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Help needed - Computer malware problem
Home computer | October 22, 2012 | self

Posted on 10/22/2012 7:56:58 AM PDT by editor-surveyor

My wife's Dell 640 laptop has picked up some malware that affects the display.

It shows up as faint rainbow colored horizontal bars across the screen, plus a circular, concentric, variable rainbow graphic in the upper left corner of the windows startup screen.

The machine is running XP professional.

The AVG software on the machine doesn't recognize it, nor did Trend Micro Housecall.


TOPICS: Computers/Internet
KEYWORDS: malware; windowsxp
It also changes the top bar (title area) of every window and action/alert panel to a scrolling band of rainbow colors.
1 posted on 10/22/2012 7:57:00 AM PDT by editor-surveyor
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To: ShadowAce

Experienced help needed!


2 posted on 10/22/2012 7:57:55 AM PDT by editor-surveyor (Freepers: Not as smart as I'd hoped they'd be)
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To: editor-surveyor
sounds psychedelic
3 posted on 10/22/2012 8:00:03 AM PDT by nuconvert ( Khomeini promised change too // Hail, Chairman O)
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To: editor-surveyor; rdb3; Calvinist_Dark_Lord; Salo; JosephW; Only1choice____Freedom; amigatec; ...

4 posted on 10/22/2012 8:00:40 AM PDT by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: editor-surveyor

That sounds like a video problem (i.e. hardware), not a malware (software) problem.


5 posted on 10/22/2012 8:00:56 AM PDT by justlurking (The only remedy for a bad guy with a gun is a good WOMAN (Sgt. Kimberly Munley) with a gun)
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To: editor-surveyor

Sounds like a computer or monitor problem to me. But then, I know jack nothing.


6 posted on 10/22/2012 8:01:27 AM PDT by A Navy Vet (An Oath is Forever)
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To: justlurking

Sounds like a bad heat sink. Dell has had a lot of those. However, if you think it is Maleware, either Maleware Bytes or Kaspersky are the best tools for it.


7 posted on 10/22/2012 8:02:45 AM PDT by EQAndyBuzz
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To: justlurking
I tend to agree with the h/w issue as a quick diagnosis.

I'd try booting the unit with something like knoppix to see if the problem persists.

8 posted on 10/22/2012 8:03:03 AM PDT by Paladin2
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To: editor-surveyor
...variable rainbow graphic in the upper left corner of the windows startup screen.

You don't have a magnet up there, do you?

9 posted on 10/22/2012 8:03:26 AM PDT by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: editor-surveyor

I can not offer you any advice in this matter, however if anybody has set up a repeater to work with a uVerse router let me know.


10 posted on 10/22/2012 8:05:18 AM PDT by UB355 (Slower traffic keep right)
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To: EQAndyBuzz

dell also had issues with bad solder.....

I had a dell burn up on me from overheating and the bad solder..

I bought a little fan unit you put the laptop on top of...

for about 40 bucks it is a great insurance policy


11 posted on 10/22/2012 8:05:23 AM PDT by joe fonebone (The clueless... they walk among us, and they vote...)
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To: A Navy Vet

I agree. It’s not likely that it’s malware. It’s a problem with the screen or with the video chip on the motherboard. I would take it to a computer repair place. It may, or may not be worth fixing, depending on the current value of your laptop.


12 posted on 10/22/2012 8:06:43 AM PDT by Signalman
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To: ShadowAce

I agree, sounds like an electro-magnetic source near the monitor. Normally a malware tries to take over the computer and you can’t run other programs.

So, look for that first. If you are concerned about malware, get Malwarebytes. Best on the market.


13 posted on 10/22/2012 8:07:06 AM PDT by rstrahan
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To: editor-surveyor

You could try restarting in Safe Mode with Networking, download Malware Bytes Anti-Malware (free) and try that.

It got rid of a virus for me a few years ago.


14 posted on 10/22/2012 8:07:27 AM PDT by F15Eagle (1 John 5:4-5, 4:15, 5:13; John 3:17-18, 6:69, 11:25, 14:6, 20:31; Rom10:8-11; 1 Tim 2:5; Titus 3:4-5)
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To: editor-surveyor

Could be a ribbon problem.


