Unable to access external or CD drives

September 22, 2011 at 23:23:13
Specs: Windows XP, Intel Celeron 2.8ghz/ 504Mb RAM
I am attempting to fix my aunt's computer.

I am unable to access external drives (namely a USB external harddrive, and the CD drive on normal XP User accounts) on the XP's default user account, including on a new user account with administrator privileges.

I have tested multiple CDs and external hard drives, but not thumb drives (none here)

The error message "x:\ drive is unaccessible. Access is denied" occurs whenever I double click, or right click and select "explore"

However, both drives are accessible when in safe mode (with or without networking) and there is no problem accesing them at all whilst in this mode.

Looking on the net for similar problems, I have tried fiddling with Permissions through both the Safe Mode administrator Account and from within the new User Account (Susie), enabling Full Control on the USB drive
(I can't find a similar tab with the options when right clicking the CD drive)

However, this has not affected the error messages or the normal XP user accounts inability to access these external drives.

Running Windows XP Professional (5.1, 2600) SP3

PS: Additionally, I do not know if its related, or simply a coincidence, but the computer is also having problem connecting to the internet. When in the user accounts, it will connect to the 2 networks I have passwords for, but not to the internet that is linked to either network despite being able to on my phone and laptop.

Please let me know what further information I can give to help in solving this problem.

Many thanks in advance!

Casey


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#1
September 23, 2011 at 06:46:00
When something works in safe mode but not in normal mode, that means that there is a software conflict.

Click start, run, type msconfig, press enter, go to the startup tab, uncheck whatever you don't need to load at startup, which is most of it. Click apply, ok & restart. Click ok again after it restarts.

How do you know when a politician is lying? His mouth is moving.


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#2
September 23, 2011 at 09:04:32
All users of XP have administrator privileges by default, except the optional Guest user which has limited privileges, but any user with administrator privileges can assign limited privileges to another user.
I'm assuming your aunt's account has administrator privileges.

If an external hard drive has one or more NTFS partitions that were created on a different Windows installation, you can get "access denied" messages when you try to access folders or files on the external drive, even when the user you're using has full administrator privileges, if any user that used the different Windows installation was using a password.
However.....
- you ALSO get the "access denied" messages in Safe mode, and in Safe mode with networking mode
- you DO NOT get the "access denied" messages for an external optical (CD or DVD) drive.

Since you CAN access the external hard drive and the external optical drive in Safe mode, and in Safe mode with networking mode, something else is going on with your aunt's computer.
Safe mode, and Safe mode with networking mode, do not load a lot of things that are loaded when Windows is loaded normally, and obviously something of whatever it is that is not being loaded is what is denying you access to the external drives when you boot normally.

The most likely suspect is there is malware that is loading when you boot normally that is preventing you from accessing the external drives..
Usually running msconfig and disabling everything listed under the Startup tab DOES NOT prevent the malware from loading when you load Windows normally.

Try downloading and installing Malwarebytes and running it.

See response 1:
http://www.computing.net/answers/wi...

Ignore the part about loading your latest System Restore restore point unless you did what the guy in that Topic said he did in the first post - loaded a previous restore point.

NOTE that Malwarebytes may only install and run in Safe mode with networking mode.

...............

" PS: Additionally, I do not know if its related, or simply a coincidence, but the computer is also having problem connecting to the internet. When in the user accounts, it will connect to the 2 networks I have passwords for, but not to the internet that is linked to either network despite being able to on my phone and laptop."

If you DO have malware that Malwarebytes is able to find and you choose to remove it, that problem MAY be fixed by you doing that.

If not, you haven't provided enough information.

e.g.

- are you troubleshooting her computer at her place or at your place ?

- is there a standalone router / standalone high speed modem combo, or a combo router / high speed modem, her computer is supposed to connect to the internet through ?

- is her computer connecting to the device(s) that connect(s) her to the internet via a wired (network cable) or a wireless network adapter connection ?


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#3
September 24, 2011 at 01:00:26
Unfortunately, neither deselecting everything in MSConfig or the Malwarebytes detection and removal of three items (one being a "rogue.installation.helper") did anything to affect the Access Denied problems upon a fresh restart.

The internet issue is more puzzling now, since I've looked at the modem address page, and the computer is definitely logged as being on the network (through another computer), but no program can connect to the internet from my aunt's computer. Even whens exception rules were created in Windows Firewall, access to the internet is seemingly blocked, yet access to the network is not.

Anyways, fortunately (I've spent a fair few hours trying to work these problems out!) I managed to find an old recovery disc from 3 years ago up in my aunt's shed, so I think I'll just go with the nuclear option and re-install the operating system.

