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Windows 7: TaskEng.exe Window Appears on Startup - Restore? Repair? Malware?

08 Apr 2015   #1
LaurieD227

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit SP 1
 
 
TaskEng.exe Window Appears on Startup - Restore? Repair? Malware?

I am trying to repurpose my old Dell D630, and I have encountered a problem.

I made several changes to my machine, and during the reboots there were a couple of times when the system appeared to "hang" - black screen, white bar that I guess is a cursor was motionless in the upper left corner with no apparent activity (steadily lit). This appeared to happen after it got past the initial boot up stage, since I saw the Dell logo page/progress bar go by before it got stuck.

It stayed in that state for so long that I finally forced a reboot. This happened twice in a row; the third time it booted all the way into Windows, but I now see a "TaskEng.exe" command window show up whenever I start up, during the "populate the desktop" part of starting up. I have attached a screen shot in case I am not describing it well.

When I watched the Command window closely, I saw a brief flash of text that said something about "not found" - but this text appears and vanishes so fast that I cannot read it nor can I capture a screen shot of it even though the window itself lingers while before it closes.

The changes I made include the following:
-resized my partitions
-added a user account
-moved some data files
-uninstalled MS Office

The only web sites I visited immediately before this began were Google, this forum, and Microsoft Answers. Therefore, I think my problem is probably damaged or missing Windows files rather than a virus or malware, but I don't want to assume that so I came here for help.




Attached Thumbnails
TaskEng.exe Window Appears on Startup - Restore? Repair? Malware?-taskeng-startup.jpg  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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08 Apr 2015   #2
LaurieD227

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit SP 1
 
 

I ran "SFC /scannow" as an Administrator and it said it found no integrity violations
I ran CHKDSK and it showed that Windows had fixed a couple of things. Here are the results:

Checking file system on C:
The type of the file system is NTFS.
A disk check has been scheduled.
Windows will now check the disk.
CHKDSK is verifying files (stage 1 of 5)...
189184 file records processed. File verification completed.
1646 large file records processed. 0 bad file records processed. 4 EA records processed. 76 reparse records processed. CHKDSK is verifying indexes (stage 2 of 5)...
232702 index entries processed. Index verification completed.
0 unindexed files scanned. 0 unindexed files recovered. CHKDSK is verifying security descriptors (stage 3 of 5)...
189184 file SDs/SIDs processed. Cleaning up 126 unused index entries from index $SII of file 0x9.
Cleaning up 126 unused index entries from index $SDH of file 0x9.
Cleaning up 126 unused security descriptors.
CHKDSK is compacting the security descriptor stream
21760 data files processed. CHKDSK is verifying Usn Journal...
36575128 USN bytes processed. Usn Journal verification completed.
CHKDSK is verifying file data (stage 4 of 5)...
189168 files processed. File data verification completed.
CHKDSK is verifying free space (stage 5 of 5)...
12351009 free clusters processed. Free space verification is complete.
Correcting errors in the Volume Bitmap.
Windows has made corrections to the file system.
115684351 KB total disk space.
65882164 KB in 145990 files.
100920 KB in 21763 indexes.
0 KB in bad sectors.
297231 KB in use by the system.
65536 KB occupied by the log file.
49404036 KB available on disk.
4096 bytes in each allocation unit.
28921087 total allocation units on disk.
12351009 allocation units available on disk.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Apr 2015   #3
LaurieD227

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit SP 1
 
 

I'll just add that before making any of these changes, I did a Macrium backup using the using the "Create an image that can be used to backup and restore Windows" function (which imaged my C partition and my System 100MB partition, but did not do a full backup of my entire 320GB disk).

What I need to know about the Macrium backup is this: because I deleted one of my data partitions and resized the others - as well as resizing my C partition - after I ran it, can I still use it to restore my Windows files, or will that fail because of the nature of the changes I made?

I checked, and I don't have a usable Windows Restore Point for my C partition although System Protection is turned on for it (I have one from yesterday that is after the problem began, and a previous one from March 23 which I'd hate to have to go back to). I do have my Win7 disks, so if I have to do a Repair Install I have the media available.

