Desktop stuck in safe mode loop – please help!

Posted by: ST on September 2, 2009 at 12:59 am

*UPDATE* 9/2/09 – 8:20 PM: For the latest news on the desktop situation, click here.

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Ok, I’ll try and be as descriptive as I can about what happened.

Currently, I’m on my (old and very slow) laptop. Earlier this evening while I was working in Firefox on the XP desktop, I kept getting pop up messages from Norton’s saying they had blocked this Trojan or that. Not long after that, I started getting a pop up from something called “Win Police Pro” which I know is a “fake” virus detection program that installs itself on your computer and starts doing weird stuff. Well, no matter how many times I tried to take it off, it wouldn’t come off. I tried to run a Check Disk and it wouldn’t run, I did the F8 thing at restart and it would not allow me to start in Safe Mode. I would just get a blue screen telling me I needed to do various things like run the Check Disk. I restarted several times in attempts to delete WPP but the desktop would restart itself after a few minutes of looking like it was going operate as normal.

I tried to do a System Restore about 6 times but each time the computer came back up it would tell me that the system couldn’t be restored to the various points I tried.

I logged on to the laptop to find out how to force the desktop into Safe Mode – so I could follow the instructions I had pulled up on how to remove WPP – by going to msconfig/Boot.ini and then clicking on “Safeboot.” That is when the endless safe mode loop started. No matter how many times I ask that black screen to start windows normally or start in in the “last known good configuration” it goes to that blue screen again.

The research I did on the laptop suggested that I “use the Operating System disk” that supposedly came with the computer. I got no such disk – just a piece of paper shaped like a disk that said I didn’t need it, that the computer already came with a system restore function. So now at this point I’m screwed and have pulled almost all my hair out.

I desperately want to get back to my desktop to attempt (again) to do a manual removal of WPP so I can get back to using my desktop again. Not only that, but I do not want to lose all the family pix I have stored on my C: drive.

Any ideas? Please email them using the “contact” link above or post in the comments. I may not get around to answering them until sometime later this (Wednesday) morning and won’t get to attempt utilize any ideas until Weds night, so I’m hoping between now and then someone or numerous people will be able to point me in the right direction.

Thanks in advance!

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30 Responses to “Desktop stuck in safe mode loop – please help!”

Comments

  1. John Gray says:

    I have used these instructions successfully before with similar issues : LINK

  2. John Gray says:

    Sorry, it appears that the instructions in the link I posted no longer work. Try the F-Secure Rescue CD.

  3. Rovin says:

    The dreaded “blue screen” can be bad news Sis. Can you get to a point where you can try a “system restore” (if you have it)?

    Otherwise, I would suggest you buy a inexpensive external hard drive and try to save all your docs there. Dragging, or copy and paste the “my documents” folder to the external drive would have most of your pertinent files. You may have to re-format your whole system.

    Or, (with all your wealth), you could take it to a computer tech and have them try to save and fix the problem.

  4. Anthony says:

    Ouch! My sympathies, ST. :(

    I haven’t any good techie advice to offer here; blue screens usually mean having to wipe the hard drive and reinstalling everything. I hope you can at least get it running long enough to back-up the files you want to save, as Rovin suggested.

    Good luck, kiddo.

  5. Rovin – that’s the thing: When I was able to access my desktop, I ran a system restore about 6 times and when the computer came back up I’d get a message that said it could not restore to that point. Now, when it comes up it looks like Windows is trying to load and then it takes me to the black “start in safe mode/normally” yada yada and it won’t let me start in any of those modes. It takes me to the blue screen.

  6. CZ says:

    Here’s my humble advice:

    -Unplug CPU, monitor and all peripheral devices.

    -Carefully package CPU in original container (if possible).

    -Drop off package at recycling center.

    -Buy a new iMac.

    -Plug in iMac.

    -Enjoy many future carefree years of computing excellence.

    Just sayin’ ;)

  7. Rovin says:

    Rovin – that’s the thing: When I was able to access my desktop, I ran a system restore about 6 times and when the computer came back up I’d get a message that said it could not restore to that point. Now, when it comes up it looks like Windows is trying to load and then it takes me to the black “start in safe mode/normally” yada yada and it won’t let me start in any of those modes. It takes me to the blue screen.

    One last suggestion Sis, check if you have a calandar in your system restore mode where you can change the restore point 3-6 days earlier, then run it again. If that’s not possible, then try saving as much data as you can before the drive crash’s completely. You can pick up a 500 gig external hard-drive for around $80 bucks or less.

