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This particular problem with downloading sounds like something has inserted itself in the computer system. It's behaving suspiciously like malware.

Whenever I try to download or update software, I immediately get the " has encountered a problem and must close. We are sorry for the inconvenience," error message. For example, I tried to update Ad-Aware; I tried to download a program that would convert iTunes files to a different format. I tried to open a PDF file, etc. - no luck. I use Windows XP Home edition on a Dell desktop. Same problem whether I use Firefox or IE. I see a lot of stuff on Microsoft message boards, but no solution to my problem. Hope you can help. I'm desperate.

In this excerpt from Answercast #25, I look at a computer that is having problems downloading and suggest ways to check that system for malware.

Download and update problems

I believe that what you are looking at is malware. sounds like malware of some sort: something that has basically taken over the downloading portion of what your applications are attempting to do.

It could be a download accelerator, which in general I tend not to like anyway because they do interfere and they don't necessarily give you a lot of bang for the buck.

Clean your system

In a case like this, be it malicious or otherwise, clearly something has inserted itself into the downloading process and is causing trouble. I would start by running what Microsoft used to call the System Standalone Sweeper, now called Windows Defender Offline.

What that is, is a downloadable disk image that you can burn to a CD and boot from. It will run Microsoft Security Essentials, or the equivalent, from the CD without your system having to have been booted from the hard disk. That allows it to potentially clean up portions of the system that are infected but are otherwise inaccessible while the system is running. That's where I'd start.

I'd also run Malwarebytes on that system.

Virus and malware scan

Normally, I would say you should be running an up-to-date anti-malware scan, but clearly this tool is interfering with your ability to download updates to Ad-Aware. That's part of what makes me think that this is malware of some sort.

  • I would approach it as malware.

Try running the Windows Defender Offline, then Malwarebytes. Once you have your system fixed up enough that it will successfully do a download, then update your anti-malware tools and run up-to-date scans.

Next from Answercast #25 – Can Hotmail let me switch between accounts?

Article C5445 - June 11, 2012 « »

Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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1 Comment
June 12, 2012 2:09 PM

Try running any anti-malware apps in Safe Mode. That usually works bu5t not always.

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