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Malwarebytes freezes when scanning, hard drive spins constantly

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Good evening,


  A few days ago, I began having a problem where my hard drive on my laptop began spinning constantly, slowing everything down to less than a crawl because some "program" seemed to be running constantly.

  I rebooted the laptop in Safe Mode, and the hard drive seemed to be operating normally, and was no longer running at full speed at all times.


  I loaded Malwarebytes onto the computer to try and find and remove any Malware, but after Malwarebytes is running for a few minutes, it freezes, the hard drive spins constantly, the laptop stops responding, and my only option is to hold down the power button until the laptop shuts down.    I tried to run a few other anti-virus and anti-malware programs either by loading them onto my laptop, or running them from the desktop.  Some run OK and find nothing, some run OK and do find infections which are cleaned/isolated, and other programs freeze just like Malware does.


  At this time, all anti-virus and malware programs have been removed from the laptop except for McAfee, which does not run in Safe Mode.   I have also run Chkdsk.  Chkdsk runs OK if I run it before Windows begins running, and finds no problems.  However, if I try and run Chkdsk after Windows is running in Safe Mode, Chkdsk freezes after a few moments and the hard drive begins spinning constantly.  if I close the Chkdsk window, the hard drive stops running and operates normally.  Below are the the programs I ran and the results.  I've also posted my logs below after running Farbar:


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  • 2 weeks later...
  • Root Admin

Hello and :welcome:

Please read the following and post back the logs when ready and we'll see about getting you cleaned up.

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Before we proceed further, please read all of the following instructions carefully.
If there is anything that you do not understand kindly ask before proceeding.
If needed please print out these instructions.
  • Please do not post logs using CODE, QUOTE, or FONT tags. Just paste them as direct text.
  • If the log is too large then you can use attachments by clicking on the More Reply Options button.
  • Please enable your system to show hidden files: How to see hidden files in Windows
  • Make sure you're subscribed to this topic:
    • Click on the Follow This Topic Button (at the top right of this page), make sure that the Receive notification box is checked and that it is set to Instantly

    [*]Removing malware can be unpredictable...It is unlikely but things can go very wrong! Please make sure you Backup all files that cannot be replaced if something were to happen. You can copy them to a CD/DVD, external drive or a pen drive [*]Please don't run any other scans, download, install or uninstall any programs unless requested by me while I'm working with you. [*]The removal of malware is not instantaneous, please be patient. Often we are also on a different Time Zone. [*]Perform everything in the correct order. Sometimes one step requires the previous one. [*]If you have any problems while following my instructions, Stop there and tell me the exact nature of the issue. [*]You can check here if you're not sure if your computer is 32-bit or 64-bit [*]Please disable your antivirus while running any requested scanners so that they do not interfere with the scanners. [*]When we are done, I'll give you instructions on how to cleanup all the tools and logs [*]Please stick with me until I give you the "all clear" and Please don't waste my time by leaving before that. [*]Your topic will be closed if you haven't replied within 3 days [*](If I have not responded within 24 hours, please send me a Private Message as a reminder)

RKill is a program that was developed at BleepingComputer.com that attempts to terminate known malware processes
so that your normal security software can then run and clean your computer of infections.
When RKill runs it will kill malware processes and then removes incorrect executable associations and fixes policies
that stop us from using certain tools. When finished it will display a log file that shows the processes that were
terminated while the program was running.

As RKill only terminates a program's running process, and does not delete any files, after running it you should not reboot
your computer as any malware processes that are configured to start automatically will just be started again.
Instead, after running RKill you should immediately scan your computer using the requested scans I've included.

Please download Rkill by Grinler from one of the links below and save it to your desktop.

Link 2

  • On Windows XP double-click on the Rkill desktop icon to run the tool.
  • On Windows Vista/Windows 7 or 8, right-click on the Rkill desktop icon and select Run As Administrator
  • A black DOS box will briefly flash and then disappear. This is normal and indicates the tool ran successfully.
  • If not, delete the file, then download and use the one provided in Link 2.
  • If it does not work, repeat the process and attempt to use one of the remaining links until the tool runs.
  • If the tool does not run from any of the links provided, please let me know.
  • Do not reboot the computer, you will need to run the application again.

Backup the Registry:
Modifying the Registry can create unforeseen problems, so it always wise to create a backup before doing so.
  • Please download ERUNT from one of the following links: Link1 | Link2 | Link3
  • ERUNT (Emergency Recovery Utility NT) is a free program that allows you to keep a complete backup of your registry and restore it when needed.
  • Double click on erunt-setup.exe to Install ERUNT by following the prompts.
  • NOTE: Do not choose to allow ERUNT to add an Entry to the Startup folder. Click NO.
  • Start ERUNT either by double clicking on the desktop icon or choosing to start the program at the end of the setup process.
  • Choose a location for the backup.
    • Note: the default location is C:\Windows\ERDNT which is acceptable.

