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Windows 7: Is it a Virus?

08 Jul 2011   #1

Is it a Virus?

Hi, everybody: I'm running Windows 7 Ultimate.

I have had a catastrophic collapse of my PC which would indicate a virus, or malware of some sort. However, the only item found in a virus scan (Microsoft Security Essentials) was Win32/Fakesysdef and this was listed by McAfee as low risk.

First, my desktop is black and except for a solid colour, cannot be changed. Desktop gadgets, clock, weather etc, are visible but no shortcuts.

All my folders in Windows Explorer have disappeared but are somehow still there. For example, if I use my keyboard shortcut to access the likes of Word and Excel and then use the "Recent" dropdown list, the file opens up fine.

All my quick launch shortcuts have disappeared. The 'Start' menu shows all the programme folders but they are all "Empty". Links not containd within a folder work okay. All the Internet Explorer "Favourites" are gone, but when I try to add a folder with the same name I used previously, it warns that the folder already exists.

My question is: has anyone else experienced this? Does anyone have any suggestions to help make my folders visible again - they are there but invisible. I have enable "Show all folders" but this does not help.

When trying a recovery disc, it hangs.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

08 Jul 2011   #2

Windows 7 Pro x64 SP1

Edsaid, Have you tried to do a system restore to a prior date before all this happened?
You can get to system restore in safe mode. It is in windows\system32 directory, just type rstrui.exe and you will get the system recovery console.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Jul 2011   #3

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 7 Pro 64-bit

I'd also suggest running a full scan with Malwarebytes free. It picks up things other security scans might miss. You may have to use safe mode with networking to install and update data base.

Malwarebytes : Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is a free download that removes viruses and malware from your computer
My System SpecsSystem Spec

08 Jul 2011   #4


Thanks, everybody. Yes, I tried System Restore but encountered and error. I'll give another try tho', from Safe Mode. I done so many things, I've forgotten some of them!

I'll also try Malwarebytes.

I'll let you know how I get on.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Jul 2011   #5

Windows 7 & Windows Vista Ultimate

Hi, Edsaid.

Win32/Fakesysdef is in the same family as the HDD Defragmenter. See the instructions at Bleeping Computer for removal: Remove HDD Defragmenter (Uninstall Guide).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Jul 2011   #6


Thanks for your patience.

I have now spent many hours trying to solve this but only with limited success.

I tried the Dell full Diagnosics - took all night - and nothing important was found to be wrong. I also dumped Microsoft Security Essentials and bought Avast... A deep scan (about 90 minites) found nothing.

I have now tried Scandisk and System Restore (normal and in Safe Mode) but it freezes at "Initializing". (I left it for 30 minutes, hoping it was just being slow)!

I still have numerous personal folders hidden (I renamed the backup folders to make them available) and worse, at least one essential folder - AppData - appears to be missing altogether (presumably deleted) as my Stickies backup cannot access it and searches find nothing.

Word, Excel and Publisher are still working when a file is opened but with Office hidden in ProgData I can't access them.

The Start "All Programs" list still shows mainly empty folders except where I have just installed. Under accessories/System Tools there are no actual tools, just shortcuts to the likes of Internet Explorer and Control Panel.

This is a toughie, guys. I don't want to do a repair install but it's looking more and more like I am going to have to.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Jul 2011   #7

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 7 Pro 64-bit

If you followed Corrine's instructions you might want to try scanning your system files to see if any have been damaged or corrupted.

SFC /SCANNOW Command - System File Checker

If any problems were noted by the SFC scan run it 3-4 times.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Jul 2011   #8


Marmimar - thanks for the suggestion. I have printed off the instructions and will be going ahead with this a little later on. I have some critical work to complete and while I have even limited access, I will need to finish that before risking delving where few have gone before!!
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Is it a Virus?

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