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AV uninstall/install problem and System Recovery
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sl23



Joined: 06 May 2008
Posts: 198
Location: Portsmouth, UK

PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 10:55 am    Post subject: AV uninstall/install problem and System Recovery Reply with quote

I recently bought a second hand Acer 2930 for my girlfriend that had a damaged power port, after fixing it I started unistalling all the junk using Revo Uninstaller. I've used this hundreds of times and never had a problem so I know it's reliable and I trust it to a good degree to do it's job.

However the laptop was a bit slow when I started with the cleanup procedure, and on trying to remove a few things Revo hung for a rather long time on each app removal. The apps were Hotbar, Shopper Reports and McAfee. I had to cancel the unistall procedure for each and now they exist in the list of installed apps but aren't removable.

I managed to get rid of the first two, but am having great problems removing McAfee. I believe it's preventing the install of AVG Free and also I've had problems with Defender, MS Sec Essentials and Windows Update. Defender seems to have sorted itself somehow, MS Sec Ess seems to have updated to an extent but now fails after reporting an update is available. Win Update had problems but installed some updates after a few attempts and restarts but has 4 updates that won't install due to different error codes appearing. Tried googling codes but nothing has helped.

Win Vista 32HP SP1 installed. Tried installing SP2 but won't install due to errors. Also tried using OPSWAT's App Remover to remove failed McAfee uninstall, but when I start it the buttons don't appear in the app's window which I assume is due to a problem with Flash or .NET? I don't know, just a guess.

MS Sec Ess also reported two threats - Hotbar and OpenCandy. Which were removed but then appeared again. I don't know what OpenCandy is as theirs no apps of that name on the laptop. Hotbar seems to have gone but not too sure. I'll add a HijackFree report when I get the chance.

There's no recovery discs but the original OS appears to be installed with the recovery partition. I tried burning the Rec Discs 4 times but each failed. The first failed during the burn, the others failed the verification. I'm wary about using the partition's recovery in case it goes wrong as there's no backup plan. I've tried reinstalling an app from the Rec Partition and it worked. I also had to d/l the Recovery app and install as it wasn't available. But now it won't start saying Empowering Technology isn't ready. I have disabled alot of the Acer stuff using Autoruns so I'll try re-enabling it all in case that's the problem.

I also have an Acer 5920 which has the recovery discs and the same OS could i use it's Rec Disc to reinstall Windows on the 2930? I could backup the 2930's drivers, use the 5920's Rec Discs to reinstall windows, then reinstall the drivers. Would that work?

I've not used HDD cloning software before but have backed up my 5920 using Macrium Reflect to create an image and disc just in case, though not needed to use them. I tried using them once to try recover a Dell laptop but it didn't work, not that I expected it to! So I've not much confidence in it.

Anyway thanks for any advice it'd be helpful to know how to get the recovery working more than anything else as that would sort all the other stuff.

Scott

EDIT: I forgot to ask about the D: it has some folders that are unusual and are, it appears, related. The folders are all numbered rather than named and mostly contain .dll and MPSigStub.exe files. After a quick search I found that they appear to be part of Windows update or Windows Defender files. But why are they on the DConfused I had this on my Auntie's Acer 5720 laptop but I just left it alone as all she wanted was for me to speed her laptop up. Can they be deleted or are they important? One site mentioned some Malware disguise themselves as MPSigStub.exe and install to C:/Windows/System32.
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JonS



Joined: 31 May 2010
Posts: 813
Location: Morecambe

PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You've asked a lot of questions there, many of which are not germane to your problem. To put things into a nutshell you have the following issues

1) An infected machine
2) A machine with multiple security programs installed, some of which are disabled - presumably by the infection, and which are fighting against each other and causing memory issues
3) A machine which after your use of Revo and other programs probably has a corrupt registry

If you want to get this system going again, forget all attempts at what you are doing. You need to use the hidden recovery image to return it to its factory settings and start again. If that won't work, then you will have to wipe it and reinstall from generic windows disks - you'll have to download the drivers
You say the Erecovery program won't work within windows, so try running it at startup. USUALLY you can do this on an Acer by using alt and F10 or F11 keys (depending on model) at startup. Some later machines require you to go through the F8 menu and choose "repair my computer"

Forget trying to fix it the way you are. You will just end up in a deeper and deeper mire
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sl23



Joined: 06 May 2008
Posts: 198
Location: Portsmouth, UK

PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 5:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Jon

I wasn't sure if it would be a good idea to use the recovery as it means buying new Windows discs if I need to do that I'd be better buying another laptop rather than messing about with that. I've had to do that before and it just caused more problems.

Anyway I suppose I have to just plunge in and try the recovery partition.

