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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm trying to clean up a laptop for somebody, so I installed Avast as permanent anti-virus for them, Ad-Aware to scan for.. adware. And spybot too to do a scan with. (not tea-timer or sd-helper). I was only going to keep ad-aware and spybot on to do scans with and then remove.

After rebooting the laptop, it will crash while trying to load the taskbar (taskbar locks up with mouse loading icon, though mouse can still be moved). I can only guess that Avast and either ad-aware or spybot are both trying to load up at once and conflicting with each other.

I've never had this problem before, then again it quite a while ago since I used these programs. My first thought was 'Aha! fix it in safe mode!' but.. safe mode blue screens after a few seconds booting up.

Perhaps is there a way I can stop avast or ad-aware from starting up by editing a file? I can access files on the laptop using a linux live disk if I need to.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
What's the best way to do that?

Searching on google, apparently I need to press ctrl+alt+del twice at the login screen, but this laptop logs in automatically. I tried pressing it at different times during bootup but it still doesn't let me log in as admin.
 

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"I can only guess that Avast and either ad-aware or spybot are both trying to load up at once and conflicting with each other."

They work fine together. What doesn't work together is 2 antivirus programs at once. That's probably what happened.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I don't remember seeing another anti-virus program running on the PC. At least I looked through all of the running daemons in the taskbar and didn't see anything that resembled one. Perhaps I should've looked more carefully through all the installed programs in case something was there.

Do you think this is fixable?
 

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Uninstall Lavasoft Ad-Aware and Spybot - Search & Destroy, restart the computer afterwards, then go into the C:\Program Files folder and delete their leftover folders - if they're still there.

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You don't install antispyware programs, run a scan with them, then uninstall them afterwards. What do you use to combat antispyware afterwards?

Two better alternatives are Malwarebytes Anti-Malware 1.40 and SUPERAntiSpyware 4.28.0.1010. They do a better job, they're more user-friendly, and they're much easier on system resources.

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I can't uninstall them because I can't boot into the computer in the first place. It locks up before I could even try to get into add/remove. According to the second poster I might be able to do this from the admin account, but I can't login to the admin account because the laptop logs into the user automatically.

Actually I was planning to leave spybot and ad-aware on(not that I expected the owner to use them), but after noticing ad-aware has some kind of it's own running daemon I figured it would be unnecessarily taxing on the laptop to have both that with Avast. (This might be the cause of the problem I'm having now too)
 

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"You don't install antispyware programs, run a scan with them, then uninstall them afterwards. What do you use to combat antispyware afterwards?"

common sense? Seems to have been enough after became aware of how that stuff gets on your machine in the first place. But I get your point. Even I keep Malwarebytes Anti-Malware on the machine for occasional scans even though it never finds anything since there is nothing there to find.

As far as the logging onto an admin account (not to be confused with THE administrator account) goes, it sounds like it already does, automatically. If he was able to install these programs, he should be able to uninstall them from the same account but can't since it "crashes". If it really is freezing up while loading the taskbar, or whatever, I don't see how they are going to go into program files folder to delete anything. Safe mode gets BSOD. Might have to use a boot disk that allows access to the HDD.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You're probably right about it being an admin account in the first place, being that there is only one user of the laptop.

I could access the HDD using a linux live disc. What could I do from there? I thought of just deleting Avast from the program files folder, but I don't want that to start causing more problems. I suppose deleting it and then reinstalling it would bring it back to its normal state (assuming I find what made it do this in the first place). Is there any risk of Windows crashing still because it can't find the Avast .exe to execute?
 

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I downloaded ERD Commander some time ago when it was a free download. I just created an ISO of it and uploaded it to my upload account. Click the link to download and burn the ISO to CD and boot from it. ERD has an XP GUI and you should be able to take care of this issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks, that looks helpful. However I first tried to do a system restore, apparently there aren't any system restore points on the computer. Then I thought I might be able to uninstall the programs by navigating to the uninstaller in program files, but as soon as I get as far as to opening C:/ explorer crashes and eventually the whole thing locks up.

There must be a way I can log in to the Administrator account or something just to remove these programs or at least prevent them from starting. I can't believe how difficult this is turning out to be for such a small problem.
 

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If you can get that far, I would first see if there's an uninstall shortcut in the start menu for the programs. If that fails, try add/remove programs in control panel. If that fails, you may have no choice but to delete the folders in program files after using a boot disk.

That would at least prevent it from loading on startup, allowing you to clean up the leftover registry entries and such. (manual uninstall) it shouldn't be to dificult for spybot, but antivirus can be tricky. For the record I always choose custom install, or otherwise choose NOT to have programs run on startup. Of course with antivirus this isn't really an option.

It would really suck if neither of those programs turn out to the be the problem at all after all of this. Could just be coincidence.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Just to say thanks to everyone who's helped so far. I think if I can't uninstall it, but deleting the program files will at least allow me to get back in, then that'll a relief. It would suck if it's not causing it, but I'm hoping it'd be too much of a coincidence if they weren't

For now though I must go to bed, but I'll give it another go tomorrow.

Thanks again.
 
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