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"Windows cannot find ''." Error. UAC Problem

    Question

  • Hi All,

    Windows 7 x64 Professional Service Pack 1

    I have an Admin account and user accounts. I do not log in as admin unless I am forced to; regular computer usage is done through the user accounts.

    Under the user accounts when I right-click an application like cmd.exe, choose "Run as Administrator", and authenticate I get the following message:

    Windows cannot find 'c:\Windows\System32\cmd.exe'. Make sure you typed the name correctly and try again.

    This behaviour occurs anytime I try and do anything that requires me to authenticate as the administrator when logged in as a non-admin user (prompts that have the windows security "shield"). This behavior is recent-within the last 2 weeks or so.

    This behavior does NOT occur when logged in as a user with admin privileges.

    I have tried shortening the PATH variable to less than 260 characters as was suggested elsewhere. It was thought that the because the path variable was too long it could not find the file. This made no change at all.

    I upgraded to SP1 in an attempt to cure my computer. This did not make any difference. I have NOT tried a system restore, but as I just upgraded to SP1 I am not sure if that is an option now?

    Does anyone have a suggestion I can try?

    Is there some additional information I need to supply?

    Thanks!

     

    Friday, March 25, 2011 4:47 PM

Answers

  • I have an answer!

     

    Since UAC was not working I thought I would disable so I could at least use my machine. Risky, but hey, I can be careful.

    Logged in under admin account and tried to change the UAC settings but the dialogue box with the UAC slider would not open (Control Panel, User Accounts, Change User Account Control Settings).

    The other thing that was happening was every time I logged in under the admin account it would warn me that my profile could not be loaded.

     

    So as it turns out the reason for UAC not finding any executable on my system was that my admin account had problems or was damaged.

    The fix:

    I created a new admin account. Logged in as regular user and did an operation that required me to elevate privileges. The new admin account appeared in the list of accounts to authenticate, I entered the password and it worked!

    So for anyone else who runs across this problem, obscure though it may be, ensure that your admin account is not damaged and if it is simply create a new one.

    • Marked as answer by RaymondR127 Sunday, April 03, 2011 6:44 PM
    Sunday, April 03, 2011 6:44 PM

All replies

  • Posting this in hopes it will be helpful to later users:

    Yes, this activity can be caused by viruses, spyware, etc. Get a good anti-virus and clean everything up! I used Vexira. I had Backdoor.Win32.Hupigon.gpm

    It puts a hidden autorun in the root of every Disk Drive, and on USB keys, which is how it travels.
    You will have to enable viewing hidden files, and a couple boxes under that, uncheck "protect windows system files"

    Vexira detected and cleaned all these up. Be sure you get your USB keys cleaned too!
    It does leave annoying little folders called ..runauto in the root. I used the "unlocker" tool to delete these, although they are clean now. http://ccollomb.free.fr/unlocker/
    Be sure that the autorun.pif file is deleted from the root of all the drives. This will cause your windows drives to not load from My Computer until after you reboot.

    After all that cleaning, I still couldn't use cmd.exe, regedit.exe, etc.

    I have figured out the fix for the programs that were disabled by the virus.

    Backup your registry first, just in case.

    It takes advantage of a debug option in the registry. I have emergency utils that gives me a copy of regedit.exe so I can edit the registry.
    http://www.dougknox.com/xp/utils/xp_emerutils.htm

    Look here:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\
    cmd.exe etc.

    Under each of the .exe files that doesn't work, there is a handle called "Debugger" with the value set to "setuprs1.PIF" on mine. Delete the entire debugger entry.

    If your name is the same, you can just search for all instances of setuprs1.pif, and delete them all.


    This guy explains how it works. So any of those programs were actually set to install the virus again. But of course, the real program couldn't be found. And after the virus program cleaned out the .pifs, there was nothing there. It's interesting that you can actually use a completely different program so easily ... under the name cmd.exe .... NO WONDER viruses use it!
    http://geekswithblogs.net/ssimakov/a.../22/26930.aspx
    Tuesday, March 29, 2011 7:58 AM
  • Interesting but not applicable in my case.

     

    Any other ideas?

     

    Thanks.

    Tuesday, March 29, 2011 1:10 PM
  • I have an answer!

     

    Since UAC was not working I thought I would disable so I could at least use my machine. Risky, but hey, I can be careful.

    Logged in under admin account and tried to change the UAC settings but the dialogue box with the UAC slider would not open (Control Panel, User Accounts, Change User Account Control Settings).

    The other thing that was happening was every time I logged in under the admin account it would warn me that my profile could not be loaded.

     

    So as it turns out the reason for UAC not finding any executable on my system was that my admin account had problems or was damaged.

    The fix:

    I created a new admin account. Logged in as regular user and did an operation that required me to elevate privileges. The new admin account appeared in the list of accounts to authenticate, I entered the password and it worked!

    So for anyone else who runs across this problem, obscure though it may be, ensure that your admin account is not damaged and if it is simply create a new one.

    • Marked as answer by RaymondR127 Sunday, April 03, 2011 6:44 PM
    Sunday, April 03, 2011 6:44 PM