CATEGORY: Windows 7

Steam is having trouble connecting to the Steam servers.

If you use Steam and  suddenly find yourself unable to connect receiving the error “Steam is having trouble connecting to the Steam servers.”, check and see if you have Peerblock installed and running. I wasted a lot of time trying to figure out why the connections wouldn’t go through and finally went through apps running in the background one by one, until I closed Peerblock and discovered Steam suddenly started working. If you would like to continue to use Steam while Peerblock is open, follow these instructions for a workaround:

1. Start PeerBlock
2. Click List Manager
3. Click Add
4. Put something in the description like steam-allow
5. click add url and paste this: “http://list.iblocklist.com/?list=steam” (no quotes)
6. Choose type: allow
7. Click Ok then close the List Manager.

This will download a list that adds exceptions for Steam and should let you connect with no issues.

How to remove win64/sirefef.AE trojan & c:\windows\system32\services.exe win64 patched b.gen trojan

I’m kind of the default “go to” guy for all PC issues with friends and family. One of the most common problems people bring to me is malware. Going forward, I’m going to document the removal process for some of the more difficult ones I encounter.

The most difficult trojan I’ve encountered thus far is the sirefef.AE trojan. It infects the PC by replacing c:\windows\system32\services.exe which is pretty ingenious in that it’s extremely difficult to remove since Windows requires it and it’s always in use which keeps the antiviruses and applications from being able to remove it.

I just spent a few days battling this one and successfully cleaned it off the system.

To remove it:

  1. Run the ESET Online Scanner (http://www.eset.com/us/online-scanner/). Have it scan archives and let it remove whatever it finds.Side note: If you use Norton or McAfee for antivirus protection, now’s a good time to dump them for an antivirus that actually works and doesn’t hog resources: http://go.eset.com/r/7NQZN
  2. Run ComboFix (http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/combofix/how-to-use-combofix) in safe mode. It will find and remove some of the trojans already downloaded. Instructions are on the bleepingcomputer page on how to use it but for the most part it’s mostly automated.
  3. Download and install MalwareBytes (http://majorgeeks.com/download.php?det=5756). The free version will suffice. Run a full system scan and remove whatever it finds.
  4. You will need a Recovery Disc from Windows 7 for the next step. Make one on a non-infected computer if you don’t have one already.
  5. Download Farbar Recovery Scan Tool x64 (http://download.bleepingcomputer.com/farbar/FRST64.exe) and save to a flash drive.

Enter System Recovery Options.

To enter System Recovery Options from the Advanced Boot Options:

  • Restart the computer.
  • As soon as the BIOS is loaded begin tapping the F8 key until Advanced Boot Options appears.
  • Use the arrow keys to select the Repair your computer menu item.
  • Select US as the keyboard language settings, and then click Next.
  • Select the operating system you want to repair, and then click Next.
  • Select your user account an click Next.

To enter System Recovery Options by using Windows installation disc:

  • Insert the installation disc.
  • Restart your computer.
  • If prompted, press any key to start Windows from the installation disc. If your computer is not configured to start from a CD or DVD, check your BIOS settings.
  • Click Repair your computer.
  • Select US as the keyboard language settings, and then click Next.
  • Select the operating system you want to repair, and then click Next.
  • Select your user account and click Next.

On the System Recovery Options menu you will get the following options:Startup Repair System Restore Windows Complete PC Restore Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool Command Prompt

TrustedInstaller.EXE CPU Usage

Solution 1: Clear Problem History

The following fix is intended for situations where trustedinstaller.exe causes problems due to the Problem Reports and Solutions history maintained in Windows Vista.

  1. Go to Start and then select Control Panel.
  2. Turn on Classic View.
  3. Select Problem Reports and Solutions.
  4. Click Clear Solution and Problem History in the left panel.
  5. Confirm your decision.
  6. Exit the Problems Reports and Solutions Window and Control Panel.

You can also click Change in the Problems Reports and Solutions Window. And then change the configuration from Check for solutions automatically setting to Ask me to check if a problem occurs.

Solution 2: Change Microsoft Update Startup Settings to Manual

  1. Go to Start and then select Control Panel.
  2. Select Administrative Tools and then select Services.
  3. Scroll down to Microsoft Update, right-click on it and then select Stop.
  4. Right-click on Microsoft Update again and select Properties.
  5. On the General tab, set Startup type as Manual.
  6. Next, display the Recovery tab.
  7. Choose Take No Action and click OK for First Failure.
  8. Exit the properties dialog box.
  9. Bring up your Task Manager by pressing on Ctrl + Alt  + Del or Ctrl + Shift + Esc.
  10. On the Processes tab, look for and select trustedinstaller.exe.
  11. Click End process to kill trustedinstaller.exe.

