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Spyware Questions and Answers - Cannot Find C:\WINDOWS\shell.exe Error Message

Kathe writes in with a spyware question

Question:
When we turn the computer on we get an error message that says "cannot find C:\WINDOWS\shell.exe". What is this and how can we fix it?

Answer: It sounds as though you have a virus/spyware infection. There are a few things you can try to fix this. The easiest would be to check your startup items using msconfig and look for anything that references shell.exe. If you find it then uncheck it and reboot your computer.
 
There is a free program that works the same as msconfig but gets into more detail such as checking your registry for startup items. Its called Startup Control Panel and it may be worth trying.
 
If the first two suggestions don't fix the problem then I would do some spyware and virus scans within Safe Mode. You can start with Spybot and AdAware since they are free.
 
Finally you can try another repair utility called SDFix. It will search your system for Trojans and malware and remove them. Download SDFix here.
http://downloads.andymanchesta.com/RemovalTools/SDFix.exe
 
Run the SDFix.exe by double clicking on it.
    
Allow it to install into the default location which should be C:\SDFix
    
Reboot your computer into Safe Mode
    
When you have booted into safe mode, open the C:\SDFix folder and double click RunThis.bat.
    
Type Y to begin the cleanup process.
    
It will then remove any Trojan Services or Registry entries found.
    
Press any key to restart your computer.
    
When your computer restarts the Fixtool will run again and complete the removal process.
 
Once the desktop icons load the SDFix report will open on screen and also save into the SDFix folder as Report.txt.
 
More information on SDFix
http://downloads.andymanchesta.com/RemovalTools/SDFix_ReadMe.htm



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