  8. Rovin says:

    Here’s my humble advice:

    With all due respect CZ, Macs are superior to all other systems when it comes to graphics, video, and music but they still have limitations to the capabilities of a pc—(a debate that’s been going on since Al Gore invented the internet)

  9. Joseph says:

    Try this, maybe it will work for you. To load the last known good configuration in Windows 2000 / XP reboot the computer and as it’s booting press and hold your “F8 Key” which should bring up the “Windows Advanced Options Menu”. Use your arrow keys to move to “Last Known Good Configuration” and press your Enter key.

    If that will allow you to get to the Desktop, google SDFix2 and follow the instructions and that will hopefully get rid of your problem.

  10. Rovin – I tried to restore to points back in July and when the comp. restarted to where my desktop loaded it would tell me that the system couldn’t restore to that point. I did this about six times. I cannot get to the point where my desktop loads at all to be able to back up anything. It won’t take me there.

  11. Hi Joseph – it will not let me start in the “last known good configuration” mode. It won’t let me start in any of the modes. It just keeps going to the blue screen when I try. If I could get the computer to boot in “normal mode” (normal meaning NOT safe mode, which it is stuck in now since I did the msconfig/SAFEBOOT thing) I could maybe at least get my desktop to load to where I can snag some things before it goes down again. I would like to be able to get the desktop to load in order to try and get the “Win Police Pro” off but even when it was loading the desktop it wouldn’t stay up long enough for me to do it :(

  12. Norma says:

    I had a similar problem earlier this summer; after several failed attempts, I was able to restore/reset to the day before it happened (doubt that I could reconstruct what I did because I just kept trying various things). Then I installed AVG anti virus (free version) and have had no problems since.

  13. Joseph says:

    Sister, I have been reading about this virus and it’s launched according to a randomly set timer. According to one web page, it is important to remove Windows Police Pro as early as possible for that will avoid possible system disordering. Also you must disconnect from the internet before booting up to run the cure for this. I’m afraid that your trojan has gone too far and you’ll probably have to do a clean install of XP. All I can suggest is that you disconnect from the internet and try to see if you can get to the desktop and if that works. Then D/L SDFix2 from your laptop to a jump drive and load it on your computer while it’s still disconnected from the internet. Follow the directions to use SDFix2. Good Luck!

  14. Yax K'uk' Mo' says:

    I am not sure that it will solve the problem, but it can’t hurt…you can order a set of system recovery discs from http://www.digitalmedia-labs.com.

    Make sure you have the Certificate of Authenticity sticker information (should be on the back of your desktop). They also have a money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied (i.e., it doesn’t solve your problem).

  15. There may be a small ray of hope – one of the IT guys at the 8-5 seems pretty confident that he can help me fix the issue I’m having. Will be burning a CD later today with some software he says I will need, and will call him tonight to see if Chip, Jr. can be rescued. If not, it’s curtains for the little man at the age of 2 – Geek Squad is just too danged expensive. :(

  16. Yax and Joseph – thanks! I will keep those ideas in mind in the event that my IT co-worker cannot fix the problem tonight.

  17. gloworm says:

    I’m with cz. Buy a Mac! Rovin, I don’t know of anything you can do on a PC that I can’t do on my Mac. The biggest advantage at this moment is sis could be calling Applecare to walk through the steps needed to fix the problem rather than letting us all guess how to fix the computer. :)

  18. Anthony says:

    Doing a search on Google for “Win Police Pro” turns up a lot of “how to remove this piece of junk” sites. I’ve never heard of it, but it sounds like something to avoid like the plague.

    I just recalled that I had a similar problem years ago: rebooting and getting BSDs no matter what I did. It turned out then that the problem was a RAM dimm that had come loose from its seat, leading to fatal errors. This probably isn’t your problem, ST, but, if you’re comfortable opening the case, you might want to have a look, just in case.

  19. Good grief! I just did a search for the post I first did on “Chip, Jr.” and discovered that he is not 2 as I had originally thought, but 3 … as of today! Time flies. Still a good computer, though, and hopefully the issues can be resolved tonight.

  20. Lorica says:

    It is so hard to believe that it has been 3 years since you got Chip Jr. It seems just like yesterday. I recently had a problem with my RAM shorting out, and then I replaced the my video card. My old boy is 6 years old now and still doing pretty good.

