Weird popups (Computer problem)

I searched the Sticky and didn’t find anything on this.

My computer recently crashed in a big way, so I reinstalled Windows XP on what used to be a slave drive, now the master (the old master now having been trashed).

It worked OK but with no Internet for about 2 days, then I got my cable modem set up. Before I had a chance to download Firefox, Adaware, and Spy-Bot, I opened IE just to see if I was online. I opened snopes, which has banner ads and popups, then closed it almost immediately.

All of a sudden I got a popup window warning me that my registry was corrupted and that I was about to experience a serious system crash. The title bar says “Messenger Service.” The first line of the message says “Message from SYSTEM to ALERT on [date and time].” Another line says that Microsoft reccomends I take immediate action now. At the bottom of the window is an OK button.

In the heart of the message I am instructed to visit a website to correct the problem. I have gotten these messages probably 30 times in the past couple of hours, and the messages are always different. Some websites they say to visit are:

After having been online for less than 30 minutes and doing the appropriate downloads (Firefox first), Adaware found 17 problems and Spy-Bot found 3. I corrected them, but I’m still getting the popups.

Any ideas?

Well yes, you have a virus and you keep bringing back to life. Reformat everything. Too bad you do not seem to have a backup of your hard drive that isn’t infected . . .

Mods, I did not intend for those links to actually be clickable. Can you fix them for me, pwetty pwease? :frowning:

Serious? I never had this virus before. (Although I don’t yet have McAfee services installed.) I’d hate to lose the data I have, but it wouldn’t be a serious loss. Just maybe 8 gigs of por–er, scientific anatomical vid–er, speadsheets.

Sucks dosen’t it. Next time, I’ve been told . . . only surf with Mozilla.

Download ShootTheMessenger to turn off the Windows Messenger Service:

More info from Wired Magazine

Of course. But on a new installation, how do you surf to the Mozilla site without using IE as your browser?

I don’t think you have a virus but just some malware. Take the advice of Fear Itself and kill the messenger service. I would also update XP to SP2 and use the beta MS Anti Spyware along with AdAware.

Well, on a new installtion you are clean and only have to use it once to get to Mozilla. Or you could attempt to try to clean up your present install as suggested. You can always wipe everything out if that dosen’t work.

Sounds just like the Windows Messnger Service is still active (this is different from the Windows or MSN messenger application - the little head-and-shoulders skittle thing you might have in the tray).

Here’s how to turn it off:

Mangetout has it right - disable messenger service and you’ll stop getting these.

(You should really turn on the firewall BTW - I think it’ll stop these and anything trying to connect to vulnerable ports on your PC)

Si Amigo’s advice is incorrect and unhelpful.

The problem is you still have Messenger Service still on and no firewall activated. Turn the Messenger Service off, or configure a firewall to block use of it, and these spam messages will cease to trouble you.

No virus, adware or malware involved. And using Mozilla, in this case, would make no difference.

On a new installation of XP, I follow a procedure like this:

  • Before even starting, download a software firewall (I like Sygate Personal Firewall) and an antivirus program (I use AVG Free, although it isn’t as effective as some of the paid-for solutions). Burn these two items to a CD.

  • Disconnect the computer from the internet/LAN by physically unplugging the cables.

  • Boot from the XP installation CD, run the install

  • Turn off the Microsoft Windows firewall, install the one you burned to CD

  • Install the AV

  • Reconnect the internet connection and visit the Windows Update page - install all of the available critical updates and drivers (this might entail several reboots and returns to the update page) - stop this cycle only when no more critical updates are suggested. If at all possible, install Service Pack 2 from a CD rather than downloading it.

  • Update the antivirus program.

  • Install any additional software.