15 posted on 10/22/2012 8:07:54 AM PDT by Focault's Pendulum (Romney has run a business, an Olympics, and a state. Obama has never run anything but his mouth.)
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To: editor-surveyor

Try windows offline defender tool.http://www.thewindowsclub.com/windows-defender-offline-download . It will boot to the CD. That way if you are still having the problem when you boot to it, it is probably hardware or your video driver is corrupt.


16 posted on 10/22/2012 8:08:25 AM PDT by techcor (I hope Obama succeeds, in being a one term president.)
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To: justlurking; editor-surveyor
That sounds like a video problem (i.e. hardware), not a malware (software) problem.

I agree.

Try booting into safe mode. Restart and press F8 a couple of times during the boot process. Select "safe mode". This will default your video adapter to basic VGA settings. If you are still seeing the rainbow, I'd bet you have a video problem.

The fact that you are seeing it on the startup screen is a big sign that the issue is video card/hardware related. Malware, except for some extreme "root-kit" related instances will usually take hold after you log into your computer.

If you are REALLY convinced it is malware, you could try downloading combofix from bleepingcomputer.com. If you have some sort of malware that is infecting you before windows starts, you're going to need something like combofix. Combofix isn't for the feint of heart, but it is designed to rip out rootkit viruses.
17 posted on 10/22/2012 8:08:34 AM PDT by mmichaels1970
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To: editor-surveyor

Get Malwarebyte.

It’s the best and lightest there is for new dirt.


18 posted on 10/22/2012 8:08:59 AM PDT by Hardraade (http://junipersec.wordpress.com (I will fear no muslim))
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To: EQAndyBuzz
"...Kaspersky are the best tools for it."

Maybe the free stuff works, but I prefer the updates and support of a highly regarded anti-virus/firewall like Kaspersky. I've had zero problems since.

19 posted on 10/22/2012 8:09:16 AM PDT by A Navy Vet (An Oath is Forever)
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To: EQAndyBuzz
either Maleware Bytes or Kaspersky are the best tools for it.

I think you mean Malware Bytes.
Maleware Bytes is probably a Lesbian dating site.


20 posted on 10/22/2012 8:09:59 AM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: editor-surveyor
I'm assuming this is a Dell C640.

I have one that is experiencing video and LCD screen problems. I have investigated and found that this model and others have problems like this after a few years. For now, mine goes away when it warms up.

In your case, to definitely determine hardware or malware problem, take an image of your hard drive and store it on an external USB drive. Then format the drive and do a reinstall of WinXP....or simply install a copy of a Linux distro. If the problem persists, it's hardware. Get it fixed and then re-image your hard drive with the image you put on the external USB drive.

Macrium Reflect is free imaging software and easy to use.

21 posted on 10/22/2012 8:12:46 AM PDT by Bloody Sam Roberts ("The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left." Ecclesiastes 1)
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To: editor-surveyor

Multiple possible answers, depending on whether this is a consistent problem, or varies with time.

If this is happening essentially immediately after boot-up (from a cold machine), then it wouldn’t be a heat problem.

If the color changes are limited to certain portions of windows, then I would indeed suspect some sort of malware, but even that isn’t necessarily the case, as it could involve an issue with certain operations of the video card.

If the changing colors are over the entire display - to one degree or another, then it would tend to point to the video itself... and unfortunately that means you may as well go shopping... though Black Friday is just around the corner!

If this is the Latitude C640 model, then I’d say you’d gotten your money’s worth!


22 posted on 10/22/2012 8:15:14 AM PDT by alancarp (Liberals are all for shared pain... until they're included in the pain group.)
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To: editor-surveyor
If is a display problem you can check my running the diag from the boot mean. Turn on the computer. When the DELL™ logo appears, press immediately. Select Diagnostics from the boot menu and press .
23 posted on 10/22/2012 8:17:44 AM PDT by ThomasThomas
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To: editor-surveyor
Sounds like a hardware issue.

Try this: get someone to steal the laptop, then use the insurance proceeds to buy a new one. That will work better than dealing with Dell customer service. :)

24 posted on 10/22/2012 8:18:04 AM PDT by TonyInOhio ("But, the Obama has no clothes!")
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To: TonyInOhio
"Try this: get someone to steal the laptop, then use the insurance proceeds to buy a new one. That will work better than dealing with Dell customer service. :) "

LOL. Post of the thread.

