A website decided to give me a Spyware infection called "Skinboxer43.dll". McAfee was active and mentioned that an unwanted change was being made to my PC and even asked if I wanted to continue, but didn't give me an answer to say "No" before it just let it happen. (But hey -- thanks for the warning, I'm sure.)
Ran MalwareBytes Anti-Malware (MBAM) and it quarantined 5 Trojans related to Skinboxer43.dll and suggested I reboot to complete the removal.
Upon reboot, I learned that Windows Automatic Update had been turned off and McAfee Firewall was no longer active, among other things. During reboot, my desktop icons all appeared, followed by a brief 5-second "blue screen of nothing", and then the desktop icons all re-appeared. But many of the things that should normally be in my tray at start up (the "M" for McAfee and the little "tick" for Super Anti Spyware, and a few others) were not there. In addition, the start-up logo that I can normally see briefly appear for McAfee and Super Anti Spyware is no longer visible during the reboot process.
By now, I've already run another full MBAM scan, a full McAfee scan, and a full Super Anti Spyware scan, and they are all clean.
The same brief "blue screen" interruption occurs after every successive reboot. System logs during these reboots indicate "The shell stopped unexpectedly and explorer.exe was restarted." It looks like a lot of programs that should be starting up during my reboots aren't doing so.
At this point, if I manually start MBAM and try to do an Update to get the latest definitions, I can't connect to the website at their malwaresbytes.org location. Likewise, if I try to go directly to McAfee.com, Firefox immediately says "The Specified Method Is Not Supported". Going to McAfee.com via IE says "The Page Cannot Be Displayed, error 501/505". I tried your suggestion of going to Hidemyass.com, and from there I CAN get to the front page of McAfee.com. However, if I then try to get to the screens where I can download a fresh copy of McAfee, I eventually run into a menu where McAfee wants me to log in with the e-mail and password associated with my subscription. At that point, I can't get Hidemyass.com to pass my sign-on information along to McAfee.com and get me signed in. I'm assuming that McAfee.com probably prevents me from doing a secured sign-on when I'm going through an intermediary.
I'll definitely give this Skinboxer43.dll credit for doing a fine job of disabling all the tools that would normally be used to get rid of it. And even though I THINK Skinboxer is gone now, it apparently left behind some damage that is difficult to clean up.
In the wee hours of the night, at least partly in frustration but also based upon the logs saying "The shell stopped unexpectedly", I made what was no doubt a very bad decision to use this opportunity to finally upgrade from XP SP 2 to XP SP 3. In my haze I thought that maybe if one of the .exe or .dll files associated with XP SP 2 had been compromised, then maybe that .exe or .dll would just be replaced during the upgrade to SP 3 and that doing the upgrade might actually clean up whatever was still broken.
Probably not the best choice.
Right now, the upgrade to SP 3 has been hung on my PC for 12 hours and is at a point where it is making no more apparent progress. The progress bar for the install is about 75% complete. In these 12 hours, Windows Upgrade has told me twice that "An error occurred while updating. Please re-install these programs: McAfee Security Center".
The original McAfee disks that came with my PC are probably at least 4 years old, and I'm not sure if I should attempt to do anything with those. I also can't figure out how to get a fresh copy of McAfee downloaded from their website, since I can't seem to get signed into the McAfee site. I appear to still have Internet access, but with a semi-completed XP SP 3 upgrade and a McAfee suite that may or may not be working, I probably shouldn't stay here very long.
In any case, I'm pretty sure this isn't a hardware problem, since it started right after a Spyware attack. Grayharjv, did you ever get yourself out of this?
Edit: I split your post off to give you your own topic.
It's just fine to read other Thread Topics in order to learn, but placing your own problem topic into someone else 's topic can get confusing. Hoping for helpful instructions for your problem could get incorrectly mixed up with instructions specific for the other's problem.
Edited by Doug, 03 May 2009 - 01:30 AM.