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nanowiz
Level 7
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Message 1 of 11

XP system will not let anyone logon

I have an XP laptop that I have set up for my son to use at school. It has McAfee loaded. Now, it has picked up some virus causing it to immediately log off as soon as I try to logon. Every account has the same problem including the administrator account. I booted into safe mode and it made no difference.

I then tried booting with Last Known Good Configuration and that got slightly further after I enter the password to login. The wallpaper showed up, but before the desktop icons appeared, it logged off the account.

Any help is appreciated before I have to reinstall XP.
10 Replies
secured2k
Level 11
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Message 2 of 11

RE: XP system will not let anyone logon

This problem usually happens when you have a missing USERINIT registry setting or the userinit.exe file is missing (deleted by a virus). Some programs may try to clean these objects without first checking to make sure the system can still start up.

The method to fix this requires the use of another OS (Boot CD) that can edit the registry or allow you to replace the missing file(s).

I recommend you boot to your Windows CD and perform an in-place upgrade of Windows. This will replace any bad files and reset the core Windows registry settings. You will not lose your data (unless you delete partitions or format in setup).

If you do not have a Windows CD and only have the option for a destructive factory restore, I can provide a link to a boot CD for download with some basic instructions to repair the damaged section(s).
nanowiz
Level 7
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Message 3 of 11

re: XP System will not let anyone login

I finally finished reloading the system in place by booting to an XP system disk with SP2. After the install is completed, the system still behaved in exactly the same way. I rebooted into safe mode and I cannot log in from there either. It logged me out after a minute or so in a blank screen.

I can get to a command promot in safe mode. Is there a way to restore the registry entry and/or restore the missing file from there?
secured2k
Level 11
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Message 4 of 11

re: XP System will not let anyone login

Typing REGEDIT and pressing <ENTER> in the command prompt window will bring up the registry editor. The key and data below is what should be in the registry.

Note: If your Windows installation is located elsewhere, you should change the path to reflect the correct location.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon
Userinit = C:\Windows\system32\userinit.exe,
nanowiz
Level 7
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Message 5 of 11

re: Windows XP will not allow anyone to login

I was able to get to the command prompt once before I sent you the last post. Now, when I boot to the command prompt in safe mode, it just goes to the normal safe mode boot and displays the logon screen.

I guess I'll have to reload XP all over again?
secured2k
Level 11
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Message 6 of 11

re: Windows XP will not allow anyone to login

At this point, you probably could stand to just format (deletes everything) and reinstall to get to a clean state. If this is not an option (because you don't want to lose data), you can try reinstalling XP and make sure the network cable is unplugged (in case a virus is being downloaded).

If you have another system that can burn a CD, you can try using my Boot CD to edit the registry and to scan your computer as it sounds like even after a reinstall you still have something bad on your system.
nanowiz
Level 7
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Message 7 of 11

re: Windows XP will not allow anyone to login

Please send me the link to download your boot CD. I'll give that a try first. Also, please include instructions on what to do. Thanks.
secured2k
Level 11
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Message 8 of 11

RE: XP system will not let anyone logon

You can find the Boot CD and it's information here:

Secured2k BootCD - Malware/Rootkit Removal
nanowiz
Level 7
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Message 9 of 11

RE: XP system will not let anyone logon

Your boot cd is a wonderful tool, thank you.

I had a second similar laptop, so I was able to burn the CD on that system and get all the drivers included. I was able to run RegEdit and found that the Userinit entry was still intact, but the file was missing. I copied it over from another system using a USB drive. Then I ran McAfee. It loaded the latest virus definitions over the internet and found many many items for deletion. Then, I ran ESET online scanner and that found a whole bunch more stuff and deleted them.

Now the system is back to live with all my data files intact. It booted back into normal mode and logged on OK now but complained about a whole bunch of missing dll's. These must be the virus files that the startup list is still calling. I ran a registry cleaner and that took care of it.

It is really nice to be able to boot up in a known safe environment and have access to the internet and USB drives so that one can work on fixing problems with the C drive. Thank you for creating and sharing this tool. I presume that for PC's without CD drive, this will work by booting to a USB flash drive. Also, is it possible to have a collection of drivers from all my PC's so that the CD will work for all of them?

RE: XP system will not let anyone logon

I currently do not have support for creating a Flash boot device, but it is very possible. If CD/DVD drives disappear, it will probably be a future option or change.

About the drivers...

The CD is based on Windows 7 (currently build 6.1.7260 from the RTM test lab) which includes many basic drivers to at least access the Hard Drive. The inclusion of drivers during the creation of the CD is in case you need to include a RAID, SCSI, or PCI/USB network drivers that are not included or supported by the Windows 7 RE. These drivers are only meant for the system the CD was created on.

New in 1.7 is the advanced option to scan the computer for 3rd party network drivers and load them even if they weren't included on the CD but are on the hard drive.

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