This started happening when I had to restart my computer for an exam so I can get it working faster. When I rebooted it, it stopped giving me the option to do alt-F4 to be able to shut down, hibernate, sleep and etc. When it prevents me, it shows me (see link of picture). It also prevents me from being able to access the "task manager". The last thing it also prevents me from doing is doing a shutdown, all I can do is logout of my user or lock the computer down.

Any help at all would be great.

To note I'm running a Windows 7 Ultimate OS.

  • Hi Nick, welcome to Information Security. If your computer is a member of a domain, this might be the result of a GPO, or other access mechanism, being pushed down to your machine. Regardless, this is not really a security question - please see the FAQ.
    – AviD
    Apr 25, 2013 at 10:45

2 Answers 2


Some malware changes the local group/security policy and prevents you from running a few things you described. I bet it also disabled the run function (Win+R). You will have to run a full system scan with a good AV (a list of some trusted vendors is e.g. here) to detect and delete the malware that caused it. Symptoms you describe are what I've observed before coming as unwelcome visitors (adware, not too pesky viruses) with some desktop beautifiers (themes, screensavers, icon packs,...).

@Luke has already answered how to scan your computer for installed malware. One thing to add is that if you can't restart your PC with a power on/off button, you could force reboot it with either holding the power button for 5 seconds, or pressing the reboot button, if you have it. If it isn't a laptop, you could also simply remove the power cord and plug it back in in few seconds. If it's a laptop, then some have a force reboot button on the bottom side that requires some thin stick to press it - a toothpick should do it. If you reboot your computer like this, make sure you're not running any disk intensive tasks in the background, and do a full file system check on next startup (it should ask you to do it when the OS detects an improper shutdown).

Anyway, you might still be still stuck with these things you described disabled even after the malware is gone. What you could do is check that there's no entries in your Windows registry under the key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer (it would usually only have a single default value with no data set).

Navigate in your Explorer (Win+E) to c:\windows\ and open the regedit.exe file. Navigate to the said key and delete all the values in it and empty the data of the default value too, if it's been changed. To restore Task Manager, you will have to navigate in regedit.exe to the key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System and delete all the ill-looking values there, too (possibly all of them, IIRC none should be there by default). That should restore all the functions you said you're missing at next reboot (and some of them actually immediately).

Make sure you run a complete system scan with your anti-virus again, after you've removed the local policy changing values in your registry. Of course, if your problems prove more persistent than you'd want them to be, then your best bet would be to nuke it from orbit and start from scratch.

  • I'll take a look at these comments in the morning. Wouldn't a simple reformat do the trick? Apr 25, 2013 at 6:18
  • I'm using Norton 360 as my antivirus software. I navigated to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer in the regedit.exe Registry and I'm seeing these options (see link: 2shared.com/photo/EnfgKTHy/registry.html) This is another issue I'm having as well? Any fixes? 2shared.com/photo/8JET5J79/windows-problem.html May 3, 2013 at 17:36
  • I delete the three options what you recommended on deleting. I went to that new path in the Registry like you suggested and now I'm getting this: 2shared.com/photo/rvXPLO6i/Capture.html May 3, 2013 at 18:09
  • Would deleting these fix the Microsoft Windows error I'm getting as well? I'm more knowledgeable on the programming side compared to the hardware side. May 3, 2013 at 18:18
  • I deleted the The option for the TaskManager. May 3, 2013 at 19:17

Based on the limited information given, it sounds like you may have a virus or malware on your machine. I would recommend running an antivirus scan on your computer and see what it returns. If you are unable to execute this while the machine is on, which may be the case due to restrictions, I would recommend using another machine to obtain an offline virus scanner, (forcibly) rebooting and executing this on the affected machine.

I would also suggest you post this question on Superuser, as that is more suited for this type of question.

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