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Windows 7: Installing MSE disables taskbar

18 Dec 2009   #1
hallydai

Windows 7 Professional
 
 
Installing MSE disables taskbar

Okay, this is an odd one and I would appreciate any advice.

I was running Zone Alarm v9 on my new thinkpad 7 professional (64 bit) laptop. My subscription is about to expire and I wanted to test some other options before the renewal. I've read a lot of comments on this forum about Microsoft Security Essentionals and thought I would give that a try.

Attempt #1 - I uninstalled Zone Alarm. Note: I did have some trouble and needed to download a utility from their website to complete the uninstall process. I then installed MSE and ran a scan. I noticed while the scan was running that I could not use any of the icons on the task bar, i.e., they did not respond to mouse clicks, including the Start button. Thought it was just a minor glitch that would clear with a reboot. However, when I rebooted the icons appeared as blank pages of paper (as opposed to the typical icons for explore, word, etc.), the Start Button did not respond to either mouse or keyboard and the clock on the task bar did not reflect actual time. In essence it seemed "frozen". The only way I could get around the system was to use the icons I had on the desktop. Multiple reboots did not help and in one reboot the screen came up black (after I entered my password).

So I did a system restore (which seemed easier than re-installing Zone Alarm and customizing my settings again.) Everything was working again.

Thought the problems might have been related to the uninstall of ZA so I tried it again. This time ZA uninstalled cleanly (at least from I can tell). I then installed MSE but decided to skip the scan (it had been clean on the first attempt) and just went into settings to schedule the daily scans. After doing this I noticed that the task bar was "frozen" again. Didn't even try to reboot this time just went to system restore.

Finally I uninstalled ZA again and installed Norton Internet Security 2010 trial. Seems to be working fine although I don't see any real improvements in system performance over ZA (which I thougth was a bit of a resource hog).

I would really like to try MSE as it seems to be well-received and is certainly a more cost-effective solution to the paid apps. But, I'm at a loss as to what caused the task bar issues on the first two attempts.

Has anyone seen this and/or does anyone have any insights into what was affecting the task bar?

Thanks very much for your help.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
18 Dec 2009   #2
patwhatsthat

Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit
 
 

I've been using MSE for quite some time now and I can assure you that this is not the typical result of an install and may very well be linked to the problem you had with the uninstall of zone alarm. You can take a look at this link over on the general discussion forum I am an idiot.. Help? shutdown -s -t fail. it may help, especially Dwarf's post on page 2 post #12. Evidently there is more that one thing that can cause this but at least now you know how to get it back.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Dec 2009   #3
richc46

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 10, Home Clean Install
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by hallydai View Post
Okay, this is an odd one and I would appreciate any advice.

I was running Zone Alarm v9 on my new thinkpad 7 professional (64 bit) laptop. My subscription is about to expire and I wanted to test some other options before the renewal. I've read a lot of comments on this forum about Microsoft Security Essentionals and thought I would give that a try.

Attempt #1 - I uninstalled Zone Alarm. Note: I did have some trouble and needed to download a utility from their website to complete the uninstall process. I then installed MSE and ran a scan. I noticed while the scan was running that I could not use any of the icons on the task bar, i.e., they did not respond to mouse clicks, including the Start button. Thought it was just a minor glitch that would clear with a reboot. However, when I rebooted the icons appeared as blank pages of paper (as opposed to the typical icons for explore, word, etc.), the Start Button did not respond to either mouse or keyboard and the clock on the task bar did not reflect actual time. In essence it seemed "frozen". The only way I could get around the system was to use the icons I had on the desktop. Multiple reboots did not help and in one reboot the screen came up black (after I entered my password).

So I did a system restore (which seemed easier than re-installing Zone Alarm and customizing my settings again.) Everything was working again.

Thought the problems might have been related to the uninstall of ZA so I tried it again. This time ZA uninstalled cleanly (at least from I can tell). I then installed MSE but decided to skip the scan (it had been clean on the first attempt) and just went into settings to schedule the daily scans. After doing this I noticed that the task bar was "frozen" again. Didn't even try to reboot this time just went to system restore.

Finally I uninstalled ZA again and installed Norton Internet Security 2010 trial. Seems to be working fine although I don't see any real improvements in system performance over ZA (which I thougth was a bit of a resource hog).

I would really like to try MSE as it seems to be well-received and is certainly a more cost-effective solution to the paid apps. But, I'm at a loss as to what caused the task bar issues on the first two attempts.

Has anyone seen this and/or does anyone have any insights into what was affecting the task bar?

Thanks very much for your help.
Try this with system restore, go back to the point before you did anything. Then with the uninstall feature in control panel uninstall ZA. Then use the uninstall tool, supplied by them. Then go to search, by the start menu and type in zone alarm. Get rid of anything that is associated with that application. Now download MSE, you should be good to go.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

19 Dec 2009   #4
hallydai

Windows 7 Professional
 
 

Okay - ready to pull my hair out. Tried for a third time with the same results.

Richard, thank you for your suggestion. I had uninstalled Zone Alarm in order to install the trial of Norton. It did take running the clean up tool from ZA twice to satisfy Norton that it was completely uninstalled. Once that was done, Norton installed without a problem and I have been using that for the past few days. I have noticed some sluggishness with the task bar but no locking up.

