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Our system seemed to act strangely beginning in early March. We use ZoneAlarm firewall and it seemed to auotmatically lock on occasion upon log-in, requiring a manual "un-lock" before the internet could be used. I was suspicious there was something trying to get in or out that ZoneAlarm was "catching" and locking the firewall.

To try to detect the problem, I downloaded the latest version of "MalwareBytes" and ran a scan. It found a few issues and I chose to quarantine a few of them, but not all as some looked legitimate to me.

Upon re-booting the next time, everything went bad. A pop-up came up with the windows installer and then it said it was trying to install HPPhotosmartEssential. The system became very sluggish and the hard drive was constantly being accessed. After numerous "Cancels" to the install, it finally stopped trying to install. However, the hard drive continued to be accessed non-stop and the system was very slow. I became very concerned something was going on in the background so I shut the system down.

I tried to re-boot in safe mode and it would not boot, it either hung or gave a disk error suggesting c:\windows\system32\wbem was corrupt or unreadable and chkdsk should be run. I immediately felt I needed to do a system restore back a couple of weeks to clear off the issues. Upon trying to run the restore I received a message that the application failed to start because framedyn.dll was not found and that re-installing the application may fix the problem. At this point I aborted any further work from the standard windows boot process.

I have a wonderful "Windows Ultimate Boot CD" that allows me to boot to WinXP and mount my disks to interrogate. From then on I booted from this CD with a "thin client of WinXP". I tried to open the c:\windows\system32\wbem folder and it stated it was corrupt and unreadable.

To alleviate any potential for further damage I spent the next few days looking at my primary hard drive (c:\) for missing or supicious info. What I almost immediately found was MANY missing photos in "My Pictures" and I became very concerned. I then started looking for software that could interrogate a hard drive and find deleted files. I tried a couple of utilities that gave me nothing hopeful. I then tried "Handy Recovery" and my best wishes came true and the missing file showed up in the listing. I proceeded to recover almost 12 GB of pictures to a backup hard drive! After I finished recovering files with "Handy Recovery", I copied many personal data files to my backup hard drive (f:\).

I then ran the chkdsk utility with the command, "chkdsk c:/r" at which time MANY issues were found and corrected. After the utility finished I looked at my personal data on c:\ again and most if not all of the pictures that were missing were shown again??? I was encouraged at this so tried to open the c:\windows\system32\wbem folder again and it opened. The missing framedyn.dll file was back in the directory.

At this, I became optimistic and re-booted to the standard windows boot on c:\ and tried to run a system restore to March 1, 2010. This time the applicatoin started and I was given the standard interface to choose a date, which I did. I chose Next and it began to do a restore but about 1/3 to 1/2 of the way through the restore (based on the "growing bar") it rapidly filled in the rest of the bar and did the standard re-boot. Upon re-booting and logging in, the system restore dialog popped up and said that the restore failed.

I tried one more time to Feb. 23rd and it failed. I then tried two more times when booting to Windows safe mode and both failed.

At that point I realized I would need more expert advice to avoid having to re-format and re-load everything. That brought me here.
 
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