Instructables

Laptop problem: "Appropriate permissions"? (Edit: Gave up on DIY approach)


#1 son has done "something" to his laptop (Sony Vaio VGN-FE31Z). 

No matter what software he tries to start directly, he gets the message:

"Windows cannot access the specified device, path, or file. You may not have the appropriate permissions to access the item."

However, if he goes to "My Documents" and opens an existing document, the software opens fine, and if I type a link to a word document, then hit "Ctrl+click" the Safari browser starts up, but runs incredibly slowly.

Is there a way I can fix this myself?

There are no documents that need rescuing, but it would be nice if the software survived the fix.

EDIT: Since the general consensus is that he's gone and infected it with something, I think I'll take the laptop to be flushed and started over.  Thanks everybody for the help, but no "best" this time.

FURTHER EDIT: The tech that fixed the computer for me stopped counting at 400 viruses and 40 trojans.  It turned out that two pieces of anti-virus software were spending more time fighting each other than doing their actual job.  Whole system flushed, and Avast installed.


jj.inc2 years ago
Would your son happen to be a teenager, because if he is I know exactly what happened
Kiteman (author)  jj.inc2 years ago
Did you see the "further edit" in the question?
jj.inc Kiteman2 years ago
Yes, I did see that you had it fixed. I just wanted to know if your son was a teenager as a joking question about inappropriate computer use and getting the viruses.
Kiteman (author)  jj.inc2 years ago
That was the first thing we accused him of - he turned out to be innocent.
jj.inc Kiteman2 years ago
lol
A real tech can usually but no always clean up a machine without reinventing the wheel. If he is the only user with issues, I would create a new profile and copy just the data files (NOT THE WHOLE PROFILE) and see what happens. Run a registry cleaner in the safe mode. to see if there are any issues with the system itself. Glad I do not use Microsoft products any more. Even on my linux boxes I do not run as admin except as a rare occasion. Running as admin only temps fate.
Press F8 at boot up screen, Choose to boot into safe mode. When you get to the log in screen there should be an account titled Administrator and There shouldn't be a password by default.

From within the Administrator account you should be able to fix the issue by either giving administrative rights to your sons user account or by deleting it and creating a new one and giving administrative rights.

This is all done under Control Panel/Users.

If this doesn't work Repair/ReInstall Windows or you can always install a linux distro and avoid the windows headache.

Anyhow, I hope this helps.
I wouldn't recommend that, and here is why.

most (but sadly not all) of your malware can be avoided by using a limited account rather than an administrative account, because the limited account won't have the right to install the software in the first place.

Instead, create an administrative account and password protect it so that if something tries to install itself you will be warned because it is going to prompt you for a password, Then you will want to create a limited account for each person that uses the computer, this way everyone has their own space and can set up their desktop the way they like it.

It is up to you if you want everyone to have access to the admin account or not.

For the rest, get yourself a good anti-malware program to prevent/remove anything else that rears its ugly head. There are lots of choices, some are free and some cost $. Find one you like.
I run my admin account all the time, I haven't had a lick of trouble. Basically it is because I don't wan't to have to enter my name and pass to run every single program. I just avoid IE and I am fine. I use free virus, malware, and spyware software and I have a great time. May I recommend Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware, SUPERAntiSpyware, and Avira AntiVir.
+1

This is a good practice. :)
Err yeah. didn't think about that... was only thinking access haha
I'm guessing you have access to another machine. and presuming you don't have the machines "Networked". I'm also assuming a certain "Non Expert User Status" and a "Back To Basics" approach which should pick up most problems.

I'd recommend using a DIFFERENT antivirus package, they all have slightly different detection algorithms and if something has snuck around the back of the one you normally use, then a different one might pick it up.

I use "Avast"
http://www.avast.com/free-antivirus-download
which seems very good considering that you don't actually have to pay for it.

Another tool that you might find useful is "Ccleaner" from "Piriform"
http://www.piriform.com/

It is very good at cleaning out the "C**p" that accumulates and it even has a nice little application that will fix registry errors, (which I think is ultimately where your problem lies), you probably don't want to mess around in the registry without a tool like that.

I THINK you should be able to install both applications to CD or other removable media so that you can get a "clean install" on a separate machine and run it directly on the affected machine.

Run the Antivirus first (obviously) and then see what Ccleaner picks up.

Hope that helps
Kiteman (author)  Dream Dragon2 years ago
Thanks, I'll try that.
Run Ccleaner before installing the next antivirus software. You can also look at Comodo... I like it better than Avast. (They're both free)

Also, if you can't install a program, look for a operating system called Knoppix. You can burn it to a CD, boot from the CD, and run their free antivirus program. It's a good method when nothing else works. ;)
I was assuming that the original poster did not actually WANT to change operating systems. If that was the case it would be a relatively easy prospect to format the hard drive and do a fresh install of Windows.

There's little point running Ccleaner (or any other registry tool) if you have an active virus in the system. First priority has to be to deactivate the malicious program, and then eliminate all trace using Ccleaner, or another similar package.

There's a wide selection of free antivirus packages and other tools I was just suggesting the ones that I have personal experience of.
No, you don't have to install knoppix. That's the beauty of it... you can run it off the disc. It has a anti-virus program on it already, so if you can't do anything in Windows, boot off of knoppix, run the program, reboot, remove the disc, and the only change made to your computer is that the virus is gone! :)

I'm not disagreeing with you... you are absolutely correct that the registry should be cleaned out. I would suggest cleaning it out before installing a new anti-virus program because even after you uninstall a program, there are still things that it leaves in the registry that can don't play well with other anti-virus programs. (Normally I just go through the registry myself without the help of a program... because I know what I'm doing, it's much more effective, but since most people don't know what they're doing in the registry, Ccleaner is a much better option.)
Lorddrake2 years ago
try this ..

From the menu choose ,
Start,

Control Panel,

Add/Remove Programs,

then on the left side of the Add/Remove programs window you will see Add/Remove Windows components.

Click this and wait a moment, then you can scroll down and locate the IE Enhanced Security component, uncheck it and click next.

Kiteman (author)  Lorddrake2 years ago
Nope, didn't work - as soon as I click "Add/Remove Programs", I get the message again.
that sounds like it is being caused by some sort of malware. I would recommend getting malwarebytes if you don't already have it.

You will more than likely need to boot in safe mode to install it if the malicious software is already present.

feel free to PM me if you need help.
Just plug in your backup drive and restore it to the last known date of functionality.
Re-design2 years ago
Has this computer been connected to the internet lately?  It sounds very much like a virus I picked up somewhere recently.

What makes me think it's a virus is that it affects most or all of you programs.  You will usually get this message on just one program or install.

Download Malewarebytes and scan then do a virus scan.  See if that helps.

You may have to get into safe mode to download and run scanners.

Good luck.
Kiteman (author)  Re-design2 years ago
The internet is about all he used it for...
Burf2 years ago
I presume you're using Win7, so try this:

Open my computer:
> Tools
> Folder Options
> View tab
> Scroll to Use simple file sharing
> Remove the tick in the box and close My Computer
Kiteman (author)  Burf2 years ago
It's WinXP 5.1, but I tried that anyway - no joy.

Thanks anyway.