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And the nightmare continues

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  #21  
Old 12-16-2006, 04:28 PM
Craig Walters's Avatar
Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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Re: And the nightmare continues

ok, this is cute. there is no administrator account available to me in normal windows. there is only one user account named the same as the old account name.

i'm now thinking that this account may not have admin permissions for some reason or that they got messed up during the re-install somehow.... maybe confused by the same user name thing i did.

at this point i'm not even sure how serious all this is. it's certainly not optimal and it's certainly screwy.
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  #22  
Old 12-16-2006, 05:38 PM
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Gary Richardson Gary Richardson is offline
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Re: And the nightmare continues

OK, lot to go through here.

First of all, not a good idea to go online with Safe Mode with Networking, because all your defensive programmes will be switched off (most do not run in safe mode), leaving you wide open to all the Bots trawling the web.

Permissions can be a really problematic thing to deal with in Windows, because registry keys can "inherit" permissions from up the line, by which I mean from keys further down the hive structure.

This could be why you can set your home page in safe mode but not in Normal mode. The programme from which permissions is being inherited is not running in SM therefore no problem setting your HP, whereas it is in Normal mode and therefore you can't.

As regards administrator priviledges, Windows accounts are by default administrator. To check whether the account you're using is, do the following.

Go to Control Panel and click on User Accounts underneath your account icon it will tell you.

If it's not an Administrator account, click Change an Account, click on your Icon, click on Change my account type, check the Computer Administrator button then click Change account type.

Administrator is an account only found in Safe Mode, as it is a different account to your own, Windows will not allow you to set things for other accounts. Any alterations to your account must be done within your account.

The term Administrator is a bit confusing I know, it is NOT an account that allows you to Administer to other accounts.


You could try setting your home page for all accounts as RetouchPro.
  • Click Start > Run type Regedit then click OK.
  • This will open your Resistry Editor.
  • Navigate to this key.
Quote:
HKey_Local_Machine\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main
  • Click the Main folder in the left pane, to show the entries in the right pane.
  • Scan down the right hand pane to find Start Page.
  • Double click on it to open the Edit String window. Your current start page will be in the Value data field. If nothing is there, then add the url for Retouch Pro http://www.retouchpro.com click OK.
  • Exit from Registry Editor.

Note: HKey_Current_User which is the hive branch for the logged on account, has been replaced by HKey_Local_Machine which is a hive branch which deals with Computer Wide settings (ie settings for all accounts).

Last edited by Gary Richardson; 12-16-2006 at 05:49 PM.
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  #23  
Old 12-16-2006, 11:34 PM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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Re: And the nightmare continues

thanks, gary.

yes, this account is labeled as administrator. i checked control panel like you suggested and it says it's admin.

and so far, the only place i can edit reg keys is in safe mode. so, again i'm thinking this page may be my solution: http://www.s2services.com/cmd-single-windows-tables.htm , especially the 'xp reset permissions.rar'. that's the one that helped me out a couple years ago with things that i couldnt access in xp because i didnt have permissions after some bad crashes.

i'm taking my time with this, you may notice. it's fairly minor so far and i've not found anything else that doesnt work... just the browser home page and editing the reg. so, anything you've got, i'm open
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  #24  
Old 12-17-2006, 03:45 AM
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Gary Richardson Gary Richardson is offline
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Re: And the nightmare continues

Hi Craig,

The repair permissions script is OK far as I know, so I'd give that a go first, if you find further problems with IE, then IE Fix may resolve them.
  • Download IE Fix
  • Follow the instructions on this webpage here
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  #25  
Old 12-17-2006, 12:08 PM
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1STLITE 1STLITE is offline
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Re: And the nightmare continues

Craig, seriously, this is really weird. lol Hope you get it all straightened out.

Still working on my problem, and finding new symptoms as well.

Look, if you are up for it, I will go to the bank tomorrow (or paypal) and set up the C&D Mac Fund.... ?

Good luck getting that worked out. Did either of the last two things work?

