update", "anti-virus", etc.)

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Bloodshedder said:

My suggestion of posting on http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/ still stands. They are experts who will guide you step-by-step in fixing your problems.

That's probably what I'm gonna end up doing. I was just waiting to see if anyone had anything else before I went for something I didn't have to do.

EDIT: I actually just did post there, so I'll wait and see what they said.

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