Just wanted to thank both Guapo and TubesandWires for your time, your help was much appreciated when I was ready to give up. I'm just very fortunate I found the recovery CDs!! I think they're actually for another computer my aunt had, but its the same brand, so fingers crossed I won't have trouble hereon out!

Casey


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#4
September 24, 2011 at 09:09:25
I read your first post again and it isn't clear whether theCD drive you were not able to access is external or internal.

You should NOT be getting any Access Denied message regarding accessing an external optical (CD or DVD) drive .
Are you still getting that ?

You should NOT be getting any Access Denied message regarding accessing an internal optical (CD or DVD) drive.

Are you still getting that ?

There are free online anti-malware scanners you could try. E.g. Kaspersky has one. Most major anti=malware makers have one.

Some anti-malware makers also offer the oftion of making a bootable CD you can boot the computer with to search for malware on it.

Does your aunt's computer have any other symptoms that you haven't mentioned ?
If yes, tell us about that / those .Symptoms can be important clues regarding what the problem or malware is..
.....

You haven't provideed any further useful info about the internet problem - we need info like I asked for.
It's extremely unlikely the problem has anything to do with Firewall settings - they NEVER block access to internet for all programs .
..........

"I managed to find an old recovery disc from 3 years ago up in my aunt's shed,"

"I found the recovery CDs!! I think they're actually for another computer my aunt had, but its the same brand, so fingers crossed I won't have trouble hereon out!"

You usually CANNOT use the Recovery disks that came with a different brand name computer model with anything but the same model, or a small group of models made by the same brand name systembuilder at about the same time. They will usually refuise to install !

Computers that had XP on them originally often came with a brand name system labelled XP Re-installation CD or similar. Usually the same applies to that.
..............

You should COPY or back up personal data your aunt does not want to lose to elsewhere BEFORE you run the Recovery procedure or install Windows from scratch !


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#5
September 24, 2011 at 20:01:54
Fortunately the recovery DVDs did work, but they were for another same brand computer, so now it has Vista rather than XP. I had forgotten how bad, slow, and resource hogging that OS was >_<. But done is done, unless I could get a XP recovery disc online somewhere? When I go over to my aunt's next time, I will Windows Security Essentials, that seems to be getting some good reviews for utility, effectiveness and ease of use. I've asked her not to use the computer in the meantime.

And yes, I backed up and then redeployed my aunt's important data onto the new installation of Vista, that information is secure.

The CD drive was internal, and was still getting access denied. There was never a point where it was accessible whilst in non-safe mode. I did have an external DVD drive there, but I didn't think to test it in non-safe mode (I only unpacked it to access the DVD recovery discs and "re-install" the OS.

As for the extra internet questions:

The modem is a wi-fi router (all in one?), and my aunt's computer didn't have an inbuilt wireless card, but accessed the net through a USB D-Link wireless adaptor. The adaptor would connect to the WiFi network while in both non-safe mode and in safe mode, but not to the internet (though I only tested this through loading up browsers, like Firefox, IE and Chrome, which would give blank pages or error messages, such as "you are not connected to the internet". The adaptor works fine with the new Vista recovery installation.

The computer is at my aunt's place, and troubleshooting was taking place there.

There otherwise aren't any other symptoms in general that I can recall the computer displaying, beside an abnormally long load time for the malwarebytes software when i double clicked the setup.exe program. Despite everything else being positively zippy on the XP installation, in between double clicking to install Malwarebytes, and the first installation window finally popping up, it was probably 3-4 minutes.

However, something I should have mentioned before, is that I came to this computer after many months of not being used by my aunt, who said it was "unuseable". I'm guessing because she couldn't access the internet or USB drives for photo transfers etc.

However, she said the computer only became unuseable after she fell for the Techno Genie scam, where someone from India calls, says there's a virus on the scam target's computer, and that the scam target needs their help and to buy their software. She lost a fair bit of money through this scam unfortunately, but as I was away in Holland for 12 months studying, she didn't think to call or contact me to check. I just found out my grandfather was similarly scammed at the same time, though he went and sent his computer somewhere to be fixed, and it came back fine.

But it's all sort of a moot question now, due to the "reinstallation" of Vista, but I'll be sure to come to this forum earlier in a troubleshooting scenario next time. Thanks again!



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#6
September 26, 2011 at 07:35:24
"Fortunately the recovery DVDs did work, but they were for another same brand computer, so now it has Vista rather than XP."

You were fortunate, indeed.
Some brand name models came with either XP or Vista on them originally - I assume your aunt's model could have come with either, and that's why it worked with the Recovery disks.

"I had forgotten how bad, slow, and resource hogging that OS was >_<."

You may be able to get the computer to run Vista much better by simply adding more ram than it has now. However, it may not be able run run Vista as fast as it was running XP in any case.

