Slow Startup with Multiple 'Starting' Services After Malware

I had an interesting problem with a server (Windows 2003 Standard) at a small business (6 users total) the other day – a very long startup time. The server in question is a standalone domain controller/DC as well as a database/application server and file/print server. Terminal Services is installed & configured, but rarely used – mostly for access from outside the office. Database and domain services/authentication were available fairly quickly, as were console logins (via UltraVNC/uVNC) – probably 15-20 minutes to that stage, but more than an hour before terminal services/remote desktop was available.

Digging around on the console attempting to track down the source of the problems, I found multiple services listed as “Starting” – all of them malware-based, with the actual infection cleaned out. My suspicion is that these non-startable services were causing the startup of other services to be delayed, though in this case I’m not really planning on setting up a test system to verify that.

In the rest of this post I’ll give a bit more detail on the scenario, what I found, what was needed to clean it out, and a few more notes on what I suspect was happening.

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(Fix) 'Another Installation is Already In Progress' installing Office 2007 over Office 2000

Ran into an interesting problem this evening – I was helping someone who was having problems with installing Office 2007 on an XP system with Office 2000 (I believe Professional) installed. The problem was that when the actual installation process started, it would hang up because another installation was running.

The standard fix for that is restarting the system to let the in-progress installation do the processing that it needs a system restart for, but in this case that wasn’t the issue.

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When DNS and ping Fail but nslookup Works (fix, Windows)

Spent some time recently with a Windows XP laptop that would see networks fine (although IP address acquisition via DHCP seemed slower than I’d expect), but which was unable to resolve names with DNS. This was affecting IE, Firefox,  ping, basically anything that used the built-in Winsock calls such as gethostbyname(). NSLookup, on the other hand, worked just fine.

The first thing to do when facing any computer problem is to figure out where the problem lies, so it was time for a bit of sleuthing.

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Fix for Outlook 2007 Trying to Load InfoPath (Error 1605)

Just ran into this situation after a client uninstalled & reinstalled Office 2007 Pro. When Outlook was opened, it complained twice about being unable to open InfoPath because it wasn’t installed.

I found multiple other complaints about this, but no solutions (though some suggested removing and reinstalling Office). A bit of digging with SysInternals’ Process Monitor, turned up mention of not finding the somewhat promising value “DisableInfopathForms,” so I took a stab and created the value as a DWORD under the location ProcMon was reporting. Setting the value to 1 cleared the problem on Outlook startup.

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SETPWRCG.EXE - Dell Power Management component

My antivirus reported an infected file (setpwrcg.exe) this morning, with a file date of 7/19/2004.

There were a few things that struck me as odd about this:

It didn’t seem like a randomly-generated name, Most viruses/worms don’t seem to bother to set their file dates, particularly not to 5 years ago, I haven’t been […]

Sony Vaio Z505 / Z600 Hard Drive Replacement

Here are photos of the process of opening my old Sony VAIO Z505JSK laptop and upgrading the hard drive. The pictures are linked to larger versions.

The pictures on this page should apply to most Sony VAIO Z505 laptop / notebook computers, as well as to the Z600 laptops since they’re the same (just renumbered for the European market). Even where the pictures don’t match, the procedure is the same – carefully disassemble, keeping things organized. If something won’t go, look around to figure out how it might be attached or fastened, don’t just try to force it.

Your laptop was designed to be opened and serviced by technicians without damage. That means there’s a way to get into it without breaking things.

You may not know the official correct steps, but if you think you have to break something then you’re doing something wrong or have missed something. Expect tricky clips and redundancy because of the need to balance between a sturdy laptop and an easily disassembled laptop.

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