    [*]Make sure that at least the first two check boxes are selected. [*]Click on OK [*]Then click on YES to create the folder. [*]Note: if it is necessary to restore the registry, open the backup folder and start ERDNT.exe

Please run a Threat Scan with MBAM.  If you're unable to run or complete the scan as shown below please see the following:  MBAM Clean Removal Process 2x
When reinstalling the program please try the latest version.

Right click and choose "Run as administrator" to open Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and from the Dashboard please Check for Updates by clicking the Update Now... link
Open up Malwarebytes > Settings > Detection and Protection > Enable Scan for rootkit and Under Non Malware Protection set both PUP and PUM to Treat detections as malware.
Click on the SCAN button and run a Threat Scan with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware by clicking the Scan Now>> button.
Once completed please click on the History > Application Logs and find your scan log and open it and then click on the "copy to clipboard" button and post back the results on your next reply.
Please download RogueKiller and save it to your desktop.

You can check here if you're not sure if your computer is 32-bit or 64-bit

  • RogueKiller 32-bit | RogueKiller 64-bit
  • Quit all running programs.
  • For Windows XP, double-click to start.
  • For Vista,Windows 7/8, Right-click on the program and select Run as Administrator to start and when prompted allow it to run.
  • Read and accept the EULA (End User Licene Agreement)
  • Click Scan to scan the system.
  • When the scan completes Close the program > Don't Fix anything!
  • Don't run any other options, they're not all bad!!
  • Post back the report which should be located on your desktop.

Thank you

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Thanks so much for your reply, Ron. I really appreciate your help with this!  Here's where we stand after I worked through the steps above:


Step 0 - Ran Rkill, according to the log that appears in the black DOS box after it runs, no problems are found.


Step 1 - Completed with no problems.


Step 2 - I set up Malwarebytes as instructed in your post above.  Just as happened before, Malwarebytes freezes a few minutes into the scan, and my laptop's hard drive runs at full speed. My computer locked up, and I had to force the shut down.  I went back and ran the MBAM Clean Removal Process, reinstalled the latest version of Malwarebytes, and the same thing occurred again.  As had happened in the past, normally Malwarebytes freezes about 2:30 after the scan starts, once it gets to one of the SYSTEM 32 folders that begins with the letter M.   I've noticed this in the past...it never freezes on a specific folder, but always on one of the SYSTEM 32 folders that starts with the letter M.   I'm not sure if that's significant or not.


Step 3 - RogueKiller ran with no problems.  The log can be found below.  Note that this forum is not allowing me to copy/paste the logs, so the log is attached below as a .txt file.




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  • Root Admin

Please go ahead and run through the following steps and post back the logs when ready.
Please download Junkware Removal Tool to your desktop.

  • Shutdown your antivirus to avoid any conflicts.
  • Right click over JRT.exe and select Run as administrator on Windows Vista or Windows 7, double-click on XP.
  • The tool will open and start scanning your system.
  • Please be patient as this can take a while to complete.
  • On completion, a log (JRT.txt) is saved to your desktop and will automatically open.
  • Post the contents of JRT.txt into your next reply message
  • When completed make sure to re-enable your antivirus

Lets clean out any adware now: (this will require a reboot so save all your work)

Please download AdwCleaner by Xplode and save to your Desktop.

  • Double click on AdwCleaner.exe to run the tool.
    Vista/Windows 7/8 users right-click and select Run As Administrator
  • Click on the Scan button.
  • AdwCleaner will begin...be patient as the scan may take some time to complete.
  • When it's done you'll see: Pending: Please uncheck elements you don't want removed.
  • Now click on the Report button...a logfile (AdwCleaner[R0].txt) will open in Notepad for review.
  • Look over the log especially under Files/Folders for any program you want to save.
  • If there's a program you may want to save, just uncheck it from AdwCleaner.
  • If you're not sure, post the log for review. (all items found are adware/spyware/foistware)
  • If you're ready to clean it all up.....click the Clean button.
  • After rebooting, a logfile report (AdwCleaner[s0].txt) will open automatically.
  • Copy and paste the contents of that logfile in your next reply.
  • A copy of that logfile will also be saved in the C:\AdwCleaner folder.
  • Items that are deleted are moved to the Quarantine Folder: C:\AdwCleaner\Quarantine
  • To restore an item that has been deleted:
  • Go to Tools > Quarantine Manager > check what you want restored > now click on Restore.

