A tale of two issues: new SSD and/or trojan problem?

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A tale of two issues: new SSD and/or trojan problem?

Postposted on Fri Jan 17, 2014 8:50 am

I recently purchased a Kingston 120GB SATAIII SSD on amazon as the price was quite nice. I want to preface the bulk of this message with that prior to what will be described, I have had absolutely ZERO problems with my rig (see signature) in terms of stability. I also wanted to say that my issue is somewhat two-fold in that I'm not sure if the problem(s) described below are separate issues or related. It's a long read, but I'll try to add a TL;DR: at the end.

Anyhow, I received the SSD, slapped it into the case after a nice cleaning of said case, and was up and running. Windows 7 Professional correctly recognized my drive, and I began installing a game (League of Legends) onto the SSD. It went fine. I loaded in, played for a bit, called it a night. No problems that I recall noticing that night. Well, the next day after work I sat down to play some league with some friends and I noticed that in-game, my FPS had dropped to ridiculously low numbers, like 05 FPS. I thought that perhaps some setting was to blame, but even dropping the quality all the way down barely added any FPS. The game itself was laggy despite no latency (ping < 100ms) and actions seemed to be "buffered" on my end in that when I tried to do X, it took far longer to respond than I'm use to, it wasn't even playable. Also, even with normal lag, I've never experienced things in game such as champions stuttering their spoken lines as if they were beat-boxing. It was at this time I verified that I was running the latest chipset drivers too, which I am.

So while this was happening, I alt-tabbed from the game and tried to bring up process explorer to view what could be wrong and check out the resources in use. Nothing else of consequence was running that I could tell, and I do not permit unused or infrequently used services and programs to start up without explicit approval. Sufficed to say, I have very little running that I am not actively using and that's how I prefer it. The system was very slow to respond, and any time I took my mouse to my second monitor, it would disappear. I could still interact with anything on the second monitor, but it was very sluggish and ultimately I could not even get an "end task" to work, so I hard reset the system. Over the next 48 hours I would have similar problems.

The next day (yesterday), determined to squash this issue, I decided to re-check the seating of my existing SSD. In doing so I unplugged and re-plugged all the HDD and SSD cables, and also moved them to different SATA ports to see what would happen if anything.

I have 3 disks in total:
My OS drive, an OCZ Vertex II SSD Sata 3Gbps
My Storage Drive, a Western Digital 1TB
My new gaming drive, a Kingston 120GB SATA III SSD

My motherboard has 4 Sata III capable ports, 2 of them are intel based, and the other two are marvel. This was important to re-learn yesterday because when my system was POSTing after the SATA port swap and wire check, I got a strange error that "Device 0 has no disk: AHCI" or something very similar. After a bit of googling I learned this was a harmless error that was basically Marvel's way of saying nothing is plugged into their ports, and not that the system wasn't detecting ANY hard drive. However, after getting back into Windows, it no longer saw my drive in "My Computer". It did however see it in Disk Management as well as the Device Manager. The only way I could get it to recognize it so that I may use it (despite having used it prior) was to format it with NTSF Quick, and go from there.

Having to do this after already using the device irked me, and I wasn't sure why it was necessary at all. Simply because I changed the Sata port? I have the control set in the bios to AHCI which I was told was the more modern and proper way to do things as opposed to IDE. So back to the BIOS I went to make sure things were as I left them. Everything appeared fine, it was recognizing the ports that I was using correctly for their ratings of 6Gbps vs 3Gbps and which drive was located where. So I rebooted again.

As I was continuing my searched across various listings related to my issue, Chrome's "3 menu bar" in the top right flashed a really strange message that "Divx HTML5 web <player> had been attempted to be installed as an extension from a separate program running on my machine. My stomach sank a little bit. I'm extremely savvy and cautious as most of us are, but soon after that chrome started behaving strangely too. All my extensions except that one were gone. This is right around the same time that I was having FPS issue that I was blaming on my SSD.

So I rebooted into safe mode with networking, and decided to see how bad this so-called infection was. I ran spybot which found a few malware entries related to divx, and MSSE reported that it actually found a java/trojan (who's name escapes me at this second, but that I can dig back up from logs when I get back). I removed all those entries, rebooted, scanned again - clean. I ran malwarebytes just for good measure, clean. All these were full scans. I was annoyed that MSSE didn't find anything UNTIL I scanned, though it was active in either case.

Full disclosure: For out of market games and international games, I stream hockey from some less-than-honest websites. These sites are hounding you to install junkware and have a ton of ads that download weird stuff automatically if you click them, hopeing you'll run it. Using Adblock keeps 95% of it hidden, but I would NEVER have installed anything of this sort, and I've been using these sites for years without any problem. I wouldn't give these URLs to anyone I wasn't 100% sure was VERY cautious and understood exactly what they were doing. It's possible I made a mistake or clicked something I didn't realize, but I find that hard to swallow to be honest.

So after completely removing chrome from my computer, scanning yet again and using CCcleaner to remove all registry values related to chrome as well, I rebooted and installed a fresh copy of it. I should note too that after all of this, my FPS uncapped in LoL is back over 300 at max quality, and rock solid with vsync. I'm hoping I'm in the clear now, but would/could the trojan (which many sites have listed as a false positive) have had any effect on my new SSD to cause it to no longer show up? Are the two related at all do you think? What bothers me is that even if the SSD was a separate issue altogether, the OS was unstable after alt-tabbing from games, and if Chrome hadn't given me that notification, I wouldn't have known otherwise something was wrong, or at least where to start looking. I'm not sure the so-called virus/malware explains the fact that using my second monitor caused my mouse to disappear and my system to lockup for 5-10 seconds before coming back and sometimes requiring a reboot. It no longer exhibits this behavior.