25 posted on 10/22/2012 8:20:23 AM PDT by A Navy Vet (An Oath is Forever)
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To: Hardraade

Agree.

If Malwarebytes won’t fix it, probably nothing will.


26 posted on 10/22/2012 8:21:34 AM PDT by fwdude ( You cannot compromise with that which you must defeat.)
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To: editor-surveyor

Looks like your VGA card is a problem. First try to re-install graphic driver, if problem remain same, replace card.
Or you can test, reduce acceleration and see whether that change display.


27 posted on 10/22/2012 8:25:55 AM PDT by jennychase
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To: ShadowAce

Magnets only affect CRT’s.


28 posted on 10/22/2012 8:26:07 AM PDT by Fresh Wind (If Obama is an empty chair, then Biden is the whoopee cushion.)
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To: editor-surveyor

I use Spybot and follow up with Malware. that tends to clear all things.
Last week Spybot 6 and malware got 3.
The week before, running malware first it got 2 and spybot got 2.
Keep it up weekly, it needs to be done regularly and don’t forget to update your programs, there’s new stuff coming out daily to disrupt/crash your computer


29 posted on 10/22/2012 8:26:55 AM PDT by conservativesister
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To: ThomasThomas

F12

Turn the computer on and when the DELL logo appears press F12
this will get you into Diagnostics where you can test the display. If it is a malware problem it will go way while in diagnostics, if it is a hardware problem it will stay.


30 posted on 10/22/2012 8:28:25 AM PDT by ThomasThomas
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To: editor-surveyor

Any possibility of taking a screenshot and then posting it here on FR? You can upload image to Flickr (or similar) or Jing and post the image or link here if you know how. You will get a much more accurate answer from the geeks here on FR.


31 posted on 10/22/2012 8:30:25 AM PDT by tflabo (Truth or Tyranny)
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To: mmichaels1970
"Try booting into safe mode. Restart and press F8 a couple of times during the boot process. Select "safe mode". This will default your video adapter to basic VGA settings. If you are still seeing the rainbow, I'd bet you have a video problem."

Good suggestion. If he sees the same rainbows in safe mode then it is probably the video card or a monitor problem. Doesn't sound like malware. If the problem remains in safe mode, my first extinct would be to replace the monitor if he has one available.

32 posted on 10/22/2012 8:32:21 AM PDT by A Navy Vet (An Oath is Forever)
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To: A Navy Vet

If it were mine I would also try disconnecting and reconnecting the monitor connections both ends. Then (if its a tower) try reseating the PC boards inside and see what happens. Its worth a shot at least. Also can you hook up another monitor to it and check it again?


33 posted on 10/22/2012 8:37:14 AM PDT by tflabo (Truth or Tyranny)
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To: editor-surveyor

Rainbow graphics? Your computer has come out of the closet and is now proudly proclaiming to be gay. Attempting to reprogram it to a straight OS is a hate crime and the ACLU will have you in court. Get rid of it before it insists that you pay to have the gender of it’s ports changed.


34 posted on 10/22/2012 9:00:50 AM PDT by CrazyIvan (Obama's birth certificate was found stapled to Soros's receipt.)
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To: tflabo

I don’t thing a screenshot will help; it’s obviously a new kid on the block that present malware scanners are not finding. Also it is dynamic, so a video would likely be needed to show that facet.


35 posted on 10/22/2012 9:11:51 AM PDT by editor-surveyor (Freepers: Not as smart as I'd hoped they'd be)
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To: justlurking

No, this is clearly intelligent information, not malfunction.

I realize that AC leaking into the power would generate horizontal bars, but it wouldn’t make that concentric, changing and complex graphic that appears in the upper left corner of only the startup screen.


36 posted on 10/22/2012 9:15:23 AM PDT by editor-surveyor (Freepers: Not as smart as I'd hoped they'd be)
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To: EQAndyBuzz

We went to Malware bytes, no help.

This thing is clearly a program that generates complex information, not just some accidental failure.

Also, I ran a dos autocad rendering on the machine and it displays perfectly.


37 posted on 10/22/2012 9:19:25 AM PDT by editor-surveyor (Freepers: Not as smart as I'd hoped they'd be)
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To: ShadowAce

No magnet, and the graphic disappears after the startup screen.