Please open Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and from the Dashboard please Check for Updates by clicking the Update Now... link
Open up Malwarebytes > Settings > Detection and Protection > Enable Scan for rootkits, Under Non Malware Protection set both PUP and PUM to Treat detections as malware.
Click on the SCAN button and run a Threat Scan with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware by clicking the Scan Now>> button. Remove any threats found
Once completed please click on the History > Application Logs and find your scan log and open it and then click on the "copy to clipboard" button and post back the results on your next reply.


Please go here to run the online antivirus scannner from ESET.

  • Turn off the real time scanner of any existing antivirus program while performing the online scan
  • Tick the box next to YES, I accept the Terms of Use.
  • Click Start
  • When asked, allow the activex control to install
  • Click Start
  • Make sure that the option Remove found threats is unticked
  • Click on Advanced Settings and ensure these options are ticked:
    • Scan for potentially unwanted applications
    • Scan for potentially unsafe applications
    • Enable Anti-Stealth Technology

    [*]Click Scan [*]Wait for the scan to finish [*]If any threats were found, click the 'List of found threats' , then click Export to text file.... [*]Save it to your desktop, then please copy and paste that log as a reply to this topic.

Please download the Farbar Recovery Scan Tool and save it to your desktop.

Note: You need to run the version compatibale with your system. You can check here if you're not sure if your computer is 32-bit or 64-bit

  • Double-click to run it. When the tool opens click Yes to disclaimer.
  • Press the Scan button.
  • It will make a log (FRST.txt) in the same directory the tool is run. Please copy and paste it to your reply.
  • The first time the tool is run, it also makes another log (Addition.txt). Please attach it to your reply as well.

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Thanks again for your fast reply!  Here are the results from the additional steps:


Step 4 - Junkware Removal Tool - Each time I right click the JRT.exe icon and try to run as an administrator, a black command prompt box appears on my screen with the title "C:\Windows\sysetm32\cmd.exe" and that's all that happens.  Nothing more.  I deleted this program, downloaded it again and installed it again, same results.  I also tried to run it by simply clicking on the icon, rather than running it as an admin, same result.  Could this be due to the fact that I'm in Safe Mode??


Step 5 - AdwCleaner - I ran this, including cleaning and rebooted, though nothing appeared in the box for me to check or uncheck before I ran the cleaner.  The log is posted/attached below.


Step 6 - Malwarebytes - Same results as before.  Runs for a few minutes, computer freezes solid, hard drive spins constantly.  Must force a shutdown.


Step 7 - ESET Online Scanner - I have tried to run it both ways (enabling and disabling detection of potentially unwanted applications).  In both cases, the ESET Scanner runs for about a minute, then freezes, the hard drive spins constantly.  Once I close the window or hit "stop", the hard drive stops spinning and acts normally.  In this case, ESET froze after less than 1 minute into the scan, 581 files had been scanned and it froze on a file called "C:\config.Msi\38e55bd2.rbf" 


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  • Root Admin

Yes, the box appears to be heavily damaged either from current infection or a previous infection.


For now let me have you run the following. It may take a while to run so let it run. I'll check back on you sometime tomorrow if you post back.


Please visit this webpage and read the ComboFix User's Guide:

  • Once you've read the article and are ready to use the program you can download it directly from the link below.
  • Important! - Please make sure you save combofix to your desktop and do not run it from your browser
  • Direct download link for: ComboFix.exe
  • Please make sure you disable your security applications before running ComboFix.
  • Once Combofix has completed it will produce and open a log file.  Please be patient as it can take some time to load.
  • Please attach that log file to your next reply.
  • If needed the file can be located here:  C:\combofix.txt
  • NOTE: If you receive the message "illegal operation has been attempted on a registry key that has been marked for deletion", just reboot the computer.


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Thanks, Ron.  Note that, when I first started to load Combofix, an error message popped up, telling me it detected McAfee and McAfee realtime scanner.   I went into the Control Panel, Add/Remove Programs and uninstalled McAfee and rebooted.  I then tried to run Combofix again and got the same error message, so I'm not sure if McAfee was completely removed/disabled prior to running it.


I ran Combofix, it ran completely, the log is attached. 


I also tried to run Malwarebytes now that I uninstalled McAfee.  Once again, it got to a SYSTEM32 folder that starts with the letter M, (this time it froze on file "C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\MaxxAudioEQ.dll") and Malwarebytes froze, the hard drive started spinning nonstop, and I had to force restart the laptop


Thanks again for your help and guidance!


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  • Root Admin

Please go into Control Panel, Add/Remove and uninstall ALL versions of Java and then run the following.
Please download JavaRa-1.16 and save it to your computer.