I also have a Macrium Rescue Disk available, which I made when I saved the Macrium backup described above.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

08 Apr 2015   #4
LaurieD227

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit SP 1
 
 

I tried checking for malware and viruses since I read somewhere on the Internet that this might be malware or virus related.
-I ran Norton and Malwarebytes - they found and fixed some tracking cookies.
-I downloaded and installed SuperAntiSpyware. It found something called "Malware Trace" but that did not affect the TaskEng.exe problem.
-I downloaded AdwareCleaner, but when I went to install it, Norton reacted by finding a threat named SONARheuristic120 that made it decide that Adware Cleaner was malicious. As a result, it prevented the install and removed all the associated files so I never did run it. (I can post a screen shot if needed, but this did not affect the problem either so I don't want to divert attention from my current issue)

I found some other information on the Internet that said this could indicate a registry problem, sometimes caused when a program is installed or uninstalled - hence the CHKDSK and SFC runs. From here, I can pursue a restore or a repair if that is the best option.

Right now, I need guidance - what additional data and images or print outs do I need to provide to help diagnose this, and what do I need to do now?

In case it would help, I've posted a screen shot of the summary level of Event Viewer. It shows some errors and some warnings. Since I don't know if anyof this data might be useful, I figured I'd share it in case there's something there I need to copy and post.


Attached Thumbnails
TaskEng.exe Window Appears on Startup - Restore? Repair? Malware?-event-viewer-summary.jpg  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Apr 2015   #5
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

I think you can restore that image of C and the 100MB partition despite the changes you made. You may encounter some missing references for the data that was in the data partition that you deleted.

Going back to the March restore point is another option. It will not effect your data just the system and the installed programs and settings which will be set back to March.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Apr 2015   #6
LaurieD227

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit SP 1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by whs View Post
I think you can restore that image of C and the 100MB partition despite the changes you made. You may encounter some missing references for the data that was in the data partition that you deleted.

Going back to the March restore point is another option. It will not effect your data just the system and the installed programs and settings which will be set back to March.
Wolfgang, thanks for the quick reply!

I'd rather not go back to the March date if I can avoid it, as that was before I discovered and installed all the tools this forum recommends

The good news is that I moved all data out of the data partition before I deleted it, so I can deal with the missing references. The other good news is I took your earlier advice and did a Macrium Restore test on a small partition with a few files in it, so I have at least done this once before (although never with files that matter).

I have reused the allocated space that was freed up when I deleted the partition, as I expanded my C partition to use some of it, and moved a different data partition to reuse the remaining space.


Will the fact that my C partition is now bigger be a problem in this restore? It sounds like probably not, but I figured best to double-check.

PS - I also changed the name of my machine from LAURIE-LAPTOP to LAURIE-D630. If this will create an issue in the Restore, I can change it back before I do it.

Please let me know if you think either of these will be a problem. Thanks in advance for your help.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Apr 2015   #7
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Quote:
Will the fact that my C partition is now bigger be a problem in this restore?
That is no problem. You will, however, have unallocated space on the C partition after the restore. Just extend the C partition in disk management then to make use of that unallocated space.

Regarding the machine name - I would think you will get the old name back.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Apr 2015   #8
LaurieD227

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit SP 1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by whs View Post
Quote:
Will the fact that my C partition is now bigger be a problem in this restore?
That is no problem. You will, however, have unallocated space on the C partition after the restore. Just extend the C partition in disk management then to make use of that unallocated space.

Regarding the machine name - I would think you will get the old name back.
Cool - those are easy to deal with!

I will post back after I have performed the Restore
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Apr 2015   #9
LaurieD227

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit SP 1
 
 

I did the Macrium Restore, and as far as I can tell it completed successfully. My machine is in the same state as it was before I resized my C partition, added a User account, and uninstalled MS Office. Thanks, Wolfgang, your information was right on as usual!

The bad news is the TaskEng.exe command window still shows up on Start Up, while my desktop icons are loading, just like it did before. However, I took it a step further and tried booting up in Safe Mode - and I did NOT get a TaskEng.exe command window.

As I have said repeatedly, I'm no expert, but what this seems to mean to me is that there is a problem for one of the items I have in my start up routine. Maybe if I can isolate which one is the problem, I can do a reinstall or something for that item.

I will start trying to figure out how to isolate my start up items in order to identify the problem in case that turns out to be the cause of this, but I could really use some more guidance from people who know what they're doing since I clearly don't.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Apr 2015   #10
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

You should disable ALL startups except the AV program and those that you have set yourself. They are completely useless. They will start when needed.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 TaskEng.exe Window Appears on Startup - Restore? Repair? Malware?




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