Thursday, 22 April 2010

Argh! McAfee destroyed my computer!

Last night after my McAfee anti-virus downloaded some updates, I got a message saying my XP machine was going to reboot in 60 seconds. Being annoyed by this (as I was doing stuff) I didn't really read it and just cursed McAfee for forcing a reboot on me so issued the "shutdown /a" command (to abort the shutdown) then a minute later it happened again and all my desktop theme disappeared (start bar went grey).

(If you are looking for a solution please go the end of my ramblings.)

I thought I'd better let it reboot if it wanted to so I closed what I could.

When it rebooted there wasn't even a taskbar and not much worked (including the internet). PANIC!!

After a lot of fruitless tinkering I decided to go to bed.

This morning, with a clear head, I worked out that the system file svchost.exe was missing (this is needed for a lot of system services to run including the one that provides the pretty themes). Luckily I had another computer of the same XP version around so I took the file from there and transferred it. Success, after a reboot if all seemed to be working but then I get the reboot message again. This time I read it and it said the RPC service had stopped working so the machine was rebooting.

Much googling on the other machine let me to believe it could be a virus (but the ones referenced were "fixed" in 2003).

Much disk checking and "virus fixing" ensued.

However, I eventually found that McAfee itself was the problem.

There had released a new virus definition file which was erroneous marking the vital svchost.exe as a virus and quarantining it!

I downloaded the "SuperDAT Remediation Tool" (from the link above) and ran it in safe mode (press F8 before Windows startup) and it fixed the problem. (Then I updated McAfee) Phew! I only installed McAfee after coming to the end of my tether with Norton, I guess now I should try the free AVG which has had rave reviews (even from my Dad after being recommended to him by Sony for his new laptop) and isn't a system hog.

Just thought I'd put this up there so people might find it if their computers have stopped working (assuming they can get to the internet, not sure what I would have done had I not had a second computer handy!)

UPDATE: Arrghh! It's happening again svchost has gone! This is not over! (Clearly their "fix" doesn't work)
UPDATE": When I tried to run their standalone dfinition update in safe mode it said "Error: No qualifiying McAfee products found". I have now uninstalled McAfee and installed AVG. The world is a better place...


Anonymous said...

Use the free AVG. I wish someone had told me that before McAfee killed my last pc completely

LibCync said...

McAfee uninstalled. AVC installed. Normality resumed.

Anonymous said...

Didn't even have McAfee--used Trend Internet but got an email from my university telling me THEY had a problem. I think the problem came with the email---computer kept rebooting but not going anywhere and tried several recommended fixes--now computer is completely dead.