Dawn
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  #26  
Old 12-17-2006, 12:55 PM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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Re: And the nightmare continues

hehehe, dawn i think microsoft shld set that fund up

and yes, i've got my home page back as RP now. it's just that the only way i have of changing it, so far, is thru safe mode. i havent applied the permissions thing yet or the new one that gary just posted. still trying to understand what it is microsoft did (thru me) to my machine before i go screwing it up even worse.

the machine does work; it's just not quite how it shld work. and i can always just wipe the c: drive and start from scratch if push comes to shove. but i'm rather curious about this whole thing and i've also found over the years that it's rather like retouching an image, if you never attempt the hard ones, you never learn how to retouch the hard ones. i'm somewhat the same way with my computers; i want to know how to fix them, not replace them. in the long run it tends to pay off. in the short run it can be aggravating as hell

and dawn, if you need any help, shout it out. and even if you dont, i'm curious as to how things are progressing with your system. did you buy the new external and get it set up? and what symptoms are you still having?

gary,

thanks! i havent tried the repair permissions yet. and that fixit looks somewhat similar to something i saw on the MS site yesterday about re-registering .dll's. the .inf part is new though. interesting notion there. you would think microsoft would have a repair web site or something. log in to it, hit 'go' and microsoft would check your system for you and fix anything that was wrong with windows or its other products. yeah, that aint gonna happen

i'm attaching a screenshot of my documents and settings folder in windows explorer to show you just what i've got now. notice the duplicate folder names with an added extension. this is quite puzzling. all of the ones with a .windows added on are the new ones. it's also quite odd that in some places my account name is simply 'Craig' where in other places it will show as 'Craig.Walt'. 'Walt' is the machine name and those are all new to the new install as well.

so, i've got all the old user account info (except for a bunch i've now deleted because they were obviously of no use any more) and all the new user account stuff. and it's this part of the system i'm wondering about if it is somehow affecting the registry and the browser. can i just wipe the old stuff completely out or is the new stuff drawing from the old stuff?

and i'm also curious if i had named the new user account something other than the same name as before, if it would have come up after the install with both the old and the new account info like this, being that i installed OVER the old install without re-formatting the drive. i would have thought it would be like when you re-install an old program over itself, your save files remain intact but the program files get re-written. that's how i first approached the windows re-install, but now i'm wondering and not sure.

you mentioned the inheriting properties of the registry. could i have inherited some things from the old? are those old things still there? do i have something like a dual-registry or something going on here? or maybe just duplicate entries somewhere that are screwing things up? and since the new user account is an administrator account, why cant i edit reg keys? i do recall during the re-install, watching things running and seeing an info line mention deleting some files and then replacing them with new. i dont know what those were, but i did notice it.

hehe... now, i dont expect you to know all this. and if you're tired of fooling with it, i'd certainly understand. so, dont worry about it. the machine is working. if you happen to have any answers, i'd love to hear them, but i certainly dont expect you, or anyone else, to be the 'microsoft technical support' here. it's nice having someone with an understanding of these thngs around, but i certainly dont expect you to feel obliged to help or to go out of your way. and let's face it, i tried to take some shortcuts to save the stuff i have on this machine. the proper thing would have been to have everything backed up and to wipe the partition and start over and then restore from the backups.

oh, and by the way, the drive i thought was going bad seems, so far, to be functioning just fine. the original thing that caused all this seems to have been two-fold. one, a print process failed, got reset the wrong way and i had to reboot the machine to try to fix the stuck printer. when i rebooted i got the original 'no config file' error message and windows was lost. and two, apparently the 3 harddrives didnt like to be physically that close to each other and were generating too much heat. the two things in combination made me think the harddrive was going bad and screwing with windows. it may still be going bad, but so far it's not showing any more symptoms.

so, gary, thanks for all your help! continue to do so at your leisure and whim. i do appreciate it!
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  #27  
Old 12-18-2006, 08:50 AM
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Gary Richardson Gary Richardson is offline
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Re: And the nightmare continues

I've no real idea why your computer has created a new User Account for you, doesn't seem to be any reason for it to do so, but it certainly looks like that's what its done.

To check look in Control Panel > User Accounts, there should be a new user there as well.

All user account settings are seperate in the registry, and are not transferable, by which I mean they don't affect each other. They are contained in seperate keys under the main registry Key HKey_Users, and the relevant one is loaded into the key HKey_Current_User when you log onto your computer. This will contain all the user specific settings for whichever user is logged in.

As far as I know (and I'm reasonably sure about this), Windows cannot create a second Registry (the registry is not really one place, but a series of files called hives, and they are stored in very specific locations).

When I said a key could "inherit" permissions, I did not mean inherit from older versions, but "passed down the chain" from other keys further up the "Tree" (some system files can set priviledges). There is a way to unlock them, but it is quite complex and may cause unforeseen complications even if done correctly. Working in the Registry is a bit like dancing in a minefield, you've got to constantly look where you're putting your feet, and even then you sometimes step on a mine.

