Friday, August 1, 2008

Windows XP security hell !!

I visited my uncle's place last weekend. He has a laptop which his two kids use. Obviously, they primarily use it to play online games. Kids use it so much that some of keys such as up arrow, letter p etc are pretty banged up and you have to hit really hard whenever you need to use it. Coming to the point, when he restarted his laptop, all he was able to see was his desktop. No familiar start button, no icons on desktop. It's just a clean wallpaper. They don't know what to do. Here comes the savior, me, who has no idea what's going on. First thought comes to my mind that why would any operating system would allow an anonymous script/virus/malware/adware to modify system configuration to such an extent. I feel even better that I use Fedora where I exactly know what's being installed. People use Windows because it's easier for people. Tell that to my uncle and kids who can not do anything with their laptop. Here are other things that did not work:
  • Pressing Windows or Ctrl+Esc did not bring Start button
  • Restoring system to few previous dates
  • regedit can not be run. I got "registry editing has been disabled by your administrator"
I first needed to figure out how to enable regedit. I did some browsing on my Fedora laptop. I used Fedora to fix problems on XP. Nice!!

Fortunately, Ctrl+Alt+Delete works. I could run explorer and some other commands. I did:

  1. New Task in Task Manager
  2. Type GPEDIT.MSC and Press Enter
  3. Go to the following location
    • User Configuration
    • Administrative Templates
    • System
  4. In the Settings Window, find the option for "Prevent Access to Registry Editing Tools" and double-click on it to change.
  5. Select Disabled or Not Configured and choose OK
  6. Close the Group Policy Editor and restart your computer

Now that I was able to run regedit, I needed to figure out which registry enabled start button etc. There were many choices which seemed like would do the job. I am a very impatient guys so did not feel like manually enabling those. I resorted back to more searching and found Running this script and restarting it solved the problem. Funny thing is that I could run this script simply by hitting the URL and Selecting Run in IE. Interesting, isn't it?

By the way, has solutions for various XP problems. My appreciation goes to this site.