"But done is done, unless I could get a XP recovery disc online somewhere?"

If her computer is about 5 years old or less, they're often still available from the brand name's web site.
If not, there are a few web sites that have collected Recovery disk sets for brand name computers that you can buy for a similar price.

In either case, buying the Recovery disk set is much cheaper including shipping than buying the cheapest type of new XP CD - a Microsoft OEM XP Home CD.

Tell us the make and model of your brand name system, or if you have a generic desktop system, the make and model, or at least the model, of your mboard.

The model of a brand name system is usually on a label on the outside of the case,

or if it's a Dell system, go here to find your Service tag number, tell us what it is:
http://support.dell.com/support/top...

or if it's a Compaq or HP system
Go here:
http://partsurfer.hp.com/

Scroll down a bit.

Find the similar label on the outside of the case.
Quote the
- specific model number - at the end of the first line
- the Product Number - p/n - on the third line


The model of a mboard in a a generic desktop system is usually printed in obvious larger characters on the surface of the mboard, often between the slots, or near the center of the mboard.

Some computers show a screen with the model number on it while booting the computer.

.....

"...Windows Security Essentials, that seems to be getting some good reviews for utility, effectiveness and ease of use. "

Your aunts problems were caused by crap that was installed because she fell for the scam. It wouldn't have mattered whatever anti-malware software she had installed, except possibly the paid version of Malwarebytes might have prevented the software from installing.

I usually install the free version of AVG on my systems and other people's systems I work on, currently AVG 2012, although AVG 2011 will be supported for a while yet.

NOTE that most versions of Vista have Microsoft's Windows Defender anti-spyware software built into it. It can't be un-installed, but it can be prevented from running by changing settings in Windows Defender itself.
Installing Microsoft's Security Essentials automatically prevents Windows Defender from running.
Installing most, but not all, major anti-malware software prevents Windows Defender from running, but I make sure Windows Defender has been prevented from running in it's settings to make sure, otherwise Windows Defender and the other anti-malware software may conflict with each other.

NOTE that I KNOW Security Essentials conflicts with AVG 2011's or 2012's Resident Shield module.
....

"And yes, I backed up and then redeployed my aunt's important data onto the new installation of Vista, that information is secure."

Good !
Too many people neglect to do that.
....

"However, something I should have mentioned before, is that I came to this computer after many months of not being used by my aunt, who said it was "unusable". I'm guessing because she couldn't access the internet or USB drives for photo transfers etc.

However, she said the computer only became unusable after she fell for the Techno Genie scam, where someone from India calls, says there's a virus on the scam target's computer, and that the scam target needs their help and to buy their software. She lost a fair bit of money through this scam unfortunately, but as I was away in Holland for 12 months studying, she didn't think to call or contact me to check. I just found out my grandfather was similarly scammed at the same time, though he went and sent his computer somewhere to be fixed, and it came back fine."

Did you know about that before you started this Topic ??

If yes, you should have mentioned that in the first post !

Your aunt allowed her computer to be highjacked !

There is probably already info on the web about how to get rid of Whatever Techno Genie installed and whatever Techno Genie contaminated the computer with.

"There otherwise aren't any other symptoms in general that I can recall the computer displaying, beside an abnormally long load time for the malwarebytes software when i double clicked the setup.exe program. Despite everything else being positively zippy on the XP installation, in between double clicking to install Malwarebytes, and the first installation window finally popping up, it was probably 3-4 minutes"

Malwarebytes specializes in detecting and getting rid of crap that a "rogue" anti-malware program was responsible for contaminating the computer with, but the software Techno Genie was responsible for installing may have done more than that.

It usually takes only a short time to initially install the Malwarebyes software, but in this case I suspect it detected something was interfering with it accessing the internet, but the installation software was "clever" enough that it was able to get around that and update itself.
I'm assuming it WAS able to update itself - was it ? If NO, then the Full malwarebytes scan can't find and get rid of stuff that 's newer than what the current download was designed for - the download may be as much as a few months old.

You didn't say whether you installed Malwarebytes in Windows Safe mode with networkong (mode0 - if youn didn't do that, it would probably have taken only the usual short time to install it .

"As for the extra internet questions:

The modem is a wi-fi router (all in one?), and my aunt's computer didn't have an inbuilt wireless card, but accessed the net through a USB D-Link wireless adapter. The adaptor would connect to the WiFi network while in both non-safe mode and in safe mode, but not to the internet (though I only tested this through loading up browsers, like Firefox, IE and Chrome, which would give blank pages or error messages, such as "you are not connected to the internet". The adaptor works fine with the new Vista recovery installation."

The inability to connect to the internet in normal mode was probably caused by something Techno Genie was responsible for installing.


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