  • Double click to open the zip file and then select all and choose Copy.
  • Create a new folder on your Desktop named RemoveJava and paste the files into this new folder.
  • Quit all browsers and other running applications.
  • Right-click on JavaRa.exe in RemoveJava folder and choose Run as administrator to start the program.
  • From the drop-down menu, choose English and click on Select.
  • JavaRa will open; click on Remove Older Versions to remove the older versions of Java installed on your computer.
  • Click Yes when prompted. When JavaRa is done, a notice will appear that a logfile has been produced. Click OK.
  • A logfile will pop up. Please save it to a convenient location and post it in your next reply.

Please Run TFC by OldTimer to clear temporary files:

  • Download TFC from here and save it to your desktop.
  • http://oldtimer.geekstogo.com/TFC.exe
  • Close any open programs and Internet browsers.
  • Double click TFC.exe to run it on XP (for Vista and Windows 7 right click and choose "Run as administrator") and once it opens click on the Start button on the lower left of the program to allow it to begin cleaning.
  • Please be patient as clearing out temp files may take a while.
  • Once it completes you may be prompted to restart your computer, please do so.
  • Once it's finished you may delete TFC.exe from your desktop or save it for later use for the cleaning of temporary files.

Download and run the following removal tool from McAfee and it should remove all left over elements of McAfee for you.
Then Please run a Full Disk Check on your system drive.  If needed here are some links on how to run a Disk Check.

On Windows 7 the disk check log is in the Event Logs under Application with a heading source of  Wininit

How to Run Disk Check in Windows 7

How to Run Check Disk at Startup in Vista or Windows 7

How to Read the Event Viewer Log for Check Disk (chkdsk) in Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8


When done please locate the disk check entry in the Event Log and copy/paste the results back here.


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All done.  Attached below are the logs you requested from JavaRun and Chkdsk.  


A question for you as well, when I was trying to save the Chkdsk event log, I was trying to copy/paste into Microsoft Word after I launched windows (standard Windows startup, not in Safe Mode).  Each time I try and open Microsoft Word or Excel, I now get an error message saying "This action is only valid for products that are currently installed".  Did we do something that could've removed Word and Excel?



Chkdsk Log.txt


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FYI, after I ran the tests above and posted those 2 logs for you in my previous reply, I got brave and ran ESET Online Scanner in Safe Mode after rebooting.  It ran all the way without stopping this time!  That's the first time ESET has run completely since my laptop became infected!!  That leads me to several questions:


-What should I try next to ensure I'm in the clear?

-Can I now delete all the other programs you had me install and run on my desktop?

-Can I delete their folders from the C drive as well?  If they caught/detected Malware or problems and quarantined them, will my removing those programs from the C drive then release the infected files back onto my PC?

-Once we verify that everything appears to be normal, should I try reloading McAfee and Java and try running the ESET and Malwarebytes?

-As I mentioned in my post above, Word and Excel are giving me error messages (exact message is listed in my post above).  Is it possible I lost those 2 programs and may need to reinstall those?

-In your experience, are there any other programs I've possibly lost because of the programs I ran that I may need to reinstall?


Most of all THANK YOU!  This laptop has been infected for a few weeks now, and if it is indeed back to normal, you're truly a life saver.  I'm not sure if this is a help site run by volunteers or if you're employees of Malwarebyes, but if this is a volunteer site, is there somewhere we can donate to the cause to keep this going for myself and others who may have problems like the one I experienced, in the future?

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  • Root Admin

I am an employee but we allow trained volunteers to assist as well. There is no need for a donation, but thank you very much for the kind offer.


Well the disk check shows that the drive could potentially be failing. Normally disks errors like shown are automatically fixed and marked as non usable by the firmware in the hard drive. In this case its now showing in the OS which is not 100% certain for failure but is a good indicator that it may be failing.

Please see the following link which has all sorts of links and topics for hard drive diagnostics.

I would highly suggest you check and verify if the hard drive is starting to fail or not. Hard Drive Diagnostics Tools and Utilities

Please make sure you Backup all files. If the drive were to fail without warning you may not be able to recover any data on the drive such as images, pictures, videos, email, etc.

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Thanks.  That would be unfortunate, as I just bought this computer in February, 2013. 

For the record, Malwarebyes just ran fully and completely with no problems.   I'll try and check the HDD after backing it up.  Note that I did previously try Memtest 86+.  It ran for more than 47 hours straight without finding any errors or problems.   I also tried SeaTools for DOS, but for some reason it was unable to find my HDD.

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  • Root Admin

The hard drive may need to match the MFG if using a specific tool. The device manager should show the drive model number and you can search to confirm the MFG. The Memtest is only for RAM


The drive may live but as said it's not normal to see that many errors reported and better safe than sorry on a backup.



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