Hi. I hope this is a head-scratcher for you too. Or think of it as a fresh challenge?
My laptop has been down for nearly a month. My Dell laptop is running Windows XP Pro, and it suddenly decided that I, and all other admin IDs, do not have permission to open or run files.
At first, I chased the 'denied' problem as an ownership. Probably more insidious than that, when this happened, I was also not authorized to shutdown or restart the PC. The message I received was "you do not have permission to shutdown or restart" this system.
Another big red flag was that I noticed all my IE8 icons were gone -- on the desktop, taskbar, start menu and even in 'All Programs.' When I searched for IE8 files, all I found was IE7. When I opened an HTML doc (in Safe Mode), IE6 opened it.
I tried several things in Safe Mode, including logging in to my usual ID and the hidden admin ID. I could run and read all my files there. I even created a new ID with admin rights, but it had the same problems in normal mode. I also ran CHKDISK /r in Safe Mode, and the disk is OK.
One other oddity happened just days before this. My 30GB HDD dropped to 200 MB free space. After the 'nominal' chkdisk ran, I had 3.7GB free, but I don't see any files missing. Cleanup, I hope?
I'm guessing that it has a virus that got past my current AVG 8.5 and Comodo.
I can give more details, but I think the IE8 and shutdown problem are key indicators. What do you think? Where else can I look?
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Sonja Thompson has worked for TechRepublic since October of 1999. She is currently a Senior Editor and the host of the Smartphones and Tablets blogs.