1.    01 Aug 2017 #1
    Join Date : Dec 2015
    Posts : 60
    Windows 10

    Computer boots but can't launch any programs


    My brother's computer, which is running Windows 10, has got major problems. It boots up okay but he can't launch any programs after the boot cycle is finished. When he tries to launch an app from his desktop, nothing happens. He can right-click and see Task Manager but it won't launch. He can right-click on the Windows icon and get the context menu but he can't get the Windows menu to come up.

    He installed a hidden objects game a day or two back. He said it worked but it wasn't very good. The problem began shortly after that. I'm guessing he picked up some kind of malware in that download. The computer - it's an Acer desktop - came with Windows pre-installed. He has no Windows media and is not in the habit of taking a regular backup.

    How can we fix this problem? I was going to run a thorough anti-virus scan, probably MalwareBytes, but I'm not sure how to do that when we can't install anything. I would have uninstalled his hidden objects game if I could have gotten to Control Panel but I'm not sure how to do that either since we can't get to Control Panel in the normal way.

    I'm hoping there's something we can do short of sending it out to the local computer store....
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  2.    01 Aug 2017 #2
    Join Date : Jan 2015
    UK, Midlands
    Posts : 10,971
    Win 10 Pro (1703)

    Hi, are there any system restore points you can use? (Note: you will only have restore points if you enabled system restore: it's off by default in Win 10). Best to run AV scans as below first before using one.

    Otherwise, has he been using disk imaging routinely as we constantly and strongly recommend? A lesson for the future. If he had, he could simply restore an image of the PC and have it back working as it was when he created the image, without technical help. (Macrium Reflect (free) + its boot medium + external storage for image sets).

    Failing those basic precautions, you face a challenge.

    You can run malware scans by downloading and running them from a bootable disk.

    You can run malwarebytes from Kyhi's very useful bootable disk:
    Windows 10 Recovery Tools - Bootable Rescue Disk - Windows 10 Forums

    Other bootable AV disks are available.
    15 Free Bootable Antivirus Tools (July 2017)
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  3.    01 Aug 2017 #3
    Join Date : Oct 2016
    Caledon, Ontario, Canada
    Posts : 4,001
    Windows 10 Pro Build 1703

    Hi RhinoCan.

    Could you please boot to safe mode and see if control panel or malwarebytes runs there. CP for the uninstall, MB for the bugs.

    Hold the shift key down and click restart. Tutorial provided so you see screen shots. You can get to Restore points suggested above using these menus.

    Boot to Advanced Startup Options in Windows 10

    Malwarebytes has a version called Chameleon that you can use if malware is blocking certain executables.

    https://www.malwarebytes.com/chameleon/

    You may wish to first gets his data off machine. You can boot with Kyhi's recovery disk. Be careful of data until you can absolutely confirm 110% that Mr. Crap didn't tag along.


    Ken
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  4.    01 Aug 2017 #4
    Join Date : Dec 2015
    Posts : 60
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter

    Dalchina and Caledon Ken,

    We managed to get my brother's computer working to the extent that we could launch programs again. I was trying to figure out how to boot into Safe Mode with Networking and goofed it up but when we got to the desktop, we found that the Windows Icon would accept a (double-)click and we could even launch Task Manager and other programs via double-clicks. (He can't remember if he normally needs single- or double-clicks.)

    Task Manager showed no obvious issues. I downloaded Malware Bytes and got a 14 day trial of the Premium version; we ran that and it showed only 3 P.U.P.s which I quarantined. My brother buys System Mechanic Pro every year so we ran its quick scan and found nothing of any obvious significance. The full anti-virus scan is running now. (Do you have any thoughts on the quality/value of System Mechanic? Wouldn't he do just as well with a free antivirus like Avast?)

    I was going to uninstall the new game he'd put on but it doesn't have a normal uninstall technique. It was part of "Free Ride" - he has lots of their other games - and all that appears in Programs and Features is "Free Ride Player"; removing that would presumably mean losing ALL of their games and he doesn't want to do that. But he found a way to remove it from their interface so I *think* it is gone now.

    I realize he should probably have a backup-recovery plan in place involving recovery points and regular backups so I will given him "the talk". If I know him, he will choose not to spend money - or significant time - on it but maybe I'm wrong.