The problem also disappears in MS DOS mode. (Autocad)


38 posted on 10/22/2012 9:21:51 AM PDT by editor-surveyor (Freepers: Not as smart as I'd hoped they'd be)
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To: editor-surveyor

Graphics card failure. I had the same failure on a D series Dell Latitude.


39 posted on 10/22/2012 9:26:35 AM PDT by Clay Moore (The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of a fool to the left. Ecclesiastes 10:2)
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To: mmichaels1970

>> “Try booting into safe mode.” <<

.
I did that one better, I booted the machine in MS DOS 6.2, and ran a complex high resolution AutoCAD rendering, and it displays perfectly.

The hardware is fine.

This thing is “intelligent.” It turns the blue title bar at the top of the program windows into a diagonal scrolling rainbow, but only the bar, nothing else is like that. The rest of the screen (’desktop’) is faded horizontal bars.


40 posted on 10/22/2012 9:34:39 AM PDT by editor-surveyor (Freepers: Not as smart as I'd hoped they'd be)
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To: editor-surveyor

Try f-secure.com free scanner.


41 posted on 10/22/2012 10:32:06 AM PDT by Delmarksman (Pro 2A Anglican American (Ford and Chevy kill more people than guns do, lets ban them))
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To: editor-surveyor

Install new graphic driver. Check whether nvdia and Microsoft (default) driver are conflicting.
Or check registry whether yellow mark is present.


42 posted on 10/22/2012 10:59:21 AM PDT by jennychase
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To: editor-surveyor
I did that one better, I booted the machine in MS DOS 6.2, and ran a complex high resolution AutoCAD rendering, and it displays perfectly.

Impressive. Then I'd suspect a rootkit and try combofix. If you can pull off running AutoCAD rendering from an MS Dos 6.2 boot, combofix shouldn't intimidate you at all.
43 posted on 10/22/2012 11:11:17 AM PDT by mmichaels1970
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To: tflabo; editor-surveyor

I was going to recommend the same thing.. I was thinking the same as others here (hardware issue) until I read all of the details.. A screenshot would quickly tell all of us whether or not it is a hardware issue.

If it is maleware, I would highly recommend booting from a Linux Live CD and checking for virus’/trojans from there.. MUCH more reliable ;)


44 posted on 10/22/2012 12:05:26 PM PDT by Bikkuri (Hope for Conservative push in the next 2-4 years..........)
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To: editor-surveyor
Saw this on someone else's machine a few weeks ago. Similar to the old custom cursors from a few years ago.

If the only thing, (and I mean the ONLY thing) that is affected is the blue title bar for each and every window and/or dialog box or alert message box, then the problem is a gradient setting in the current windows theme.

This would show as a colour change going from left to right on the title bar of the window and when you re-size or move the window the colour change follows the window.

Fix --- right click on desktop background and select display properties. navigate the tabs till you find the current theme. (probably listed as custom theme). Pick Windows classic theme or some similar name from the drop down list.

45 posted on 10/22/2012 1:01:46 PM PDT by DarthFuzball ("Life is full of little surprises." - Pandora)
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To: DarthFuzball

On my wife’s machine the desktop is also affected (horizontal bands of faded rainbow colors) and there is a series of graphics with very complex designs that show up only on the startup screen, in the upper left corner.

The first one to display was a drawing of a gear with a splined center and bevel-cut teeth around the outer circumference, like someone’s high school drafting project.


46 posted on 10/22/2012 1:32:51 PM PDT by editor-surveyor (Freepers: Not as smart as I'd hoped they'd be)
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To: editor-surveyor

Hook the laptop up to a monitor and see if the display is OK. I am betting hardware issue.


47 posted on 10/22/2012 1:35:55 PM PDT by w1andsodidwe (Barrak has now won the contest. He is even worse than Jimmah.)
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To: ThomasThomas
Turn the computer on and when the DELL logo appears press F12 this will get you into Diagnostics where you can test the display. If it is a malware problem it will go way while in diagnostics, if it is a hardware problem it will stay.

I don't know if all Dells have diagnostics built into BIOS, but that sounds like the best suggestion I've seen on this thread. Another good suggestion is running a Linux demo CD. If both of those work fine, then I would consider that proof Windows has been infected.

48 posted on 10/22/2012 2:01:16 PM PDT by TexasRepublic (Socialism is the gospel of envy and the religion of thieves)
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