    Chip Jr. is young yet, he will be able to pull thru this. I know it. – Lorica

  21. Joe says:

    A) STAY AWAY FROM SYSTEM RECOVERY… Your data (pics) will be lost!
    B) Go with what your IT person is saying, but make sure he understands that you have valuable data on it!
    C) If his solution fails. I HIGHLY recommend SUPERANTISPYWARE from SUPERANTISPYWARE.COM
    Excellent FREE tool….
    D) Once you are back and functional:
    -1- Make SURE the antivirus is up to date!
    -2- Make sure you are running WINDOWS DEFENDER plus a good anti-spyware.
    -3- Get a THUMB Drive or USB drive and back up your documents and photos
    -4- Repeat #3, at intervals necesaary to keep all youy files!
    E) If you have questions, please reply

  22. Gravypan says:

    Even if you have to get a new hard drive (getting a new computer might be overkill if you still have an XP/Vista install disk), do not get rid of the hard drive on Chip Jr. You can still install the hard drive from the old computer into a new computer and in all probability, still be able to access important docs, pics, MP3’s, Videos, etc. that are still saved on it.

    Still, try your IT guy’s recommendation first, obviously.

    And CZ, my brother in law owns his own IT consulting company and has said that he has had to treat Macs for the same kind of issues that ST is experiencing now.

  23. WB says:

    EJECT…EJECT…EJECT

  24. Larry says:

    I’ve had that problem.

    First off, consider your old operating system as ‘dead’. You will never be able to get all the malware out of it.

    Buy a new hard drive or use a newly formatted old drive. Remove your current drive (or just unplug the cables from it). Put in freshly formatted HDD.

    If you don’t have a Windows install disk, you will need to go buy one. Install Windows and when done, install your old HDD. Make sure you have the drive properly jumpered (your IT friend can help you there).

    Run a virus scanner on the old drive then copy your unique files off of the old drive onto the new one.

    Low-level format the old drive to rid it of anything leftover. If you can’t low-level it, that’s ok just format it.

    I bet that trojan you met was a massive downloader. Even if you can remove everything it added, your system files will be damaged beyond repair.

  25. Larry – just got off the phone with my IT guy and it’s a trip – after trying everything he (we) could to get the OS to come up (and not succeeding), he said almost the exact thing you and another reader I’ve been corresponding with about this did, except he (the IT guy) wants to do it rather than me attempting it because it is so involved. It wouldn’t be at any cost to me – he has the hard drive, the external enclosure, the XP CD, the drivers, the expertise but the catch is I’d have to wait until the next time he visits the office, which could be a while. I’m willing to wait if it means the possibility of being able to keep this computer and retaining all the data on it. He suggested sending the tower up to where he’s located which would mean it could be fixed sooner but I’m unwilling to part with my tower, esp. considering the personal info I have on it. I’d rather have something like this done when I’m “close by” to keep an eye on my baby. He doesn’t believe the hard drive is shot to hell and thinks the info can still be retrieved off of it.

    Until then, the old laptop will have to do. Surprisingly, it is running tonight at maybe 20 mph versus the 2 mph it normally runs. Maybe it’s feeling some sympathy for me or something ;)

    Bear with me, my dear readers – this laptop tries my patience sometimes to the point I don’t want to be on it, but I’m willing to make the sacrifice ;)

  26. Baklava says:

    ST,

    The Ultimate Boot Disk is the answer.

    LINK

    If you can’t make it I can send you an .iso file so that you can burn it yourself if you have space somewhere on the Internet for me to land the .iso file.

  27. Baklava says:

    It’s about 700 MB.

  28. KMc says:

    Search for Malwarebytes, look for a portable version of this software, which you can run from a USB key. Boot the computer into safe mode, and the run a full system scan. Then stay away from site you are nor aware of. Or the prawn site…lol.

  29. Larry says:

    I used to be a tech, now retired but I still have 3 computers (and 1 under construction). Once a geek, always a geek! :)>-

  30. DERise says:

    My condolences, I went through this.

    If you can, let your desk top start up normally. Ignore the fake blue screens, alt+F4 out of them. On your laptop, go to this site

    LINK

    the trojan prevents you from going there on your desktop. Follow the removal directions exactly!
    that should recover your Desktop.
    This trojan is designed to scare the uneducated, and prevent access to the resources to fix it. Get real protection (like Kaspersky 2009/2011 good for 3 installations) or another highly rated security suite.
    After I got one of these things (a different variation) I changed to Kaspersky and it found many trojans that had gotten through my prevous “big two” virus software.

    Good luck!