Probably the safest thing to do is to run the Reset Permissions tool, I'd make a System Restore point before you do that, just in case.

If I were stood next to you, I'd be confident enough to explore the registry problems a little deeper, but working in the registry by post is the easy way to disaster.

Normally when dealing with registry matters at distance, I write scripts to rectify things, and usually have them checked by one of the experts at MRU or SWW, but in this case it requires permissions to be changed and inheritance settings changing, and I don't know how to script that.

Sorry for my inadequacy.


EDIT:Did a bit of research, seems its normal for Windows to create the Extra folders in Documents and Settings when creating a new install over an existing install. As for the Extra account, because you already had an account named Craig, it could not create one of the same name.

Quote:
Now you'll see six or more folders, among which will likely be ones named All Users, All Users.WINDOWS, Default User, Default User.WINDOWS, and 'fake'. There will also be a folder for each of the old installation's log-in names.
(ignore the "fake", that was a ruse by the installer to avoid the "same name" problem.)

Have a read of this, may be of interest to you. http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,11...3/article.html

Last edited by Gary Richardson; 12-18-2006 at 09:09 AM.
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  #28  
Old 12-19-2006, 01:51 AM
Craig Walters's Avatar
Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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Re: And the nightmare continues

gary,

the only thing i can think is that windows apparently did a sort of alias thing and combined the data from the old into the new but left the old inactive.... or something.

well, it's moot now. i gave in and reformatted the c: partition and re-installed windows. natually, i goofed this up and then had to do a quick re-format and install again.... dont ask. then the driver installs got a bit pissy on me but seem ok now.

basically, before this new install, the double account install crashed again, bad, and wouldnt boot up again. the 'comctl32.dll was corrupted. i did manage to repair it through the repair features of the install disk, but it was pretty bad off. so, it was just time to re-format. in doing the repair i did manage to save off my email, favorites and other stuff like that.

so, i've a nice clean c: partition with over 6 gigs free now. that shld be good for a month or two

sometimes being stubborn just isnt worth it. so, the old junk is gone and good riddance. i still dont really know what really caused all this, a drive going bad, too much heat from the drives being too close to each other, the bad printer error, or some odd virus/trojan/root kit. i really dont know. i've removed the one drive for the time being and removed a pci card that is no longer being used either, just to eliminate all possible problems.

the system boots up nicely and i had almost no problem restoring my internet this time. some of the system drivers got a little pissy on me and hung the machine once during when they needed to restart the machine, and i had to reinstall one of those as well, but other than that, things look ok. device manager seems happy, other than my printer drivers which i'll install later.

so, lots of stuff to install now. i'll catch up everything you said in your last post tomorrow. it's been a loooong day. i'd forgotten how dreadfully long a full reformat can take. so, whatever it was you posted, thank you
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  #29  
Old 12-19-2006, 09:34 AM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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Re: And the nightmare continues

oh wow! you actually found something about the double accounts thing. amazing! i'm impressed! glad to know this wasnt quite as weird as i had thought.

and you're not going to believe this, but i cant set RP as my home page still. unbelievable! i mean, i can set it and hit apply but it doesnt remain as soon as i quit out of 'internet options'. i just cant believe this. a total reformat and reinstall and i cant set the home page? what in the world is with this pc? is there any way for a root kit to survive a reformat? i noticed when i reformatted that xp no longer allows the /U arguement to 'format'. the /U meant unconditional and wiped anything and everything. i've just got to wonder how much xp or something else is hiding something from even the format command and allowing data to migrate over to a new install. or is this just some sort of weird bug in xp and i.e.? i've got no service packs or updates installed yet. very strange.

well, i've got to go to work. i'll get back to this later.
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  #30  
Old 12-19-2006, 11:18 AM
Gary Richardson's Avatar
Gary Richardson Gary Richardson is offline
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Re: And the nightmare continues

To my knowledge there's nothing to date in the malware line that survives a complete re-format and install. There are theoretical scenarios for a bios level rootkit, but that's all it is so far, theoretical.

There's only ever been one bios level virus, and that was really basic and only managed to &*%^$ the bios not infect it with any kind of "purposeful" programme.

How many accounts do you have on the new install? Can you set Homepage in any of these accounts?

I really don't know what's happening here, but I do have access to a lot of smart arses over at MRU and SWW etc. and they usually know the answer to most problems (or know someone who does), so once you've finished your install/set up I'll ask over there if you like.
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