Solutions: Persistent error code may be due to a virus

I've had Microsoft Security Essentials installed on my Dell Inspiron N7010 running Windows 7 for over a year with no problems. Recently I started getting error code saying initialization error "0x80073b01." I repeatedly restored my computer to an earlier version but kept getting the same message. Then I went to my programs to uninstall MSE and got a message "Microsoft Security Client installation wizard can't find files necessary to complete the installation. To install this program please download the installation again from the MSC website." Then if I go to the MSE website and try to download MSE I get the message "MSE installation error. MSE is already installed. Uninstall current version and try installing MSE again." How do I get rid of these error messages? I'm worried my PC is not protected and has some type of virus. I can't run a scan because I can't access MSE. Research online has various remedies pertaining to code "0x80073b01" but so far nothing has worked.

This doesn't sound good, and I suspect that your PC may already be infected with a virus that has altered the MSE Files to prevent uninstall/reinstall. You need to reboot without running Windows (and giving control right back to the virus) by downloading and running the Microsoft Offline Defender. This creates a boot disk on CD, DVD or other media. You can find more details at www.tinyurl.com/TBT01. If it returns a clean scan or finds and fixes issues and you still can't uninstall, go to http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2483120 and follow the manual MSE uninstall procedures.

I have an older HP computer using Windows Vista Home Premium. Every time I go into my email, a message comes up that "an unidentified program wants to access your computer" which is "ssvagent.exe." I need to click on either cancel or allow. I always click on cancel. What is this and can I get rid of it?

Ssvagent.exe is usually part of the Java updater process. It runs as a browser add-on. Since you cancel it each time you don't appear to need it, so from within Internet Explorer, go to Tools, Manage Add-ons. Find and right-click SSVAgent (or it may be under SSVHelper Class) and then select Disable. If there is nothing there similar to these names, go to Control Panel, Add/Remove programs. Find Java and double-click it to uninstall. If it is still not found, update your antivirus and run a full scan. I would also recommend downloading and installing MalwareBytes AntiMalware from www.tinyurl.com/2fwj868. This will immediately initiate the download sequence (asking if you want to download or run, choose Run). You will not see a Web page. The file downloaded will be a randomly generated name, but it is the free version of AntiMalware (uncheck the offer for AntiMalware Pro when it is offered). The random name is used to fool any resident virus that may be looking to intercept a download of the known name. Follow the installation instructions.

Send questions to personaltech@tampabay.com or Personal Tech, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Questions are answered only in this column.

Solutions: Persistent error code may be due to a virus 10/04/13 [Last modified: Friday, October 11, 2013 8:46pm]

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