Windows 8 Lost my tiles + a Firefox issue

Discussion in 'Desktop Customization' started by Black Kat, Dec 30, 2012.

  1. Black Kat

    Black Kat New Member

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    Hi all
    New to this forum plus Win 8, so bear with me. I have Win 7 on my desktop which I use most of the time, but just got a nice new Asus S56C notebook with Win 8 installed. After eventually figuring out how to revert to the Win 7 desktop I've spent most of my time there, despite the system continually flinging me back into the Win 8 Start screen. I'd managed to get both PCs networked & installed Firefox with a backup from my Win7 machine (using MozBackup) if that makes sense. In other words not a fully clean version.

    All was fine until I started it up this morning (from a full shut down, not Sleep) to find that the Win 8 Start screen had lost almost all its tiles bar the Desktop, Store & PC config tiles. And then when I went to open Firefox it came up with the "Firefox is already running..... you must first close it or restart..." msg. Ok I thought - so fired up Task Manager to shut it down only to find no trace of it anywhere. Numerous retries & a fresh installation haven't solved the problem. It also wouldn't let me uninstall it out of Programs saying that the program was already uninstalled.

    The only possible connection I'm wondering about with this, is that I set it up using my Guest WiFi network but then last night had to switch to my main network in order to connect the 2 PCs - is that likely to have anything to do with it?? Otherwise I can't figure anything I could have done to cause the problem.

    Apologies - I know it's a bit confusing having to fix 2 totally different problems but hope perhaps someone will have some ideas - the Firefox one being the more improtant.

    If all else fails I'll just revert to factory settings (if that's even possible) and reset the thing completely but would rather not as it's a review machine.

    Thanks.
     
  2. kemical

    kemical Windows Forum Admin
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    Hi Kat,

    you could try system restore and see if you can go back to a point before the corruption. Also just to rule it out if anything, have you run a virus scan?
    Try malwarebytes, excellent search and destroy:
    Malwarebytes : Free anti-malware download
     
  3. AceInfinity

    AceInfinity Senior Member
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    Another module that is used by Firefox might have been running.

    Did you uninstall any of the programs that say they were already uninstalled? Are they still on your filesystem? How are you attempting to uninstall? Things might have been left behind from an improper uninstall. Which is why you see it as an entry but can't uninstall it any further.

    To me this almost sounds like the work of something malicious on your system though, so I would second trying a scan. Aside from all of the viruses that target for information retrieval, this sounds like something that would fit into the category of a destructive virus, which you don't see as often anymore, but they still exist.

    I can't see why Firefox would try to hide itself though unless this process was the core of the virus itself, but if you downloaded from the Mozilla website this shouldn't be the case unless the virus injected part of it's malicious functionality into the Firefox process by random choice... If you can't see it in task manager, and this happens to be the work of the virus itself, then this would categorize as an advanced virus, as it's got a hook on the module or function called by task manager to enumerate running processes on your system. Before we get too far though, that would be by stretch of imagination at this point in time without further proof to support this theory. So i'll stick with the simple assumption for now.

    1) Run a virus scan
    2) Try running system file checker in an elevated command prompt
    Code:
    sfc /scannow
    We'll see where that takes you for now.

    edit: Btw, what exists in your startup folder? This is where most of your pinned tiles should be seen as shortcuts. If there is stuff in there that you cannot see in the tileview, then some kind of corruption is a possibility here.
     
    #3 AceInfinity, Dec 30, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 30, 2012
  4. davehc

    davehc Microsoft MVP
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    The limited start screen which you refer to, is normal for an unactivated product. This would not occur naturally, as the key is entered before installation. But, are you sure you have a full RTM Windows 8? The issue you are describing, is mostly confined to the early public releases, which eventually expire.
    Probably not relevant, but why did you go to those lengths to install Firefox? It is free to download and install from original sources.
     
  5. Black Kat

    Black Kat New Member

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    Hi guys
    Wow - lots to think about from all your responses & thanks for jumping in to help.

    On the Virus concept, the laptop's brand new & came with McAfee which I updated immediately, and it says the PC is secure & scans show no viruses etc, so maybe nothing from that source. There's nothing additional in my Start Folder other than the Admin tiles & the 2 programs I've installed (Firefox & BatteryBar).

    The copy of Win 8 was a full copy which came with the machine and I had to then fully install it at the first startup, so can't see it being a problem copy.

    Finally - yes, my stupidity maybe was in not just doing a fresh copy of Firefox but I was trying to have it in a similar state to the copy on my desktop hence using MozBackup to get the extensions etc added in quicker. I have since managed to get a fresh copy finally installed so that problem's solved, but not the Win8 one which seems to go from bad to worse. I'm now having problems getting File Explorer to open - wouldn't do so from the taskbar - I had to create a new folder on the desktop & then use that to get it to open up.

    SO part of me is at a point where I think I might just reset the whole thing anyway, since there's nothing on it yet of any major value but if I can hold off on that I'd be happy as I've no idea whether I can indeed get the OS reinstalled given I've no discs or keys etc to use.

    Thanks again BK.
     
  6. AceInfinity

    AceInfinity Senior Member
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    Just a little note on McAfee as well - It isn't the greatest at all. It's probably more of a deadweight than an asset to computer security for you. It's not regarded as a great program period, however MalwareBytes on the other hand is one of those programs that has become fairly reputable out there as a scanner. For real time protection, I haven't had any issues with MSE, or in this case if you are running Windows 8, "Windows Defender". Even if there were viruses on your PC, I can't guarantee that McAfee would find a fraction of them if any.