Just out of curiosity, you say I installed several AV programs which are conflicting. Don't Defender and MS Sec Essence work together? McAfee isn't running and AVG Free won't install. So its just the two running do they still conflict I thought they'd work together? Just curious Smile

Do you have any idea what this stuff on D: is and if its safe to remove. I suppose it would be after a system recovery yes?
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JonS



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 6:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the stuff on D: is just temp installer files - they can be deleted

The problem is, McAfee is NOT uninstalled, parts of it are still there and clashing. Revo won't get it out completely (been there, tried that several times) - you need the special McAfee tool, and even then you're often reduced to picking through the registry line by line
As for SE / Defender - they use the same code base,and SE disables Defender when both are installed, But the problem is between McAfee and SE

I don't understand your comment about buying disks - the recovery system should work and you don't need disks for that. If it doesn't you would need disks anyway of some kind as - quite simply - you are not going to get this working any other way
Presumably the machine still has a Windows CofA sticker on it? If so, for which exactly version of windows? it should be possible to download an ISO image of the correct disk and use that. Many are downloadable from Microsoft.
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sl23



Joined: 06 May 2008
Posts: 198
Location: Portsmouth, UK

PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 6:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh I see thanks for the detailed explanation.

My comment about buying disks was because I thought that if I can't create the Acer recovery discs due to constant failures, maybe the recovery itself could be corrupt? I had problems with my 5920 keep hanging on the recovery after windows installed the Acer software install hung at stage 5 of 12. Its done that every time since purchase but never had any signs of malware. Though strangly, the last time it didn't hang and actually completed?! Weird!

So I'm wary when an old machine won't let me create discs as there's no backup option should the partition recovery fail. Thanks for your advice though, there's little option left. I think I'll try a macrium backup, backup drivers, then try the partition recovery. I all that fails I'll try my 5920 recovery disc see if it works.

I just thought there may be some way of sorting it out but obviously not:) Thank you again I appreciate your help
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sl23



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 6:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The win C of A sticker is there but is completely worn and almost no discernable image remains. Do you mean to say that if you have that code you can d/l a copy of that OS? Incidentaly the OS is Vista 32HP SP1.
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JonS



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 8:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you have that product key you can install windows from an OEM Vista CD. Note ALL OEM Vista CDs are the same - the version of Windows you get depends on the key used. (Thats not true of Win7 - those disks are different)
Only problem is that online activation won't work - you'll have to do it by phone.

You can download uprade versions of Vista from Digital River (Microsofts online distributor) and then convert them into bootable disks
Instructions and links are on Dell's support site at
http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/software-os/w/microsoft_os/3317.2-3-microsoft-windows-vista-official-iso-download-links-digital-river.aspx

Digital River also have download versions of Win7, Office 2007 & Office 2010
However you need a legit product key for each
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JonS



Joined: 31 May 2010
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 9:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

just a foot note - Acer machines often don't let you create the recovery disks. Theres a bug in the software which goes wrong. There are patches for some models to make it work.
However if the hard drive is OK and the hidden image hasn't been nuked, then the recovery system should work
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sl23



Joined: 06 May 2008
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Location: Portsmouth, UK

PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PREPARATION:
First I made a backup of the system using Macrium Reflect, thankfully it restored the laptop back to how it was.
After copying the partition I backed up all drivers just in case.
Next I used Enchanted KeyFinder to get the Vista Product Keys, as I said above these are illegible on what's left of the stickers underneath.

RECOVERY
I tried the Acer Partition Recovery which failed on 4%, as I thought it would.
I then tried the failed Recovery Disc but that failed at 1%.
As I had nothing to lose I gave the 5920 Rec Disc a go but that got to the point where it said it would delete the C: and gave a Mismatch Error.
So lastly I tried the Macrium backup and I'm back to square one! At least it works as before Smile

Here's the Product Key details from Enchanted:
Windows Vista (TM) Home Premium Service Pack 1
Product Part No.: X12-90558
Installed from 'OEM' media.
Product ID: *****-OEM-*******-***** match to CD Key data
CD Key: *****-*****-*****-*****-*****
Computer Name: SL23-PC
Registered Owner: owner
Registered Organization:

Are these the correct details for the process you laid out above regarding d/l from Dell? I'm a little puzzled, isn't this for Dell machines only?

Thanks

Scott
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JonS



Joined: 31 May 2010
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 5:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry but that CD key wont work
Its an SLP key used on all Dell preloaded installations but wont work on a CD setup. You need the key from a CofA label - whicjh is a different number from the one you've found. If you try to use it, it wont work

Those CofA labels do tend to wear out, but generally the actual key lettering tends to be more resistant and last longer than the other type. Its the string which consists of five blocks of five letters/numbers. Check again just in case!

A for those downloads, they'll work on any PC
The links Dell posted are to Digital River's servers. not Dells
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sl23



Joined: 06 May 2008
Posts: 198
Location: Portsmouth, UK

PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 5:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh! Looks like i'm in the sh*t then Sad The problem with the sticker isn't just that it's faded but the sticker from the Palm Rest had been stuck over the CofA sticker so not only had it faded but has been torn and only half remains!!!

I don't know who the original owner is so I can't get support that way through Acer. I suppose the only way is to buy Win7? But what about drivers, would they work or do I need to track down Win7 versions?

EDIT: Just found the Acer Win7 Drivers. That site says there's versions of Win7 available for d/l surely that's not legal? Or is it because it's the Key that's licensed?
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JonS



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

yes, you can download disk images of Win7 from Digital River, but you still need a valid product key

As for the machine itself, if Vista works on it, Win7 almost certainly will. And you would probably find that most of the required drivers are included in Win7

Question for you -are you, or anyone in your household a university student or lecturer? if you have a, ac.uk e-mail address you can buy a heavily discounted copy of Windows
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