Multiple problems obviously. 32 bit Vista Home Premium SP1 laptop.
The laptop will not shutdown normally. It has kept the 'logging off' screen displaying for well over 8 hours before I held down the power button.
Safe Mode does initiate just fine, but when the desktop displays it is all black with 'safe mode' in each corner. No icons. No taskbar. Ctl/Alt/Del will occasionally bring up the blue selection screen where you can select task manager along with lock the computer, etc., but nothing ever happens. Pressing the Windows key +any key (R, F, D) fails to do anything, as does Ctl/Esc or any of the other shortcuts. This all applies to safe mode only. So unless I'm missing something, there's no way to do anything in safe mode.
Normal Mode does work just fine - the taskbar is there, as are the icons. And task manager does work. I just can't update to SP2. And I can't run ComboFix to conclusion. It goes through all 50 stages, but when it gets to "do not run any programs until combofix has finished", it just stays there. I let it sit there overnight the other evening, and it was still on that screen 10 hours later.
I have run a full Malwarebytes scan which found nothing. SFC /scannow detected no integrity violations. A chkdsk /r /f at startup yielded nothing. Pressing F8 at boot will give me the options screen, but when I select Repair Your Computer followed by Startup Repair it says 'Startup Repair could not detect a problem.' TDSSKiller did find 4 questionable problems, all of which seemed meaningless, but I deleted them just the same.
Curiously, it's been sitting on the blue ComboFix screen again for 45 minutes - the one with "do not run any programs until ComboFix has finished". I figured I'd end the task using taskmgr, but the Ctl/alt/del did not work, and Windows +R and entering taskmgr brought up the msg box "Illegal operation attempted on a registry key that has been marked for deletion" Don't know if that's a function related to ComboFix's not wanting me to run anything while it's running, or if it really means what it says. At any rate, when I press and hold the power key it will not effect any changes that CF was attempting to implement.
Oh wait... I stand corrected. Now on a normal boot I get the blue/green Welcome screen, followed by.... nothing. Just a black screen with a mouse pointer. Looks like ComboFix (and me) managed to screw up a bad situation even more.
Bit of an update... I removed the battery and the power cord. After a restart I am, on a normal boot, back with a taskbar, icons, et al.
I had been unable to get SP2 installed through Windows Update (I can't remember the exact problem), so I had downloaded the stand-alone SP2 executable. When I run that, the laptop gives me the msg that it may restart doing the update process, then it brings up the "Install Windows Service Pack" box. The first thing it attempts to do is create a system restore point.
It's been sitting there with this little sliver of green showing the update progress for close to 2 hours. The task spinstall shows 0 CPU and the memory usage is a steady 21,160 K. The application does not say 'Not Responding'. It does indicate that the application is running, but the lack of movement makes me doubt the verbiage.
More info - I cancelled the SP2 update and attempted to manually create a restore point. I cannot. When I go into System Properties and click on the System Protection tab, the System Restore box and the Create box are greyed out. In the Available Data box it says 'Searching'. That has not changed in 10 minutes.