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Weird display on screen

By Eminent87 ·
Hi,

I have a fairly new HP laptop (about 8 months old) with windows xp pro and recently I've been gettin this weird on screen display that covers the entire desktop. I don't know exactly what triggers it but it'll start out small (2"x2") and then gets bigger (4"x4" and so on...) over time. Eventually, it'll cover the entire desktop and you won't be able to see anything on the desktop or click on any of the icon. The weird thing is the picture looks like some chinese character of some sort but when it's full blown, you can see that it also says, "Look at me".

I thought this was some kind of virus or spyware so I ran norton, spybot and ad-aware and was able to remove some spyware on the machine but the problem is still there. Antivirus scan came back negative. Has anybody had this problem before? Your help is much appreciated.

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by mrjay67 In reply to Weird display on screen

If its not a virus it may be that someone pulled a joke on ya. Try looking in your startup folder for something that shouldnt be there or in your run folders in the registry. You can also try using msconfig which will show you all your startup items and you can uncheck the ones you dont want. Just make sure you dont stop essential system apps.

hth,

Jason

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by Eminent87 In reply to

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by Eminent87 In reply to Weird display on screen

I have checked all startup programs under regedit and msconfig but I don't see anything that is related to the problem.

The problem does not show up right away, it takes several days for it to start showing up. Once it is fully blown up, the only way to get rid of it is to do a hard reboot of the machine.

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by Gooser12 In reply to Weird display on screen

You said it starts small... try opening the task manager and check out what process it might be - this could be a good way to track it down and posibly stop it before it goes full blown. Taks manager should stay on top of anything running.

It sounds like a virus or spyware to me, but it may be hidden in something that looks harmless and may avoid norton and spyware checkers. Tracking it down is the improtant thing.

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by Eminent87 In reply to

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by w2ktechman In reply to Weird display on screen

try looking for scheduled programs.
try blowing away all files in these folders
c:\temp
c:\windows\temp
c:\documents and settings\%user profile%\local settings\temp (unhide folder first)
c:\windows\prefetch
**** away all temp IE files,history, and cookies
When it starts again, open task manager and close unfamiliar programs. Write down the names and search for the executeable files in explorer.
If you end task one and the program stops, search for it in windows and rename it.
NOTE: the program file may 'recreate' itself, that means that another program is watching it.
Sometimes it can be found in the c:\program files\common files\ folder. Look for suspicious things here, but do not just delete everything in here.
If you find the offending program, first search for a manual removal online, if not found, search the add\remove programs, windows search, and the registry to remove it. If it is still unfound, it might be best to backup and rebuild

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by Eminent87 In reply to

Thanks everyone for all your inputs. I have already tried most of your suggestions but I will try what w2ktechman suggestion for killing each process one by one. I'm looking for an alternative to rebuilding since I have a lot of non-standard software that can be a pain to reinstall.

I'm giving points to both w2ktechman and lmayeda but I like their answers the best. Thanks again!

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by lmayeda In reply to Weird display on screen

You might want to do a search on your C: drive for files and folders *.exe installed within the last month. Then I would suggest renaming any executable s that you find suspicious. I usually add an XXX to the name so I can find them easily if I need to restore them. If your problem goes away then you've found the culprit. How often does this occur and how long is the duration between the start and when your screen is no longer visible? I like the answer above, re: tracking the process using the Task Manager. If you click on the CPU column, you can track which process is most active. Good Luck

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by Eminent87 In reply to

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by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Weird display on screen

Well it sounds very much like a virus if that is the case.

I take it you have scanned the complete HDD for viruses and run something like Adaware or Spybot Search and Destroy over the computer. If they pick up nothing after making sure that they are all up to date the easiest thing to do would be to save all of your data wipe the HDD and reload.

To do this first you will need to download a wiping utility from one of the HDD makers Maxtor has one on their site at www.maxator.com and follow the links to software downloads. You'll also need the CD/s that came with your Notebook to reinstall everything after you have wiped the drive and a boot disk. If you have a floppy in the LT all you need do is insert a blank floppy and then open My Computer and then right click on the A Drive and chose Format when you get the Format Window open you will need to check the create a MS DOS Startup Disk and also at the same time unzip the wipe utility and copy it to a floppy.

If you do not have a floppy as you didn't mention the model of the HP you'll need to do the same thing with a blank CD and also copy the wiping utility once unzipped to the CD so you do not need to CD's to wipe the HDD.

Once the drive is wiped you can insert the XP disk and restart the LT and then follow the prompts but being a LT the COA should be on the bottom so before you start turn over the LY and write down the XP Product key on a piece of paper and then start the XP installation.

Lets know how you get on.

Col

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