hourglass flashing cursor and autorun pop-up

Dell / OPTIPLEX GX280
August 15, 2010 at 15:44:56
Specs: XP Pro
I have a problem PC with a cursor flashing the hourglass continuously looking as if there is something running in the background. Then every once in awhile an autorun box with no information starts running on the top left of the screen for about 5 seconds then dissappears. There is nothing suspicious at all running in the task manager.

Here is what I have done so far
1- researched on google all the symptoms relating to these problems
2- Done scans with the following regarding the flashing cursor
a-Malwarebytes
b-trojan remover
c-hitman pro
d-spybot S&D
e-Super-Aniti Spyware
f- Avast bootscan
g- Panda Cloud
h- rkill.exe
i-Tdss killer
They all come up clean

For the autorun problem I have enabled, disabled autorun on all drives and it still pops up.

I really don't want to do a reformat and re-install of XP pro as the client has not backed up all their important files.
That is another reason I haven't run combofix either.

Does anyone have any insight to this?
Thanks

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#1
August 16, 2010 at 00:20:17

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#2
August 16, 2010 at 04:03:01
thanks for the link, I'll give it a shot

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#3
August 17, 2010 at 17:38:31
Actually that utility didn't say much of anything, anyone else?

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Related Solutions

#4
August 17, 2010 at 19:08:46
Regarding the hourglass cursor being present a lot of the time.....

Is the client using Windows Media Player 10 or 11 ?
If so, does the client have media sharing (share my media or similar) enabled in it ?
I have found that when that's enabled it bogs down Windows a lot more than the modest amount of memory it uses would make you think it would. Disable media sharing if it's enabled.

Does the client have the add-on Windows Search (Windows Desktop Search) installed ? It also bogs down Windows a lot more than the modest amount of memory it uses would make you think it would. Un-install it if it's in Add Remove Programs.

.......

What anti-malware programs or third party firewalls are installed on the client's computer ?

There should be no more than one resident module ( a part that runs all the time in the background) for those, that does the same thing, running at any one time. If more than one has a resident module that does the same thing, disable all but one resident module that does the same thing from running in the program's settings, otherwise you're a lot more likely to have problems with the resident modules clashing.

E.g.

Don't run the resident module for Microsoft's Windows Defender and the free or paid version of AVG 9.x at the same time - they definitely clash with each other .

Don't run the resident module for Spybot and a third party firewall at the same time - Spybot free and paid has a firewall like component.
Similar may apply to the paid version of AdAware.

Don't run the resident module for the paid version of AVG 9.x and a third party firewall at the same time - paid AVG has a firewall - it auto disables the Windows firewall, but it may not auto disable a third party firewall, especially if the latter was installed after AVG paid.


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#5
August 17, 2010 at 22:14:34
hi tubes, thanks for the reply. The client is using Avast as the AV. She doesn't use the media players for anything as the PC is used on a network for Dr billings. The only other program running is Spyware Blaster.

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#6
August 17, 2010 at 23:04:37
"She doesn't use the media players for anything as the PC is used on a network for Dr billings."

She doesn't have to be actively using WMP 10 or 11 - if media sharing is enabled in either of them , I've seen that there is considerable time the cursor is an hourglass.

"The client is using Avast as the AV."
"The only other program running is Spyware Blaster."

The Avast! version may NOT be just anti-virus.
Look in the program to see what modules it has.
It definitely has at least one resident module. If it has an anti-spyware component, the resident module(s) of that may be clashing with the resident module(s) of Spyware Blaster .

Look in the Spyware Blaster program - is anti-spyware the only thing it does ?
Does it have (a) resident molule(s) ?

I know from experience the current versions of Avast! bog down the computer performance a lot more than older versions did. I recommended un-installing it and installing something else that's not so taxing - e.g. AVG 9.x free or paid.
AVG free has only one resident module - the Resident Shield - that may also apply to the paid version, which has a firewall as well. .
Malwarebytes free is a good backup and has no resident modules. However, it must be Updated after the first time it's installed before you run it.
.......

Notes I made....

How to disable Avast! such as when installing software.

Double click on the icon for Avast! (round blue with a white lower case a) on the desktop.

It runs some tests.
The info/help menu appears - close it.

At top left on the graphical interface click on the up arrow to display the Menu.

Click on Settings.

Click on Troubleshooting.

Click on the blank box beside these to insert a checkmark:

Optional:

Disable rootkit scan....

Disable raw disk access....

Mandatory - Most important:

Disable avast! self defense mode

(the resident scanner that runs all the time Windows is running.)


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#7
August 18, 2010 at 09:00:28
Avast is actually the best AV for protection. I haven't noticed the newest version bogging down an XP OS yet. I install Avast on all my repairs and never had a problem. AVG just doesn't have the same protection IMO.
Spyware Blaster just kills offending files before they get to the PC. I don't know if it has a resident module.

I did try with no AV whatsoever and still had the flashing cursor and the autorun pop-ups so obviously it is not that problem, thanks anyways for your input, I sure appreciate it tubes.
The problem started about 2 months ago. The client did 2 system restores and didn't undo a restoration if it didn't work so now the system restore function is non existant.

This sure has me puzzled and I really don't want to reformat the PC if that isn't the problem. I'm still researching, luckily they have 4 other PC's on their network so I'm not too rushed.

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#8
August 19, 2010 at 07:27:47
The symptoms could be those of a failed software installation.

Sometimes people quit the software installation at the wrong time, e.g. before it's actually finished at or near the end the process,

OR - the installation failed because the resident module(s) of anti-malware or third party firewalls were NOT disabled before running the software installation, and it(they) interfered with the software installing properly, and you often get no indication the software did not install properly in that case

OR, some other software that didn't need to be running was running at the time interfered with the software installation and it did not install properly.

Ask the client if she can remember trying to install software for something, that did not install successfully, just before she first had this problem .
The symptoms may not have appeared until after she had restarted Windows the next time.

You could try using Microsoft's "Windows Installer Cleanup Utility" to see if it lists something installed by the Windows Installer that doesn't otherwise show up in Add/Remove Programs, and if so, delete the entry(ies).
I have done that many times and doing that did get rid of the pop ups and the hourglass cursor problem caused by a failed software installation.
Sometimes when you look at the processes running in Task Manager while you have the symptoms, one of the programs listed has clues about which software it was for when you examine it's Properties info in My Computer or Windows Explorer. Sometimes there is also an entry in msconfig - startup related to the running process that causes the symptoms.

However, Microsoft no longer has that available to download on their web site, despite the fact they did have it for several years. Were there problems with it ?
It's still available on the web. It does no harm to run it to see what it lists.


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