    Perhaps you learned a valuable lesson then? :) My notes on that, don't ever do that with programs. As a developer, i'm specifically aware to how programs and processes are created and terminated on your system, and even for configurations, there's other parts that you'd probably miss along the way within Registry values and isolated storage locations anyways, among a variety of other things to add to the list of why this is a horrible idea. And I wouldn't recommend porting a copy of the registry over just to make this work either. That's even farther down the hole of stupidity lol.

    Not to say that you are stupid though, as you haven't done that, but I was once left in the shadows with this kind of information too. Admittedly, I also at one point long ago thought the question for why I couldn't just move all my programs over to a new installation, so don't feel so bad. :friendly_wink:

    As File Explorer, you mean an instance of "explorer.exe"? Have you ran system file checker yet to check the integrity of such valuable windows files as this?

    If you don't want to run the full check, you can scan just that particular file with the scanfile flag.

    Open up command prompt and type in "sfc /?" (without quotes) to see what your options are.

    And lastly, don't pull out too much hair from all this grief :) There's always a solution to the problem, that's the way I look at it.

    Cheers
    ~Ace
     
    #6 AceInfinity, Jan 1, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 1, 2013
  7. Black Kat

    Black Kat New Member

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    THanks so much Ace - unfortunately I can't now even access the Command prompt as I can't get the Commands to show (can't remember the shortcut keys ) :(

    Also can't get Win Defender to open - just keeps firing up a box stating it's been turned off & isn't monitoring the system - can't get to the main program to turn it on despite turning McAfee off (do I need to fully uninstall it instead?).
     
    #7 Black Kat, Jan 1, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 1, 2013
  8. AceInfinity

    AceInfinity Senior Member
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    If you have the Windows Key on your keyboard that looks like the Microsoft logo (4 rectangles in the orientation of a Window lol), then you can use the {WinKey} + X combination to pull up a menu that will give you the Command Prompt option as regular or Administrator, otherwise you can open up the tileview and start typing in "CMD" or "Command"... and it will probably give you the option of CMD.exe or Command prompt that way too, in which you would right click and choose to run as admin at the bottom.

    I would just uninstall McAfee personally, it probably doesn't do hardly anything for your system I can bet you.
     
  9. davehc

    davehc Microsoft MVP
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    By default, The Windows Defender is turned off by the Mcafee installation, You may find something in the Mcafee options, which will allow you to use the Windows product, but I don't think, even on their own site, there is much help. You will have to totally uninstall the product, if you prefer to use Microsoft's Defender. Disabling is a recommendation, but does'nt seem to work for all. It is sometimes needed to do a registry search for any items including Mcafee, and manually delete them. But try the simple uninstall first. reboot and open the action centre, and you should see a warning that Defendedr is not running, and an option to start it. If still, even at that stage, you are unable to start defender, then type Services.msc in the RUN box, and scroll down the list for any left over Mcafee products,double click and disable them. Restart the computer once again and retry through the Action centre.
     
  10. Black Kat

    Black Kat New Member

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    Thanks guys
    Unfortunately I now can't access system commands either as the Win+X key combo no longer brings up the menu, so unless there's another route to the Run command I'm not going to be able to get into my Services.

    Also, when I do manage to actually access Win Explorer, my Favorites folder is missing (the one containing the Downloads/Desktop etc) - the only way I could easily access the Downloads folder was to stick it into the Libraries instead :( - just another glitch - goodness knows how many others there may be lurking that I've yet to find!

    But I have at least now got Win Defender running happily again which I personally prefer as I use MSE on my Win 7 OS :).

    So sort of getting there - I just can't help feeling I've somehow managed to corrupt the Win 8 in some way & that perhaps I should look to reset the system before I get too much further & have far more to lose possibly? I can live without the tiles TBH given I prefer the older desktop style anyhow, but to not be able to easily access some of the more important things is a bit of a pain. :(
     
    #10 Black Kat, Jan 2, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 2, 2013
  11. AceInfinity

    AceInfinity Senior Member
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    WindowsKey + R?

    I'm beginning to think that something is just really screwed up on your computer, unless you have an IT background, and you're willing to spend the time required to fix your PC, perhaps the easiest thing would be just to reformat. I like to weigh things against each other, and more often than not, it's easier to fix the problem, but in this case, that might not be so.
     
  12. kemical

    kemical Windows Forum Admin
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    Agreed.....
     
  13. Black Kat

    Black Kat New Member

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    Think I'd agree too with your assessement Ace as I did a Refresh last night which did manage to restore the Win+X key function & a lot of the icons that had disappeared from the Desktop, but still didn't restore the Win 8 tiles or some of the other minor malfunctions :(

    I'd rather try a reset of some form than a format as being a laptop it didn't come with any discs or even a Win 8 key (although I know how to find the key in the Reg) so I'd not want to leave myself without an OS to reinstall. I've no formal IT background but have used & worked with PC's for over 25 years so am reasonably comfortable messing around with fixes of this type, however, like many (females) I've a sad habit of fixing things until they're more broken than they were to start with :( LOL! I never learn to not play with things until I've figured out how they're supposed to work, which is probably how I got this baby into this mess SO quickly!!

    I'll maybe just check with ASUS first to see what their opinion is too given it's a review machine of theirs anyway, but thanks for helping me not to waste more time than necessary on trying to fix it at this stage.

    Truly have appreciated all your help :)
     
  14. AceInfinity

    AceInfinity Senior Member
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    Haha, well at least you are honest lol. Something seems messed up though, the problems seemed to be scrambled every time you try. There's several restore options available to Windows 8 that you can try. Although, no guarantees that they would work, you don't have much to lose at this point in my opinion.

    Here's a nice link that goes over the steps if you're interested in trying: How to Use the Advanced Startup Options to Fix Your Windows 8 Computer - How-To Geek
     

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