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Windows 7: Bizarre Win7 Behavior

21 Dec 2011   #1
aroth

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 
Bizarre Win7 Behavior

I've got a recent Windows 7 install that is showing some very strange behavior. Before I describe the symptoms I'll describe my theory as to what caused it.

Basically, I added an SSD to my system and decided to start with a fresh Windows 7 install on the SSD to get the most performance benefit out of it. I left the old disk with the previous Windows 7 install connected, so the system actually had 2 Windows 7 installs on it for awhile. I'm almost positive that is not the problem.

However, at one point I booted into the old Windows 7 install, and wanted to access some files that I had placed on the Desktop of the newer install. This caused permission denied errors, so to get around that I did a "Take Ownership" operation (Right Click -> Properties -> Security -> Advanced -> Owner -> Edit) of the *entire* SSD volume from within the old version of Windows 7.

This caused some immediate problems when booting into the newer install. Most of those were resolved by repeating the "Take Ownership" operation from within the new install (so now the SSD volume and everything on it has my user account set as the owner). Some strange issues have persisted, however, and I assume that they are related to the file ownership changes that I made.

Anyways, the problems I have left are:

1. Some application icons disappear (they are replaced with the standard "no icon" placeholder graphic) and cannot be restored or modified (the "Change Icon..." option is grayed out/disabled). This has happened to Skype and VMWare Fusion, so far. Both started out with valid icons, and then lost them a couple of weeks after being installed.

2. My Windows Media Player music library thrashes itself. It will randomly forget all the songs that are in it until I forcibly delete it and re-add all the files. Or sometimes instead of that it will start displaying the same file multiple times. Typically what happens is that each time I play a song, a duplicate entry for that song appears in the media list. The duplicate entries do not go away (until the next point at which the *entire* library goes away), and if I delete one of the duplicates, the other ones cease to work (i.e. the song will no longer play).

3. Every time I start Internet Explorer after a reboot, it brings up a message saying "A program on your computer has corrupted your default search provider setting for Internet Explorer". It then brings up a dialog for me to choose a search provider, but the only one listed is "Bing", and all the options except for "Close" are disabled. Once I hit "Close", IE seems to work fine until the next reboot.

4. I cannot install any updates or new versions of IE using Windows Update. The update/install fails with code 9C48.

5. I cannot install Windows Update KB2607576, it fails with error code 8024402C. This is listed as an optional update. All the "important" updates install without issue.

Currently I am working around the second issue by creating a backup copy of my media library's database file when it is in a known-good state. Then whenever it wipes itself out or starts getting populated with duplicates I kill the WMP process and replace the current database file with the backup copy. This works, but is extremely inconvenient.

Any help resolving these issues would be greatly appreciated.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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21 Dec 2011   #2
writhziden

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit
 
 

Do you have any system restore points from before the date that you took ownership of the files? What appears to have happened is you took ownership of system files and folders, which is a big issue. You need to either restore from a restore point , paying close attention to the NOTE in step 8, or restore from a backup image, or you need to do a repair install of Windows.

Before doing the repair install, you could try SFC /SCANNOW Command - System File Checker, but given your permissions changes, I highly doubt this will fix your issues.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Dec 2011   #3
aroth

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Yeah, running 'sfc /scannow' didn't help, so I tried the repair install. That seems to have resolved some of the issues (application icons, ability to install windows updates, ability to update IE), but the error message when starting IE remains (even though I've now upgraded to IE9), and my media library is still screwed. I suspect that is because these things are related to some user-level settings that are preserved during the repair install?

I don't mind the IE issue so much since I use Chrome as my default browser anyways, but the media library/Windows Media Player problem is really annoying. Is there any way to uninstall and then reinstall Windows Media Player?

Or failing that, is there any alternative media player software that integrates with my media library and homegroup the same way that Windows Media Player does? That would also be an acceptable solution.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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24 Dec 2011   #4
writhziden

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit
 
 

Try looking at Microsoft Fix it Solution Center: troubleshooting software issues to see if it can repair your Windows Media Player and Internet Explorer issues.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Dec 2011   #5
aroth

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

That fix-it site is a great resource, and I had no idea it even existed. Microsoft should advertise these things better.

In any case, their downloadable utility appears to have repaired Windows Media Player successfully (or at least, I haven't observed any issues since running it). Sadly their IE fixer fails to run, but really IE is the least of my problems. I'm happy to now have 95% of things back to working like they should again. Thanks for the help.

Edit: And one quick note for anyone who stumbles across this thread with a similar issue and decides to give the repair install a try. If you are a VMware user, the repair install of Windows 7 may/will break your VMware install. If it breaks, it may/will break in a way that also makes it impossible to uninstall, reinstall, or repair the VMware installation using either "Add/Remove Programs" or any of the tools provided by VMware.

In order to fix the problem, you will need to manually uninstall VMware by stopping all VMware services, deleting all VMware-related files from '/Windows/System32', removing any network settings created by VMware, and running regedit and removing every reference to "VMware" (there are quite a few of them). After doing that, reboot and perform a fresh install of VMware using the official installer, and all should be well again.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Dec 2011   #6
writhziden

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by aroth View Post
That fix-it site is a great resource, and I had no idea it even existed. Microsoft should advertise these things better.

In any case, their downloadable utility appears to have repaired Windows Media Player successfully (or at least, I haven't observed any issues since running it). Sadly their IE fixer fails to run, but really IE is the least of my problems. I'm happy to now have 95% of things back to working like they should again. Thanks for the help.

Edit: And one quick note for anyone who stumbles across this thread with a similar issue and decides to give the repair install a try. If you are a VMware user, the repair install of Windows 7 may/will break your VMware install. If it breaks, it may/will break in a way that also makes it impossible to uninstall, reinstall, or repair the VMware installation using either "Add/Remove Programs" or any of the tools provided by VMware.

In order to fix the problem, you will need to manually uninstall VMware by stopping all VMware services, deleting all VMware-related files from '/Windows/System32', removing any network settings created by VMware, and running regedit and removing every reference to "VMware" (there are quite a few of them). After doing that, reboot and perform a fresh install of VMware using the official installer, and all should be well again.
Glad most of your problems were solved. Sorry to hear about VMware being affected, though. We at SevenForums appreciate the feedback about how to fix it. Thank you for posting that, and congrats on troubleshooting the issue!

Edit: aroth, I've added this thread to my favorites in case anyone needs help with VMware after using the repair install. That way, people with that issue can get the info from your post and you get credit for it for a while. I also gave you rep for your work on the matter.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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