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Loss of webpage formatting only from one user account

By Monty Palmer ·
Happy New Year everyone who reads this. Hope the holidays were peaceful but just a slight bit gluttonous too!

I have a client who is not able to view any css formatting rendered in IE or FF. I have tried on FF2.0, IE 6&7. I have scrubbed the machine with ad-aware, spybot, hijackthis, and have performed a boot scan with avast, all scrubs run with all available updates and in safe mode.

She has no software firewall aside from the native XP one, and she has no hardware one. Both java and javascript were allowed in all browsers. Java was un-installed and re-installed. She does not have no-script but that wouldn't affect the lack of functionality in IE 6 or 7. In IE there are no settings limiting the scripting (all scripting allowed temporarily during testing).

Shas a Dell Dimension 2400 XP Home SP2. At some point she realized that webpages on her own machine looked vastly different from on others. It seems that cascading style sheets are not being loaded in any browser under her login. I say under her login because I created a new user and that one has absolutely no issues with browsers not rendering css properly or any other scripting or plug-in.

When logged into her account Java and Javascript function perfectly as did all other plug-ins as I was able to run a bunch of tests on scripting and plug-ins. The css tests I found online (leap of faith there) failed. I downloaded a familiar page as a complete HTML file and opened it in Frontpage, which is all she has on her machine. The page renders fine in both the design and HTML tabs, but not in the preview tab.

Also installed html-kit to see what would happen, and the same behavior arose as with Frontpage. No formatting of any images or text. Object location is fine, but all else appears stripped of any formatting and it appears that gif's do not act like gif's should; they behave as simple graphics files.

To date I have run Spybot, ad-aware, a boot time scan with avast, hijackthis turned up nothing, kazaabegone removed a lot but still no change. I installed nod32 and ran a full scan with advanced heuristics, avg anti-malware, and advanced windows care personal returned no results whatsoever. I installed IE7, un-installed it, "removed" IE6, reinstalled it, reinstalled IE7, un-installed FF, then installed v2.0.0.1. Installed CCleaner 1.36.430 and ran that in between all steps in the removal and installation process, both the drive and the registry cleaner. No change. This lack of functionality is universal to all browsers in her user account, but paradoxically non-existent for any other accounts on the same box. I also logged in as administrator in safe mode and that worked fine, but her login in safe mode experiences no increased functionality.

I went into msconfig and disabled all non-Microsoft services and start-up processes which had no effect.

At this point I have the strong suspicion that something has been corrupted in her registry or "docs and settings\application data" that is not allowing any css definitions formatting to load whatsoever. However I am at a loss as to where to look for something that is going to disable the rendering of css or some other formatting ability that I might be overlooking.

Again, the administrator and the test user accounts can view all web pages normally. I know that the easy answer is to move all of her data to a new account and have her use that one, but where is the fun in that solution? Would really love to know what in tarnation is causing this.

Thanks heaps all, even for just reading this.


Monty Palmer

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