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browsers won't launch, plus lots of others

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Starting on Friday the 13th, I've been having a lot of trouble. I suspect a virus.

The first problem I noticed was with Firefox, my default browser. It would not launch. When I look in Task Manager only about 8000kb loads into memory and then it chokes. Sometimes if I reboot I can get Firefox to open. But if I click the wrong thing it hangs or freezes. Once that happens Firefox is "tainted" somehow and it gets stuck at around 8000kb no matter what I try.

Once this happens I can't get my back-up browsers (Chrome, Opera, etc.) to launch either. While struggling with that I found that I couldn't read a PDF nor could I launch MS Word. I haven't tried every single program but since the ones I use every day are crippled I'm essentially out of commission.

I regular use Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Home Premium, plus Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit Premium. I also have Webroot Secure Anywhere as my anti-virus protection. Since this problem I have run Rkill, Spybot Search & Destroy, SUPER Anti-Spyware, Kaspersky TDSSkiller, Kotver remover, Farbar, and maybe some others I've forgotten. I have scanned multiple times and have found some supposedly malicious files. But after deleting them the problem persists. In other words, I've tried everything and after 6 days I'm at the end of my rope.

I guessed that my .EXE file associations may be corrupted by the virus so I used a fix from Doug's Windows Tweaks & Tips. It seems to restore the registry and things work for a little while. Then Firefox freezes and I have to reboot and start over.

The thing that seems to cause the freeze is opening a new tab. Also, if I click a hyperlink in an email Firefox will crash. Copying and pasting the URL seems to be okay, but clicking the link isn't. I hope that's a clue. I use Roboform with my browsers but other than that there's nothing fancy added.

I'm attaching my Malwarebytes log as well as the two files generated by Farbar.

Any ideas?

Thanks in advance!




Malwarebytes log.txt

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On 10/18/2017 at 3:15 PM, DaveBurd said:

Sorry, I forgot to mention I'm running Windows XP SP3. Some of the fixes that have been recommended such as AdwCleaner and ComboFix would not install under XP.

Your not alone with this issue. I'm having the same problem. Running windows xp sp3. Have run all of the detection tools as suggested by the MWB team. Still have the problem. 


Edited by 1PJohn
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I posted on Webroot's forum and they actually helped me. I had to do all kinds of scans and then upload a huge file of logs. By analyzing the logs, Webroot found there was no virus infection. They said the logs indicated a failing hard drive. I'm in the process now of putting in a new hard drive and copying over all my files from the old one. It's a major project but it looks like it will work. I recommend you try Webroot and see if you get the same diagnosis.

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  • 2 weeks later...
52 minutes ago, PHRED said:

The only way I can get firefox to launch and work correctly is to open taskmaster and end "mabe-svc.exe". 

There is a new version.

Let us get a clean install of the current version.

We have another tool called MB-Clean which will automate the whole process for you.

 Tool can be found at https://downloads.malwarebytes.com/file/mb_clean

1. After downloading the tool run the tool.

2. The tool will automatically clean up the older possibly damaged installation and will ask you for a restart.

3. Restart your system and then the MB-Clean tool will prompt you to re-install the latest product .

4. Click on "Yes" to reinstall MB 3.×.

5. Now you will have the latest product installed. If it does not offer the new install after the reboot you can download and install from here. 



Please let me know if you are still seeing issues after the latest product install.


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  • 1 month later...

I just found this reply. Sorry for the delay.

A fresh install of Malwarebytes sounds like a nice idea, but as I mentioned above I have already installed a fresh hard drive. And I'm still having Firefox crashes from which I cannot recover.

Once the crash occurs I cannot restart Firefox, nor can I open MS Word, Abode Acrobat Reader, and any number of programs. The crash prevents anything else from happening. (Curiously, Outlook Express still continues to work.) The only way I have been able to get back in business is by rebooting.

Next time, I'm going to try Phred's method of killing the mabe-svc.exe process. If that is successful then the whole problem has been Malwarebytes all along and I spent weeks installing a new hard drive for nothing.


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42 minutes ago, DaveBurd said:

I just found this reply. Sorry for the delay.

Let's try and get some logs first so the team can review them and see if they can tell what may be causing your issues....

  1. FIRST: Create and obtain Farbar Recovery Scan Tool (FRST) logs
  2. Download FRST and save it to your desktop. Tell any program that blocks it to ignore or allow. It IS SAFE. It contains no info that can identify or harm you.
  3. NOTE: You need to run the version compatible with your system. You can check here if you're not sure if your computer is 32-bit or 64-bit
  4. Double-click to run FRST and when the tool opens click "Yes" to the disclaimer
  5. Press the "Scan" button
  6. This will produce two files in the same location (directory) as FRST: FRST.txt and Addition.txt
    NOTE: These two files will be collected by the MB-Check Tool and added to the zip file for you
  7. NEXT: Create and obtain an mb-check log
  8. Download MB-Check and save to your desktop
  9. Double-click to run MB-Check and within a few second the command window will open, then click "OK"
  10. This will produce one log file on your desktop: mb-check-results.zip
  11. Attach this file to your forum post by clicking on the "Drag files here to attach, or choose files..." or simply drag the file to the attachment area


Edited by Porthos
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Okay, I followed the recommendation by Porthos: cleaning out all traces of Malwarebytes and reinstalling the program. So far, so good. I'll see if the problem comes back. It doesn't happen every time so it may be a while before I can post a follow-up.

Sometimes the crash occurs when I click a link in an email to open a browser. I've been copying and pasting links lately to avoid that but I'll go back to clicking and see what happens.

Fingers crossed!



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Well, that didn't take long at all. The issue re-occurred this morning, just minutes after I booted up. Firefox crashed and would not re-launch. By looking at Task Manager I can see that a tiny bit of it loaded into memory (about 7,000kb) and then it got "stuck." Once that happens, Firefox will never run again, nor can I launch many other programs. Something is choking them, preventing them from loading.

This is the same problem that started in October and finally resulted in me putting in a new hard disk and tediously installing all my software from scratch.

By the way, I tried Phred's method of killing the Malwarebytes process but it can't be killed. On my system it's MBAMService.exe rather than  mabe-svc.exe. Maybe that's why.

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