I did, however, do the search as you suggested and only found 2 Zone Alarm folders in Outlook. So I think that is successfully off.

For the third attempt I uninstalled Norton (as far as I know it uninstalled properly). I also uninstalled the freeware version of Ad-Aware that I had installed and used periodically. In my prior attempts I had disabled before installing MSE. I did notice one dll (shellext_64.dll) still in the Ad Aware folder in Program files that I was unable to delete even in Safe Mode. Don't know if this is causing some problem with MSE or not.

Nevertheless, I got the same results as first two time. MSE installs and updates and once it is finished I can no longer use the task bar or start button. When I reboot it appears that something is keeping the taskbar from fully loading. I get placeholders for the application icons I have "pinned", the power icon does not appear (as it usually does) and the clock appears and then freezes. By that I mean if sit at the computer for 10 min, the time does not change.

I noticed a process called MsMpEng.exe in Task Manager (which I can only get to by Ctrl-Alt-Del) and "ended" it (figured it was part of MSE since it said "malware..."). The task bar icons immediately appeared and the time refreshed. So it would appear that this process is somehow preventing the task bar from working properly. But why?!! It does seem to be something specific to MSE as I have installed other anti-virus programs and other applications without encountering this issue.

I guess because this is a system process it reappeared on the process list and as soon as it did, task bar locked up again. Can't figure out how to disable MSE and I think I will have to uninstall again.

I'm concerned about my inexplicable inability to install and run this program successfully but more so about what might be gunked up in my new computer that will cause additional problems down the road.

Any help with this confounded problem would be very much appreciated!!!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Dec 2009   #5
richc46

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 10, Home Clean Install
 
 

I understand your frustration, and I will try to help. Based upon your information this all we really know for sure; there is some type of corruption present in your system. We have to try and get it out.

1) Do a disk check. Go to the computer icon >c drive > properties > tools > disc check now. See if that works

2) Do a repair install. Take your Windows 7 DVD and 3 times do a repair install. Basically do an upgrade 3 times, lets see if that works.

3) The last thing that I know is to do a clean install. The most difficult part here is that you have to reinstall all of your programs.

4) After everything is running. Whether you take my advice or repair the problem with other actiions. Make a system image (copy of your hard drive). Put it on an external Hard Drive. Then you know regarless of any problems in the future, you can just bring it back to where it was when you made the good working copy. In any event, you should have that copy if the inevitable happens and you your HD fails. Then where would you be.

I know you are not happy with my last suggestion, but thats what I would do with my computer, if I was not happy with the performance.

Possibly others with an less drastick approach may come by and offer help that is less extreme.

But Good Luck
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Dec 2009   #6
Airbot

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

Don't have an answer for it, but I as well have encountered a similar problem when I installed MSE once. It froze right after installation, and updating the database. Everything on the taskbar was non responsive, context menus from the taskbar were all corrupted, subsequent reboots didn't help, no auto start programs would run, no recorded information in event viewer etc, etc..

Only way I could get back was to system restore from safe mode. I know it was MSE. I've had sucessfull installations of it at different times, but I know that it was MSE. Don't have the answer as to why.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Dec 2009   #7
hallydai

Windows 7 Professional
 
 

Richard - thanks for your suggestions. Running chkdsk right now but it is very slow so will let it run and pick up in the am. I'll let you know how it goes and might have a question for you at that time. Wanted to thank you for your quick response.

Airbot - sorry to hear you had the same problem but thank you for letting me know it's not just me :-)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Dec 2009   #8
Jacee
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ultimate 32bit SP1
 
 

MsMpEng.exe is the scanning engine for MSE. Something is fighting it and causing the freeze-up. Have you 'allowed' it through your firewall?

In Services, set Windows Defender to disabled, if it isn't already. Also make sure there are no instances of ZoneAlarm running in Services. Use Windows 7 Firewall and see if you still get a frozen taskbar.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Dec 2009   #9
richc46

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 10, Home Clean Install
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Jacee View Post
MsMpEng.exe is the scanning engine for MSE. Something is fighting it and causing the freeze-up. Have you 'allowed' it through your firewall?

In Services, set Windows Defender to disabled, if it isn't already. Also make sure there are no instances of ZoneAlarm running in Services. Use Windows 7 Firewall and see if you still get a frozen taskbar.
before you do anything try Jaycees advice first. She is real good in the security area. I think she has the correct answer.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Dec 2009   #10
hallydai

Windows 7 Professional
 
 

Richard - chkdsk ran and everything seems okay. Found one byte of freespace marked as allocated and corrected it. Currently have MSE disabled as it is the only way to maneuver around the system. On the Windows 7 repair, I don't have the cd. Nothing came with the computer. I did, however, create a boot cd and factory recover cds using the Lenovo utilities. Tried to do a system image as well but my external drive didn't have the right file system to support this.

Never had to do a reinstall or repair (or haven't for many years). Not sure if the recovery CDs I made will help here or not. I can do a system restore back to 12/12 which is before I started trying to install MSE.

Thoughts?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Installing MSE disables taskbar




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