locked
Vista Sidebar Locks Windows possible DOS attack? RRS feed

  • Question

  • I recently had a computer running Vista Business that somehow the sidebar had over 100 clocks added to it.  When attempting to delete a clock by clicking on the x it would lock Windows completely.  I could still move the mouse, but could not pull up task manager or even kill the sidebar.exe process remotely using pskill or other tools. 

     

    I'm not sure how all clocks all got on there which makes me a little concerned.  I ended up having to delete the settings.ini file to fix it.

     

    I have not attempted to replicate this on another computer yet, but thought I should let the community know about this possible issue.

    Wednesday, March 12, 2008 4:13 PM

Answers

  •  

    Payam_b,

     

    You can fix the problem by closing the sidebar and then deleting the file at %userprofile%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Sidebar\settings.ini.  The sidebar will create a new file on the next launch. 

     

    On the computer that I had this happen that is what I did and it has not returned.  I really think Microsoft should code in a limit to sidebar objects, but make it adjustable and controllable by group policy.  In my environment most of my users like the sidebar so i can not disable it.

     

    I am running robust Internet security software, so I think it is likely someone was just messing around and added 100+ clocks to the sidebar to mess up the instructor's computer.

    Monday, June 2, 2008 1:38 AM
  • Hi Ryan,

     

    Thanks for posting here!

     

    Ryan, though currently we do not have a policy to limit the amount of items in sidebar, I would like to confirm if we can use group policy to disable it as a workaround. If so, let's use the following policy to disable it:

     

    1.       Click "Start", go to "Run".

    2.       Type "gpedit.msc" (without quotation mark) and press Enter.

    3.       Locate the following policy: User Configuration – Administrative Templates – Windows Components – Windows Sidebar- Turn off Windows Siderbar.

     

    Best regards,

     

    Thursday, April 3, 2008 6:15 AM
    Moderator

All replies

  •  

    I just replicated this on another computer using the settings.ini file that had all the clocks added to it.  It seems to lockup the Windows GUI a few minutes after starting the sidebar and then trying to delete one of the sidebar items.  I noticed in task manager that ram usage of sidebar.exe shot up above 500mb.  I tried to post the settings.ini file, but it is over 50000 in length so I could not post it.

     

    Had anyone else seen issues like this with the sidebar?

    Wednesday, March 12, 2008 4:37 PM
  • Hi Smile

    I seem to have a problem understanding. You want to know why 100 clocks on the sidebar would bring the system to a halt or why the system blocks when you try to terminate one of the clocks?

    Could you remember if this modification appeared after you did a specific action? Maybe a file download?
    Thursday, March 13, 2008 8:46 AM
  • Hi,

     

    Thanks for the reply!  I'm really curious about both things. 

     

    I can totally see why 100 clocks would lock up the sidebar and maybe slow down the computer, but I do not think it should lock Vista's GUI completely.  That is what really made me concerned and prompted me to post this. 

     

    Unfortunately the computer is one I support and is shared by multiple users all using the same account so I do not know exactly how and when it happened.  They do only have regular user access. 

     

    Just a thought maybe the sidebar should have some kind of static limit to the amount of items supported to prevent this or at least a setting to limit it which can only be increased by an administrator.

     

    Ryan

    Thursday, March 13, 2008 6:29 PM
  • Hi Ryan,

     

    Thanks for posting here!

     

    Ryan, though currently we do not have a policy to limit the amount of items in sidebar, I would like to confirm if we can use group policy to disable it as a workaround. If so, let's use the following policy to disable it:

     

    1.       Click "Start", go to "Run".

    2.       Type "gpedit.msc" (without quotation mark) and press Enter.

    3.       Locate the following policy: User Configuration – Administrative Templates – Windows Components – Windows Sidebar- Turn off Windows Siderbar.

     

    Best regards,

     

    Thursday, April 3, 2008 6:15 AM
    Moderator
  •  

    Hello all, I also have experienced a simular problem with my Vista Sidebar.  I have dozens of calendars in my Sidebar that I didn't that appeared on their own.  When I attempt to delete them, my computer locks up.  Is there a fix for this?

     

    Also, my computer has become extremely slow.  So I turned off the Sidebar and my computer's speed has increased.  I enjoyed using my sidebar and would like to turn it back on.  Is there a fix for this problem? 

     

    I tried the suggestion of typing "gpedit.msc" in the "Run", but it didn't work.  I get a pop-up box that says; "Windows can not find gpedit.mcs"

     

    Mark

    Thursday, April 24, 2008 4:51 AM
  • I have a client with a very similar situation. In Sidebar, they have about 60 Calendars open. If I try to close it using the "X" on the sidebar, the whole computer locks up. After I restart the computer, I opened Windows Sidebar Properties to close all the calendars one by one through the list, it still locks up like before. I currently have disabled Sidebar on the computer for now, but client wants it work ASAP since they want to use all the other Gadgets. Has anyone found a solution to this problem? Thanks!

    Saturday, May 24, 2008 2:19 AM
  •  

    Payam_b,

     

    You can fix the problem by closing the sidebar and then deleting the file at %userprofile%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Sidebar\settings.ini.  The sidebar will create a new file on the next launch. 

     

    On the computer that I had this happen that is what I did and it has not returned.  I really think Microsoft should code in a limit to sidebar objects, but make it adjustable and controllable by group policy.  In my environment most of my users like the sidebar so i can not disable it.

     

    I am running robust Internet security software, so I think it is likely someone was just messing around and added 100+ clocks to the sidebar to mess up the instructor's computer.

    Monday, June 2, 2008 1:38 AM
  • my vista ultimate does the same thing about once a month, the mouse cursor goes crazy and opens up 100s of clocks, I believe acrotray (process from adobe acrobat) is the culprit as the same issue of the mouse going crazy, opening up random things on my desktop and being unusable on my xppro laptop was fixed by ending this in task manager. Will try to prove it on Vista........

    Al
    Chief Engineer/IT Operations
    www.jonesbororadiogroup.com
    Monday, December 14, 2009 5:14 PM