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"Windows must now restart because the Plug and Play service terminated unexpectedly."

"Windows must now restart becasue the DCOM Server Process launcher service terminated unexpectedly."

These 2 errors I get when trying to play games on my computer...

Googling them I was told everywhere it was a so called 'rootkit virus' I actually couldn't find a place that talked about this being another form of problem... Non-virus problem that is.

So I tried to use all the suggested programs:

  • Antiware
  • Malwarebytes
  • Kaspersky TDSSKiller
  • Avast
  • AVG

None of them found this virus.

As a result I decided to completely format my computer, I threw in my Windows DVD, formatted the computer, deleted all the drives, made new partitions, installed Win7, did a Windows Update, Downloaded Steam client and tried to install one of my games... Entered the game... And got the same error...

I'm out of ideas. I've been playing this on this computer for 2 years and now it just simple won't...

If it helps with ideas I have recently plugged in a SSD, but I have tried both on my old harddrive and this new SSD, and with Windows on both of them, same problem... So I don't see that being connected.

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Sounds like an MBR rootkit. Dont now if there is a windows 7 version of Combofix, but give it a google search. Also, can you give us some more specs on your computer? Have you checked memory, checked HDD health, etc? – francisswest Jun 19 '12 at 17:11
I did a 'SFC scannow' and it gave me a 100% score and reported no issues.. same with a memory test.. My computer specs is DK DFI lanparty 790fx motherboard AMD Athlon phenom II 955 3.2ghz 1TB harddisk 120gb SSD 8gb DDR3 Ram Creative soundblaster. This all started happening around the same time I got the SSD and installed it.. Could it be a mistake in the bios?.. I dont know much about BIOS. – Allan Jun 19 '12 at 17:25
Is it just the one game, or does this happen with multiple games? As @francisswest asked, have you done any memory checks (etc.) yet? But if you've re-partitioned and formatted, then I doubt you have a virus (rootkit or otherwise). – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Jun 20 '12 at 12:18
memtest and Hard drive health tests on Hirens boot CD, what game are you having problems with? – HaydnWVN Jun 20 '12 at 15:33

Just dealing with a false alarm past 2 days myself, so please take that into consideration that you might just be experiencing typical windows system problems rather than a rootkit.

In any case, PnP and DCOM failing alone is NOT a symptom of a rootkit or virus UNLESS it's coupled with hidden system services obvious signs of slow down, website redirection and other strange errors. If it's only happening with the same game but not anywhere else, it's mostly like just generic issues. E.g (in order of likelyhood):

  • a video driver issue (mostly likely)
  • a recent update to the game or the Steam engine itself may be incompatible with your hardware/driver/other software on the system
  • hardware issue
  • failing RAM
  • failing video card
  • failing power supply
  • other software driver issue (CD/DVD burning software, antivirus software, DRM'ed software)
  • a new Windows Update is incompatible with your game

What it's likely NOT:

  • MBR rootkit: you already reinstall and reformat windows, that would have replaced your MBR with a fresh one.
  • a rootkit virus: unless you experience the same error while NOT playing this pariticular game, I highly doubt it's a rootkit on your system.
  • SSD: if it gives you the same error when playing from HDD, then it's not the SSD. Though you should think about what other software you installed since you got the SSD since you said the problem arose the same time. This includes Windows Updates you installed and drivers you updated.
  • BIOS: unless you've changed BIOS settings right before the problem started appearing, it's probably not the cause.

If you scanned with multiple virus scanners, and the one you used are already known to have very good rootkit detection, it's probably NOT a rootkit. But try GMER and 2-3 bootable CD scanners (Microsoft offline scan tool, Kaspersky, DR Web and Avast come to mind) too if you want to be safe.

I'd suggest check Steam's forum whether any other users have seen the same errors running Steam engine or this particular game recently.

Also, I'm assuming that you acuqired this game and other games on your system via legit channels. I don't think you can pirate Steam games, but if you have other pirated games on your system, it may have cracked drivers that are not malicious but can interfere with this game. Video game protection usually hook into the system very deeply, so even legit games you've installed recently can cause issues. Other software protection scheme can also cause these kind of problems (e.g. audio production software like CuBase, DRM software, etc.).

Here's my recent exprience: Need help identiying a nasty rootkit in Windows

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