Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Adventures in PC Hell

This is my public service announcement for anyone who bought a Dell computer recently. I know, I know, but in my defence - my main computer was starting to act funky and we commenced a death countdown lottery for my oldest computer in the house. The boys needed another one and Dell presented an offer at a price I couldn’t refuse…although I continue to lust for a iMac and possess one in an alternative dimension in another life. The real downside to this deal was I had to take Vista or pay an extra $150 for Windows XP. What does that tell you? In the end, I decided to go cheap and took the Vista. I figured if nothing else I would add to my ‘knowledge’ base. Oh, how the little lies we tell to comfort ourselves.

It's turning out to be quite a learning experience and 72 hours I will never get back. Since the new Dell arrived I had been trying to install my preferred anti-virus program - AVG for the last three days. No more Norton and their dreaded ‘LuCallBack Proxy’ to seriously grind my computer to a halt. Ditto for McAfee. In my test case scenario, AVG has captured trojans which managed to successfully allude both North and McAfee in the past, and there is none of that negative option billing to your credit card dodginess with AVG either.

The new Dell arrived, everything looked good except I neglected to specify in my Dell order that I didn’t want any pre-loaded ‘free’ anti-virus software - so the first order of business was to remove McAfee. Little did I realize to successfully remove all remnants of McAfee I had to go to their website and download the mcpr.exec removal tool after I completed the uninstall otherwise, a resident shell would remain on my hard drive…

I knew enough that when I went to download my AVG that I had to turn Windows Defender off. The download appeared to go well except when AVG went to load, I got an AVG Tray Monitor Error 0xc0150004. I removed AVG and rebooted the machine and tried again. Same result. Then I tried again. Same result. I tried just about everything I could think of. I reached out to others I knew who were running Vista and AVG. I scanned the forums and tried to follow every conceivable scenario suggested. It appears, this particular issue error number is relatively recent although other tray monitor errors have happened before. Finally, I found the solution on a UK forum and I am going to share it in a more ‘dummies’ way for the computer challenged like myself.

First thing, uninstall AVG, reboot your computer and do an immediate backup.

Click on the Vista Start Orb/button.

Click into the ‘Start Search’ box at the bottom and type ‘regedit’, hit enter.

Choose the ‘registry key’ directory which should open up other sub-directories and look for the following


Eventually, each directory will take you to a long series of code. Look for this line exactly -


Use your mouse to highlight just that line of code. Then hit delete - but don‘t take out any other line. Then get the frack out of all the directories you have opened without touching any other line of code - asap. Re-start your computer. Now go and reload AVG and you should be good to go - well I was.

As I understand it, the problem lies because AVG recognizes this line of code, thinks its installed and skips over it in the installation process except it isn’t really installed. Hence, the tray monitor issue error. Think of it as a kind of empty code - all shell, no substance. When you download and install AVG after deleting this line of code AVG won’t see it and skip over it this time but will then download and install the code correctly.

If this doesn’t work for you - aren’t you glad I told you to back-up your computer before you did anything else?


Jim said...

I buy Dells exclusively for my business ... Nice machines - too bad about the Windows.

My general practice is to format the drive and re-install a fresh copy of Windows (from the provided disk) - I've found that this is the best way to get rid of _all_ the crap that Dell pre-loads.

Kateland, aka TZH said...

Which would have been the sane thing to do considering I have had a Dell before...but no, I have to create 'learning experiences' for myself.