Windows with a mind of it's own

By hanekwj ·

My Windows 7 system has recently been acting out on its own accord. Mostly nothing too serious, mostly inconvenient but it could indicate bigger underlying problems:

I am unable to adjust the GUI experience i.e., I cannot change settings such as:

I cannot ???Show Hidden Files, Folders and Drives???
Going through the motion of adjusting the folder options work but when you apply and close the files and folders are not visible. Opening folder options again, shows the default setting. I can repeat the process a hundred times without success.

Organize > Layout > Menu Bar, the menu bar does not display

I cannot get the taskbar to ???Never Combine???

I cannot get the start menu not to ???Use Large Icons???

I have McAfee Anti Virus and it finds nothing
I have run both MalwareBytes and Microsoft Windows Malware Removal Tool both finds nothing
I have run a repair on Windows but now previously adjusted settings are back to default and cannot be changed so it is really worse.

What is causing this?
How can I correct it?
If it is a virus why is it not being detected?

Thanks for your thoughts.


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All Answers

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What flavour is your Win7?

Sometimes on the cheap versions of Win7 you will have very limited options to change the layout of the system.
One main thing is make sure you have all the updates to your system. Graphic card(s) etc.

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Reponse To Answer

by hanekwj In reply to What flavour is your Win7 ...


Windows 7 Pro 64bit, Buil 7600. Drivers are all up to date and windows are updated using WSUS (Domain PC)

Interestingly I can make the changes while in Safe Mode but not during normal operation. I have tried disabling all startup programs but that also does not resolve the issue

It worked before but stopped at one time that is why I hint at malware. it working in safe mode also suggests that it is some agent running on my system that prevents the changes from being made.

It being a domain computer I have spoken to the network admin responsible for the GP and he said he had not enacted any changes that would prevent us from making changes.

The reason why I am concerend is because it is affecting a large number of systems on our corporate network (+-2500) systems

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Are you running as normal user?

Check to see if something/someone hasn't gone and set restrictions on non-administrator
users in regards to changing appearance, layout, etc. You may have to log in as the

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Reponse To Answer

by hanekwj In reply to Are you running as normal ...


Please see above comments and

I am both a Local Admin and a Domain admin so I should be able to control the PC.

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Safe Mode Virus Scan?

by dmritchie2 In reply to Windows with a mind of it ...

Have you tried doing a Virus Scan (both with Mcafee and MBAM) in safe mode?
Have you run GPRESULT (with the /v option redirecting the output to a text file to make it easier to read) on the machine to see if maybe the admin in charge of Group Policy hasn't made a change that he misunderstood what it did.

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99.9% of all group policies will still apply to administrator accounts

by Who Am I Really In reply to Windows with a mind of it ...

a couple of exceptions that I know of are
- software restriction policies don't prevent administrators from running the restricted program(s)
and policies like:
- "remove: make available offline" doesn't remove the make available offline menu item from administrator accounts

but normally group policies have full effect on all users and all administrators, including the local default administrator and domain administrator accounts

normally though when a group policy is in effect the item in question is greyed out and not selectable

however, McAfee VSE can also block changes to certain items including IE / exploder settings
the way it does it is it allows you to attempt to change settings and then undoes them before they get into the registry

check the "access protection log" for "action blocked"
also open the virus scan console and look in all the protections lists

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Protect yourself from yourself

by hanekwj In reply to Windows with a mind of it ...

A thank you to everyone that took the time to pitch ideas.

It was not a GP but a McAfee policy. Apparantly there was a small outbreak of Mopheus which alters file attributes.

The McAfee admin enabled a rule preventing the changing of file attributes and neglected to inform us.

Interestingly it also prevents changes to the layout of the taskbar, start menu, and window layout settings.

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