Solution 3: Disable Automatic Update

  1. Go to Start and then select Control Panel.
  2. Go to System and Maintenance.
  3. Click Turn automatic update on or off option.
  4. Next, depending on your preference choose one of the following options:
    • Never check for updates (not recommended)
    • Check for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them
    • Download updates but let me choose whether to install them
  5. Click OK to save your changes and exit the dialog box.

Solution 4: Stop the Windows Module Installer That Runs Trustedinstaller.exe

  1. Click on Start, in the Start Search box, type msconfig and then press Enter.
  2. Click Continue when User Account Control prompt is displayed.
  3. In the System Configuration window that is displayed, open the Services tab.
  4. Locate and clear the Windows Module Installer check box.
  5. Click OK save your changes and exit the dialog box.
  6. Next, open Services window again and change the Startup type of Windows Module Installer to Manual.

Kill Multiple Processes at Once Via Command Line with Taskkill

Ever have a program or process that doesn’t end properly and runs in the background continuously?

I recently encountered this issue with VLC on one Windows 7 machine where it keeps the process never terminates. Since I never reboot the machine for other than Windows Updates, this amounted to 633 copies of VLC running in memory. Each process only used about 633k so it wasn’t an astronomical memory hog but multiply that by 633, you begin to feel the machine slowing down. Task Manager doesn’t let you kill multiple processes in bulk and I didn’t want to go through killing them one by one or rebooting.

The solution? Good old command line. Open up command prompt (start -> run -> cmd.exe). This snippet will kill all processes that start with the taskname:

To kill all VLC processes, you’d use:

All running VLC processes will be terminated automatically.

‘Windows XP Mode’ could not be started because there are not enough system resources or memory in your computer. You can shut down other virtual machines or close open applications and try again.

If you’re running Windows 7 and try to install Windows XP mode, you might run into the error “‘Windows XP Mode’ could not be started because there are not enough system resources or memory in your computer. You can shut down other virtual machines or close open applications and try again.”

You’ll need to find the app causing the problem. You can use msinfo to figure out which apps are resource intensive.

  1. Click Start, click Run, type msinfo32 in the Open box, and then click OK.
  2. Expand Software Environment, and then click Running Tasks.
  3. View the values in the Min Working Set and the Max Working Set columns for each process to determine the process that uses a lot of physical memory.

Actual Cause

In my case, I discovered Stardock Tiles and Virtual PC are not compatible. Kill the Tiles process and you’ll be able to run Virtual PC. You can run Stardock Tiles after loading up Virtual PC though.

Update 3-23-12

A few people (Thanks Tom!) have commented on the issue and have pointed out for them that Google’s CrashHandler process also interferes with Virtual PC. You can either kill it through task manager or disable it completely by doing the following:

Disable Google Crashhandler1. Open Google Chrome

2. Go to File Menu >Options

3. Click the tab Under The Hood, and uncheck the option which says – Help Google Chrome better by automatically sending the usage statistics and crash reports to google

4. click Close, after doing as un checking this option you will not see GoogleCrashHandler.exe running again.

Did you know…?

Windows 7 sports tons of new features and surprises that have gotten little to no fanfare.

Did Windows 7 Calculatoryou know that Microsoft has updated the Windows Calculator with Windows 7 with some really new and useful features? Previously, most of these features often required you to open Excel or use some website to solve the problems they address. The calculator sports new features including Unit Conversion, Date Calculation, Mortgage, Vehicle Lease, Fuel Economy (in both MPG and KM no less!) You can find the different options under the View menu after opening the calculator up. See screenshots below for examples of what the calculator can do.


Standard Mode Calculator HistoryUnit CalculatorWindows 7 Date CalculatorLease CalculatorFuel CalculatorMortgage Calculator

IIS install freezes when installing Windows 7

If you’re installing IIS with Windows 7, you may find that the IIS (Internet Information Services) installation hangs while the progress bar indicates 100%. The menu displays: “Please wait while Windows makes changes to features. This might take several minutes.” and appears to do nothing.

The solution? Disable ESET antivirus and try again. I’ve found that it seems to conflict with the trustedinstaller which causes the lockup issue. It might be the same with other anti-viruses as well.

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