Windows Live Messenger Could Not Load

Windows Live Messenger

I just had the opportunity to have a look at a PC running Windows 7 that could not open a jpg file and Windows Live Messenger could not load. On closer inspection of the system, here’s what I found:

1. The folder ‘Windows Photo Viewer’ had been renamed with the number 211 added to the front of it and thus became ‘211Windows Photo Viewer’. This explained why jpg file could not be opened.

2. On creating a new folder on the root of D: drive, explorer gave the name ‘New Folder (2)’ whereas there was no folder with the name ‘New Folder’ on it. Executing DIR command at DOS prompt revealed that there was in fact a directory named ‘New Folder’. But in the explorer window a folder with the name ‘My Pictures’ was shown instead and not ‘New Folder’. I created a new folder in explorer, named it Pictures and copied all the files in ‘My Pictures’ into the newly created folder. Then in the DOS prompt, I deleted the ‘New Folder’ directory with the DEL command. After which, I tried creating a new folder in the explorer window. This time explorer gave the name ‘New Folder’, which was the norm.

3. Outlook Express seemed to be running OK.

4. The Antivirus license had just expired. I converted it to free version, updated it and did a full scan on the system drive, that was the C: drive. Nothing positive found. It could be that the antivirus had no knowledge of the malware (newly released malware) or that it could had been compromised.

Next, I backed-up all the necessary data of Windows Live Messenger, Outlook Express, plus some others. I then did a system refresh from a mirror backup image that I had done months earlier immediately after installing Windows 7 and the required applications. Upon completion and reboot, I ran Windows Update and rebooted again. Windows Live Essentials installed without any problem after the reboot. As if I was looking for a second opinion, I installed the free version of Avira antivirus program. A different antivirus program than previously installed and a temporary measure for just a few days. I then copied the backed-up data over to its appropriate places.

Jpg file could be opened and Windows Live Messenger loaded upon first reboot after Windows Live Essentials installation. Signing-in was successful too. I thought the problem solved. No. On the next subsequent reboot the problem crept up again. Windows Live Messenger did not load. However, jpg file still could be opened. I did not check in the Task Manager whether Windows Live Messenger’s executable file was running or not. That I did not know.

I updated Avira. Since there was no problem with Outlook Express, I scanned all the emails in Windows Live Messenger. I was concentrating on other thing when a sound made by Avira antivirus program distracted me for attention. There was a trojan. I could not remember exactly what was the name but suffice to say it was TR*.lkm. It was the asterisk part that I did not recall upon.

The offending email file was effectively quarantined. It was the one and only infected file. Windows Live Messenger was easily repaired through the menu that came up when I tried to uninstall Windows Live Essentials. All Windows protected files were given a thorough check for their integrity by Windows System File Checker tool through the usage of Glary Utilities. The system was then rebooted. I felt relieved when Windows Live Messenger loaded and was able to sign-in. But the real test was on the next reboot. I closed Windows Live Messenger, rebooted the PC and finally it loaded again without any hiccups.

Problem solved.