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On boot into Windows 7 I get a good login but no explorer.exe is started. Hence, no desktop, no GUI generally.

I can start task manager with Ctrl+Alt+Del and run programs from there, including cmd.exe, msconfig, even Firefox.

So I have a semi-working system. Starting explorer.exe manually results in immediate crashes. Eventvwr log below. I've run full system scans with a variety of software including Norton360 boot recovery and Power Eraser, Kasperskey, and now running full system scan with Microsoft MSRT. So far nothing comes up. If it's malware it's very invisible.

Every attempt to start explorer.exe results in the following event situation (Event Viewer log):

Faulting application name: explorer.exe, version: 6.1.7601.17567, time stamp: 0x4d672ee4
Faulting module name: EFACli64.dll, version: 3.0.2.34, time stamp: 0x4ed5ce9f
Exception code: 0xc0000005
Fault offset: 0x000000000000e5b4
Faulting process id: 0x15f0
Faulting application start time: 0x01cd363bbb2612bd
Faulting application path: C:\Windows\explorer.exe
Faulting module path: C:\Program Files (x86)\Norton 360\Engine64\6.2.0.9\EFACli64.dll
Report Id: fa008352-a22e-11e1-a8aa-001d729e5a6c

UPDATE: I just had a remote control session with Norton tech. They said this is OS issue and passed it to MS. I haven't tried a session with MS but that seems next logical step prior to repair with boot disk.

My question now is what is the significance of the "faulting module"? This is the Norton 360 dll by the name of EFACli64.dll. Norton rep seemed to imply it meant nothing in particular. But everytime I try to start explorer.exe manually I get that error log packet exactly, and Norton 360 just updated yesterday.

So I'm wondering. If this is strictly OS corruption. If it's malware it's really stealthy. Nothing has caught a whif of anything: as above, Kasperskey, Norton, MS full scans reveal nothing.

Is this just MS Windows 7 corruption or is newly updated Norton 360 to blame?

Update:

I'd earlier attempted a System Restore which didn't happen because on restart it wouldn't remember the process. I just now did a System Restore from a Windows 7 boot usb disk. The System Restore went through flawlessly, but the OS has the same issue on reboot.

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Kasperskey, Norton, MS full scan You have 3 AV programs on your computer, and it's not working? –  ta.speot.is May 20 '12 at 11:30
    
Norton 360 I have paid for subscription. MS is of course preinstalled. I ran Kasperskey free one-time thing for kicks last night out of conjecture that it would catch what Norton360 wouldn't. Nothing. If it's malware it's something special enough to escape detection by known signatures. I've been doing a lot of programming, IDE, package, and program installs recently, so it could easily be a non-intentional mishap. I'm really barely even qualified to speculate. I do programming but my knowledge of low level OS stuff is minimal. –  Joshua Cullick May 20 '12 at 11:39
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2 Answers

Have you tried uninstalling Norton completely? You can get to Add / Remove programs by running appwiz.cpl from the Task Manager.

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not a bad idea. I'll add it to my solutions queue. Maybe happen within an hour. –  Joshua Cullick May 20 '12 at 11:36
    
Totally worked. Thankyou. Those people at Norton are no good flakey lying freaks I tell you what. "It's a corrupted OS it's an OS issue contact your computer 'vendor'" they said. Sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesh. –  Joshua Cullick May 20 '12 at 12:10
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I call bullshit on what the Norton rep told you.

explorer.exe loads their module and it causes an access violation which, in turn, causes explorer.exe to crash. It's really as clear as the sky is blue :P

What they think causes their DLL to crash is really irrelevant to you. And, as we can see from @Dan's answer, their application was the problem all along :P

Actually, it isn't irrelevant to you. In case they are right and this isn't supposed to happen, and only happens because of some issue with your installation, then, yeah, it would be nice to know what they think caused this issue.

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thx, and thx again for the technical description (access violation and so on). I gave their rep (who had remote control over my system) the log block I posted here, and said 'ask around the office, take your time'; he/she came back and said contact MS, 'not our problem'. minus 10pts to Norton. Maybe Kasperskey or Avast is the way to go for W7, I wouldn't know though. –  Joshua Cullick May 20 '12 at 12:35
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