What a mess! Let's start unravelling all this with some basic questions:
To your best knowledge, is the machine currently fully patched at Windows
Update and had Automatic Updates been enabled and working OK in the past?
Start | Run | (type in) services.msc | OK | Double-click on Automatic
Updates: Is this service Running/Started? Is it configure to Start
automatically? If No to either of these, can you change the setting(s) and
do the changes persist after you've rebooted?
What anti-virus application or security suite is installed? What
anti-spyware applications other than Defender, Spybot, and Spyware Doctor?
What third-party firewall (if any)? Were any of these applications
(including Defender, Spybot Tea Timer, and Spyware Doctor) running in the
background when you installed WinXP SP3?
Was a Norton or McAfee application ever installed on the machine?
Finally, is Spybot Tea Timer (still) enabled?
~Robear Dyer (PA Bear)
MS MVP-IE, Mail, Security, Windows Desktop Experience - since 2002
AumHa VSOP & Admin http://aumha.net
> I have a Dell Inspiron 6400 laptop with Windows XP Professional SP3 and
> starting few days ago I accidentally noticed the following:
> 1. the Automatic Updates feature is not operational. When going into the
> Windows Security Center, I noticed that the Automatic Updates feature is
> turned off. When I clicked on the "Turn on Automatic Updates" tab I get
> following message : "We're sorry.The Security Center could not change your
> Automatic Updates settings. To try changing these settings yourself , go
> System in Control Panel. On the Automatic Updates tab, select Automatic
> (recommended), and then click OK ". Then I went to the System - Automatic
> Updates : I noticed that the "Turn off Automatic Updates" tab is
> checked/ticked and that this tab and all the other tabs [ "Automatic
> (recommended) " , "Download updates for me , but let me choose when to
> install them" and " Notify me but don't automatically download or install
> them" ] are not active - that is the headings of the respective tabs are
> translucent, and therefore I can not check/tick any of the three tabs for
> turning on the automatic updates.
> 2. I tried to do a system restore using several earlier dates but it
> 3. The letters "i" and "l" of the name of files within the folders appear
> with BROWN color.
> I did ful scans using Avast, Spyware Doctor, Spybot Search and Destroy and
> Norton Security Scan but no virus or spyware were detected. I should add
> that so far I managed to successfully download and install mannually all
> the updates using the Microsoft Update web site. Also, a couple of weeks
> ago I started to use Windows Steady State but 3-4 days ago I decided to
> remove it because it takes to much time to do the changes when restarting
> the computer. I also used Systernal Rootkit revealer but nothing
> significant was detected. I would appreciate a solution to my problem.
> Thanks !