The only strange behavior left over from all of this is that in Chrome, a fresh copy with nothing else installed, half the time or so when I click the 3 bars menu, it won't display much until I drag my mouse over the still-invisible items which should be in that menu at which point they re-render from the mouse events that show different states of those menu items when interacted with, and that still seems abnormal to me. Regardless, I haven't found many hits on google for "Chrome, divx web html video extension, malware, installed from program on computer" and similar. Just a few outliers that don't describe the actual notice chrome gave me last night, that a program was trying to install it.

TL;DR: SSD was working, then wasn't recognized, after tinkering seems OK again after a Format that seemed unnecessary to me. Also had malware in some sort that caused Chrome to lose all extensions, and chrome reported upon open that a program on my computer was actively trying to install an extension. The system performance in both cases was affected via instability, and poor gaming performance. After malware/virus scan and some results, it seems stability is OK again but chrome is still acting just a tad peculiar to me.
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Re: A tale of two issues: new SSD and/or trojan problem?

Postposted on Fri Jan 17, 2014 9:22 am

I've found MSSE to be impotent at this point. For the first year or so it seemed to work well but I've had to deal with several family members' PCs that have been infected while running MSSE. I'd recommend using AVG and Malwarebytes - though the best course of action after an infection is always a fresh OS install.

As for Chrome try uninstalling it, restarting the computer and deleting all of the files it leaves behind in Users\Username\AppData.

The non-responsiveness and stalling of software is similar to what I experienced when my Intel SSD failed. It housed the OS and software. Since Chrome installs and caches in the directory I mention above depending on where you keep the Users directory (OS drive unless you customize OS installation) might indicate a problem with that specific drive. If after scanning with AVG/MB and doing a clean reinstall of Chrome you still experience problems I wouldn't rule out that drive.

If you have moved your Users/Temp/etc files off of your SSD onto the HDD then maybe check the power management features and make sure that your HDD doesn't spin down when not in use - as that can make seek times enormous, depending on the drive making your OS/software stall.
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Re: A tale of two issues: new SSD and/or trojan problem?

Postposted on Fri Jan 17, 2014 9:25 am

puppetworx wrote:I've found MSSE to be impotent at this point. For the first year or so it seemed to work well but I've had to deal with several family members' PCs that have been infected while running MSSE. I'd recommend using AVG and Malwarebytes - though the best course of action after an infection is always a fresh OS install.

As for Chrome try uninstalling it, restarting the computer and deleting all of the files it leaves behind in Users\Username\AppData.

The non-responsiveness and stalling of software is similar to what I experienced when my Intel SSD failed. It housed the OS and software. Since Chrome installs and caches in the directory I mention above depending on where you keep the Users directory (OS drive unless you customize OS installation) might indicate a problem with that specific drive. If after scanning with AVG/MB and doing a clean reinstall of Chrome you still experience problems I wouldn't rule out that drive.

If you have moved your Users/Temp/etc files off of your SSD onto the HDD then maybe check the power management features and make sure that your HDD doesn't spin down when not in use - as that can make seek times enormous, depending on the drive making your OS/software stall.


Good advice, I'll check that out. Are there any reputable programs that can identify the health of an SSD? My OCZ is 2010 or so, and it was newer-ish tech at the time.
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Re: A tale of two issues: new SSD and/or trojan problem?

Postposted on Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:05 am

It does sound like you may have multiple issues to me. Have you checked the Windows event log for anything out of the ordinary?

Also, this may be relevant to your Chrome issues: http://arstechnica.com/security/2014/01 ... d-updates/
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Re: A tale of two issues: new SSD and/or trojan problem?

Postposted on Mon Jan 20, 2014 9:22 am

Thanks JBI - Yeah I saw that too, not sure what to make of it.

I nuked my entire chrome install, scanned again and it hasn't exhibited any of the weird issues in a few days since. I hope I'm out of the woods but I'm staying on my toes. What irks me is that I didn't have any Divx extensions installed, I only have a small handful of extensions I use, and they are for development (firebug for example).

My SSD problem is also seemingly resolved, not sure what it didn't like but it hasn't thrown any more temper tantrums since I swapped the Sata ports about.
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Re: A tale of two issues: new SSD and/or trojan problem?

Postposted on Mon Jan 20, 2014 11:30 am

steelcity_ballin wrote:My SSD problem is also seemingly resolved, not sure what it didn't like but it hasn't thrown any more temper tantrums since I swapped the Sata ports about.


Ding. Did you pay attention to which port it originally was using, and which it is now using? If you switched it from a Marvell to an Intel port then that's a sure indicator you just experienced one of the common issues that plague SandForce SSDs. I've seen SandForce drives randomly dropout on that exact motherboard, it's just a design flaw with the SSD controller and not any form of malware (at least from the SSD itself).

However, after getting back into Windows, it no longer saw my drive in "My Computer". It did however see it in Disk Management as well as the Device Manager. The only way I could get it to recognize it so that I may use it (despite having used it prior) was to format it with NTSF Quick, and go from there.


Sounds like the normal disk initialization process. A brand new SSD will usually not show up under My Computer because it needs to be formatted first, and it will show up under Disk Management where users can NTFS format the drive. After doing this it will show up under My Computer, no reboot required.
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