Spotlight Question: IE8 missing and denied permissions in Windows XP

TechRepublic member alpe97 has a Dell laptop running Windows XP Pro, but it suddenly decided to deny permissions and all of the IE8 icons and files are missing. If you can help this member, we'll send you a free TechRepublic coffee mug.

TechRepublic member alpe97 submitted the following question.

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?

Please post your answer(s) in the discussion thread. If you can successfully help this member, we will send you a TechRepublic coffee mug.