I’m writing about this problem as it took a while for me to find the right solution for my neighbour to fix this, and I want to have the info easy for me to find 🙂
I’ll list all the steps that I took, and if none of them work, I will be surprised.
DISCLAIMER: The following steps involves manipulating the registry. I take no responsibility for any problems incurred trying the following steps. You do so at your own risk. Having said that, I did not have any issues.
The problem: When Windows XP starts, the system32 folder opens up in a explorer-like window. My neighbour had this come up when he logged in on his user, but not the other user accounts on the PC.
The cause: An invalid or corrupt registry setting.
The fix: read on……
There is a Microsoft article (# 170086) that describes the problem and offers ways to fix it. It’s a bit sketchy on some registry info, but certainly worth a read to get you across the general issue. It can be found here.
If playing around with registry settings isn’t your thing, go here and scroll down to tweak #260, download and run the ‘System32 Folder opens upon boot’ script. It will tell you if it has fixed the problem or not.
Failing that, your last step (that took me ages to find) is to go here and download SmitfraudFix.
Extract the content (a folder named SmitfraudFix) to your Desktop.
Next, please reboot your computer in Safe Mode by rebooting the computer,and repeatedly tapping the F8 key as the PC starts. Choose “Safe Mode” fromthe options listed.
Once in Safe Mode, open the SmitfraudFix folder and double-click smitfraudfix.cmd
Select option #2 – Clean by typing 2 and press “Enter” to delete infected files.
You will be prompted : “Registry cleaning – Do you want to clean the registry?” answer “Yes” by typing Y and press “Enter” in order to remove the Desktop background and clean registry keys associated with the infection.
The tool will now check if wininet.dll is infected. You may be prompted to replace the infected file (if found); answer “Yes” by typing Y and press “Enter”.
The tool may need to restart your computer to finish the cleaning process; if it doesn’t, please restart it into Normal Windows.
Hopefully, when you next boot Windows the System32 folder will not be there. If so, please leave a comment.