What's wrong with my computer?

When my computer is turned on and the main desktop screen shows a box reading “Tss, this program has performed an illegal operation, etc.” appears. I click OK and it reappears. On the second click the box disappears and does not return.

In addition, Internet Explorer now shows a search toolbar connected it seems to MS -search. I say connected because it has the same graphics and color scheme as MS-search and appeared at the same time my default web address was suddenly changed from blank to MS-search.

I cannot get IE to return to using blank as my default web homepage nor to stop showing the toolbar. Yes, I have gone into Options and View but correcting the problem here only works for that session. If I return to IE later the search toolbar is back and MS-Search is again my homepage. :fume:

Any help is appreciated.

Spyware, MM. Run Spybot S&D and Adaware.

Agree with YC. It’s a browser hijacker. YC mentioned 2 programs; Spybot Search and Destroy, and Ad-Aware. I searched through the Spybot list and couldn’t find this specific problem listed, whereas Ad-Aware should, I believe, do the trick.

I’d try Ad-Aware first; the free version is available for download at;

When you run this program, make sure you’re not running any other programs such as IE at the same time.

If that doesn’t fix the problem then try Spybot; another free download at;

Once you have fixed this problem can I suggest that you use another internet browser as your main one, only using IE when absolutely necessary. Lots of people including me are using Mozilla Firefox; it’s easy to use, convenient and fast as well;

When you start using another browser you can keep your IE settings on medium or high security;
Start Menu > Control Panel > Internet Options > Security tab > set slider to “Medium” or preferably “High”


Dump IE and half your security problems go away. Dump Microsoft entirely and 99% of your security problems go away. I simply cannot comprehend the mindset among people who absofuckinglutely insist on continuing to use IE when Netscape is not merely superior for browsing in general, but more importantly doesn’t have all the gaping security flaws that Microsoft crammed into their browser.

Me? Morphix. Zero problems with it. Impossible to permanenty infect with a virus, thanks to running from CD-R. Possible but unlikely to get temporary infections for a given current session.

Thanks to those who helped.

Well, I tried both ad-aware and spybot. They eliminated over 200 nasty critters but unfortunately did not entirely solve the problem. The homepage will now stay at blank, but I still get the search-toolbar whenever I open a new browser page.

Any ideas what to do next?

Using a different browser is not an option as this is my parents’ computer in Canada (Mapo, you may once again eat your words :laughing: ) and they will be utterly confused if I switch on them.

Well, in my own experience ad-aware and spybot combination will eliminate most of the problems but not all. I’ll suggest you to use Spybot, Ad-aware, PestPatrol, then SpySweeper. That’ll how I got rid of all the nasty stuff. Each program catch what the other couldn’t.

When you run a scan PestPatrol, it’ll detect some real install programs alone side the spywares, usually programs such as FlashGet (or maybe Getright), so you’ll have to filter through the results.

When after finish scanning with SpySweeper, it has the option to let you look up more information in their online datebase to let you know more about what you’re actually infected with. The problem is also good at catching what is running in your comp’s memory, and offers to get rid of them at the next start-up.

I’ll suggest you changing the browser as well, otherwise these spywares are just going to come back and hunt your parent’s computer sooner or later. Then they are just going to end up where you at right now, helpless against all the pop-ups and browser hijacks.

Fair enough. :frowning: But how about doing them a massive favor and teaching them the new one? The operation is nearly identical, with only one major added feature (tabbed browsing). If they’re at the “don’t touch it, it might break!” level of userage, they probably don’t need to know about setting preferences.

Seriously, this is not just an “I hate Microsoft” rant. IE has all sorts of gaping holes in it which can be used for far more malicious purposes than merely stealing their credit-card numbers and charging up huge bills against them. It is far easier to write up a virus that would simply erase the hard drive; the only reason hackers don’t do that is because they’ve mostly moved beyond simple-minded destructiveness.

My 72 year old dad uses Mozilla without any problems. I just had to tell him to click on the red dragon instead of the blue e and he was good to go.

The default to the MSN page was introduced with one of the windows updates (also included in SP2 I guess), courtesy of Microsoft.

Install a new browser. I recommend Opera.

In that case there is nothing you can do unless you find a hack for this problem.
Given that it is your parent’s PC perhaps they may just leave it as it is and get used to it …

Just curious Mucha Man…

  1. What OS/version are you running?

  2. Have you checked …Start–> ControlPanel–> Add/RemovePrograms ?

  3. Have you tried…Start–>Run(type in “msconfig”)–>Startup(look for anything that has anything to do with "websearch/toolbar/internet utility)

  4. Have you tried cleaning out your cookies and your cache/history at the same time as resetting your homepage?

Good idea. And while you’re at the Mozilla website, also consider downloading Mozilla Thunderbird to replace that excreable piece of virusware called Microsoft Outlook (AKA Microsoft Outbreak).


If you’re running Windows XP, it’s easy to do a rollback. Your system automatically saves your old settings and can take you back to a time before the problem started. You won’t lose the work you have been doing since, but you will need to re-install any applications you have installed. You can choose how far back in time to take your computer. You can also undo the system restore if you decide it wasn’t what you wanted to do.

Start> Help and Support > Fixing a Problem > Using System Restore to Undo Changes > Run the System Restore Wizard

It works for me.

Thanks again all. I’ve taken all your advice to heart and decided to teach my parents to use Netscape.

Nam, they’re using Windows 98. I tried your suggestion but nothing came up.

Rascal thanks for the info on the new windows update. Seems it was hijacked the first day however, as IE was not in fact being directed to MSN homepage but a copycat site. Bastards!

One question I asked above though was not answered. Why do I get that Tss report everytime I turn on my computer?

I assume that “Tss” is the name of the program that performed the illegal operation. Just what Tss is, I don’t know. If you have never installed such a program, maybe it’s the name of a virus.

I did a google search on ‘Tss virus’ and got “Toxic shock syndrome” among other things - it’s probably not that.

Since I’m not a Windows user, I can’t say much more.

good luck,

I assume that “Tss” is the name of the program that performed the illegal operation. Just what Tss is, I don’t know. If you have never installed such a program, maybe it’s the name of a virus.

I did a google search on ‘Tss virus’ and got “Toxic shock syndrome” among other things - it’s probably not that.

Since I’m not a Windows user, I can’t say much more.

good luck,

Probably was a virus. After numerous scans and virus software updates it no longer appears.

Toxic Shock Syndrome. That’s what my body will go through when I return to taipei in the spring in time for the annual dust storms from MC.