    Is there anything else we should do *now* to make sure the machine is free of malware?
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  5.    01 Aug 2017 #5
    Join Date : Jan 2015
    UK, Midlands
    Posts : 10,971
    Win 10 Pro (1703)

    , we found that the Windows Icon would accept a (double-)click and we could even launch Task Manager and other programs via double-clicks. (He can't remember if he normally needs single- or double-clicks.)
    - that should be a single click

    S. Mechanic: anything that's advertised thus:
    Download System Checkup – FREE

    In just minutes you’ll know exactly what is slowing your computer down. You’ll get a customized report detailing all your computer’s errors plus how to fix them!

    -reminds me of the PC scammers that want to scare you by showing you error reports in the event viewer.

    Rated as expensive:
    System Mechanic Pro Review | NotebookReview.com
    - it includes registry cleaning (don't do it!- see above...)
    - doesn't offer an advanced firewall
    - alerts you to things you don't need to worry about:
    When I first installed SMP on my Windows 7 Ultimate-based test machines, the analysis gadget it added to each Desktop pulsed orange like Dr. McCoy’s sickbay scanner (“Jim, this man is dying!”). Quantitatively, the number of “problems” uncovered during the initial detection seemed bewildering, including from the fresh-from-the-farm Windows 7 test machine.

    Basically you can do better.
    Test antivirus software for Windows 10 - June 2017 | AV-TEST

    Personally I use Avast (free) + Windows Firewall, + a couple of anti-ransomware tools:
    Cybereason RansomFree, Bitdefender AntiRansomware (free)


    System Restore: you just have to enable this. Some restore points are created automatically.

    Suggest you run a couple of routine checks while you are looking at this as it's not a maintained system:
    Download and run Hard Disk Sentinel (trial) and make sure all disks are reported as good.
    If not, do not continue, and post back .

    Then this in case sthg has happened to your file system:

    From an admin command prompt
    [Windows key + X, click command prompt (admin)]
    chkdsk C: /F
    Your PC will need to restart.
    Post back the result, which you can get after a restart as follows:
    Read Chkdsk Log in Event Viewer in Windows 10 Windows 10 Performance Maintenance Tutorials
    or
    How to read Event Viewer log for Chkdsk in Windows 10 [Tip] | Reviews, news, tips, and tricks | dotTechdotTech
    or
    How do I see the results of a CHKDSK that ran on boot? - Ask Leo!
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  6.    01 Aug 2017 #6
    Join Date : Jun 2016
    UK
    Posts : 282
    Windows 10 Home 64 bit (with Creators OS)

    Quote Originally Posted by RhinoCan View Post
    My brother's computer, which is running Windows 10, has got major problems. It boots up okay but he can't launch any programs after the boot cycle is finished. When he tries to launch an app from his desktop, nothing happens. He can right-click and see Task Manager but it won't launch. He can right-click on the Windows icon and get the context menu but he can't get the Windows menu to come up.

    He installed a hidden objects game a day or two back. He said it worked but it wasn't very good. The problem began shortly after that. I'm guessing he picked up some kind of malware in that download. The computer - it's an Acer desktop - came with Windows pre-installed. He has no Windows media and is not in the habit of taking a regular backup.

    How can we fix this problem? I was going to run a thorough anti-virus scan, probably MalwareBytes, but I'm not sure how to do that when we can't install anything. I would have uninstalled his hidden objects game if I could have gotten to Control Panel but I'm not sure how to do that either since we can't get to Control Panel in the normal way.

    I'm hoping there's something we can do short of sending it out to the local computer store....
    I had exactly the same fault before Easter. A black screen with all my icons on it (which I could move around) and the Taskbar fully populated but everything was unresponsive. I was up and running again in about 15 minutes after using my Macrium Rescue Media dvd to boot and then copy a 15-hour old daily Macrium image from my ext. USB HDD to the C: drive. Sorted.

    ADDED: Of course, my problem was clearly not caused by a virus etc. which might have been alive in the backup image. In that case, I would use on of my backups of C: (an SSD) made every day for a week.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  7.    02 Aug 2017 #7
    Join Date : Jan 2015
    UK, Midlands
    Posts : 10,971
    Win 10 Pro (1703)

    Note: as you can now launch programs, you can now run
    sfc /scannow
    from an admin command prompt. Try that for starters after the above, and report the result.

    If ok, try creating a new user for test purposes, and see if you see the same symptoms when logged in as that user.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

 


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