Q

Start.exe is missing, but only on XP

I was deleting files on my D: drive, and may have deleted the wrong file by mistake. Now when I try to open the D: drive by selecting it and pressing Enter, it displays the message that it cannot find the start.exe file and the Browse File dialogue box appears. But if I right click it and then open it, it works fine and everything else works fine, too. I have WinXP. If I format my C: drive and then install Windows 2000, this problem doesn't occur, but when I reformat the C: drive and reinstall WinXP, the problem comes back. What should I do?
Congratulations, you've accidentally deleted a piece of known spyware! Start.exe is an ad program by Secret-Crush that monitors your browsing habits and sends that data back to its host.

To get rid of it completely, download and run a reputable spyware program (such as SpySweeper) and make sure you double check your security settings and update your antivirus definitions.

If you ever get the urge to start deleting files again and you discover that you've deleted critical system files, try running the System File Checker tool first. Just click Start --> Run and type in "sfc /scannow" in the dialog box (without the quotes).

This was first published in March 2005

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