Monday, January 23, 2012

Windows 7 stackhash_26c1 Error - Internet Explorer 9 not Loading

I had a user that called me with a problem that Internet Explorer 9 on Windows 7 was crashing immediately after loading with a "stackhash_26c1" error. I thought a quick workaround would be to just use Chrome instead of Internet Explorer. Unfortunately, Chrome, Safari and Firefox were all crashing with the same error. I searched the net and found many sites talking about similar errors and many different solutions. Some said to reset the security settings for the browser, some said MalwareBytes and various other malware cleaners and some said I had to disable DEP. Unfortunately, none of these solutions worked for me. I was down to my last option before a reinstall of Windows and went out to see if the latest version of Hitman would fix the problem:

Hitman 3.6 -

I had already tried Hitman 3.5 and it didn't work. I've had a lot of luck in the past with difficult to clean rootkits, etc. using Hitman so I figured I would check the website to see if there was a newer version. Sure enough, Hitman 3.6 was out so I downloaded it and gave it a shot. It found the problem right off and cleaned the rootkit after a reboot of the PC. Everything worked great after that and the user couldn't be happier.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


I recently had a computer stop booting to Windows with the following "blue screen of death" error:


After searching the web I found a great blog post that explained a quick way to solve the problem. In my case it seems the MBR (Master Boot Record) got corrupted somehow.
  1. Start the recovery console by placing the Windows XP CD in the CD Drive and booting to the CD instead of the hard drive.
  2. When you get to the "C:" prompt type the following command and hit ENTER:
    chkdsk c: /r /p
  3. You might have to wait a while after running the command in step 2. I let the computer run overnight and when I came back in the morning I was back to the "C:" prompt. Now type the following command and hit ENTER:
  4. This command ran pretty quickly so it didn't take long at all before I was ready to exit and see if it worked. Just type the following command and hit ENTER to exit the recover console:
I was able to reboot back into Windows and everything was working again. I'll update this post again if I notice anything strange but so far so good. I did notice after rebooting it ran through another "check disk" process before opening Windows. However, since that first time it ran "check disk" it hasn't done that again.

Here is the link to the original post I found that helped me solve the problem:

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

XP Home "Access Denied" Error Installing Service Pack 3

I had to fix a machine that was out of date so the first thing I normally do is update XP with all of the latest patches from Microsoft. I noticed the machine I was working on only had service pack 2 so I went ahead and started the install process for service pack 3. Unfortunately, after five to ten minutes a nice vague error that read "Access Denied" popped up. I cancelled the installation process and began searching Google for an answer. I tried a few things until I came across this website:

After going through the process outlined on the website I was able to successfully install service pack 3 and continue updating the machine with all of Microsoft's updates.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Antivirus 2011 Malware Breaking EXE File Association

I had to fix a PC today that was infected with one of those "Antivirus 2011" malware that do annoying things like prevent you from starting the task manager, msconfig, etc. This one also did a new thing that I had not run across before. It changed the file association in the registry for ".exe" files so that they did not run correctly anymore. I usually use "system restore" as a last resort but I had a pretty good feeling it would solve the problem. However, I wanted to see if I could fix it without doing a "system restore". Once I was able to clean the malware from the computer by identifying the software being loaded and deleting it from the hard drive, I focused on repairing the registry so that executable files ran correctly again. I found a great website that has ".reg" files to do just that. Here is the link:

I downloaded the ".reg" file that fixed the ".exe" registry entries, rebooted the PC and everything was back to normal. There are many other ".reg" files available for download on the website.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Lost Windows 7 Password

I had someone bring me a laptop with Windows 7 installed today and he couldn't use the laptop because he had forgotten the password. I didn't think this was a problem until I realized the administrator account password I had originally configured had also been changed. I definitely did not want to re-install Windows so I started searching Google for an answer. I came across a nice free boot disk that allows you to boot into a utility to clear out any password.  Here's the link to the utility and a nice step by step video of resetting a password in Windows 7:

I only tried it on Windows 7 but it is supposed to work on older versions of Windows too.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Unable to Log In to Hotmail

A user of mine was having trouble logging in to Hotmail and at first I wasn't sure why it wasn't working. I cleared the cache and cookies and that didn't solve the problem. I even reset all of the browser settings to see if that helped and the problem continued. Next I ran a scan to see if any malware was causing problems and that didn't solve the problem. Finally, I noticed I didn't see the Microsoft Messenger icon in the system tray. For some reason, Messenger had been removed from the system. I figured it was worth a shot so I went to Microsoft's website and downloaded the latest version of Microsoft Messenger:

After installing Messenger the user reconnected to Hotmail and everything was working perfectly again. I'm not exactly sure why Messenger needed to be installed or needs to be running in the background, but it definitely solved the problem.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

E-Mail Errors Downloading Excel Attachments

Our company e-mail was working great until all of the sudden we started noticing some timeout errors being reported by Outlook and Outlook Express clients. Here is what the error message looked like:

Your server has unexpectedly terminated the connection. Possible causes for this include server problems, network problems, or a long period of inactivity. Account: '****.com', Server: '****.com', Protocol: POP3, Port: 110, Secure(SSL): No, Socket Error: 10053, Error Number: 0x800CCC0F

At first I figured it wasn't a big deal because the next time the user clicked the "send/receive" button it would continue to download e-mail just fine. Then I got a complaint that an e-mail that had a spreadsheet attached wasn't received. After having the sender try multiple times to resend the message it was clear this was a more serious problem because this error was indicating an e-mail wasn't being received rather than just some sort of anomalous network error or timeout error. What was even worse was that the e-mail was being deleted from our hosting server so we didn't even have a backup copy of the message we could view via webmail!

I tried many different configuration settings and nothing was working. Finally, I decided to take a look at my firewall appliance. We are using a SonicWALL firewall appliance and it works great. Unfortunately, I think it downloaded an update that added a small configuration setting to my incoming POP e-mail. In the "Gateway Anti-Virus" configuration screen I had POP3 virus scanning enabled. This was working fine until the following setting appeared "Restrict Transfer of MS-Office type files containing macros (VBA 5 and above)". This was preventing certain Excel spreadsheets and Word documents from being received. Unfortunately, rather than allow the message to come through without an attachment, it was preventing the entire message from coming through at all and causing Outlook to display a strange connection error message. Even worse it was causing the hosting server to delete the message entirely! I decided to remove the POP3 scanning entirely to prevent something like this from happening again.