So after three virus scans, AVG Free was able to detect the virus wreaking havoc on my computer.
Thanks to this forum on hardwareanalysis.com for helping me solve this problem. Those guys really are experts on XP and have helped me with two very complicated issues for free.
Norton Antivirus didn’t detect this virus and in fact was disabled by it; Trend Micro’s Housecall did not pick it up, and even AVG Antivirus’ Trial Edition didn’t find it! After a full scan with AVG Trial edition, I uninstalled it after hearing about the Free edition, and the free edition detected it immediately!
The error I got was:
“You have a virus!
C:\System Volume Information\restore_1\lsass.exe
Ignore | Info | Move to Vault | Restore access”
Lsass.exe is a legit process to be running, but only if there’s one copy and it’s in c:\windows\system32. Mine was in System Volume Information, which is impossible to access because it is where XP keeps its restore points. AVG’s undocumented ‘restore access’ button opens up XP’s System Restore preference pane, which allows you to turn off system restore, which (for better or for worse) deletes all system restore points. Doing this fixed my computer.
So the repair install was unnecessary and did not fix my computer, and it’s amazing that norton, trend micro and AVG’s pay edition could not pick up this virus. I guess the best things in life really are free!
Here is the letter I wrote to AVG.
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