Expired cirtificate errors FireFox and IE (Vista 32 bit)


R

R. H. Breener

For the last hour IE and Mozilla Firefox have become unusable. Almost every
website bring up an Expired Certificate window and wont let the pages load.
They all say This Page Is Untrusted. So neither can be updated. So far I've
run Spybot, Malwarebytes, Windows defender and JRT - nothing was found in
the way of adware, viruses, nothing. What could be causing this with both
browsers?
 
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V

VanguardLH

R. H. Breener said:
For the last hour IE and Mozilla Firefox have become unusable. Almost
every website bring up an Expired Certificate window and wont let the
pages load.
Those would be https web sites (that use SSL to encrypt the connection)
since http sites don't use or need site certs.
They all say This Page Is Untrusted. So neither can be updated.
Are you running anything that intercepts and perhaps interrogates your
web traffic? You're running Avast but are you running anything else?
For example, I have Applian's Replay Media Capture (RMC) and configured
it to intercept HTTPS traffic (the default setting) so I can capture
streaming video from HTTPS sources. When this is running, sometimes I
get cert errors. I'd get errors from my e-mail client (Thunderbird)
about not being able to connect using SSL to the e-mail servers. When I
used to have EMET running, it would complain all the time about cert
errors for HTTPS sites when RMC was running.

From your bogus signature below, you are using Avast. Have you tried
temporarily disabling it to see if its interception and interrogation of
your web traffic is the culprit? Do you have a 3rd party firewall
installed? If so, have you tried disabling it? What other active
security software do you have running on your computer?

Have you yet rebooted Windows? If there are pending Windows updates,
they can interfere with the operation of the OS or applications. You
didn't mention if you configured Windows Update to merely notify you of
new updates or if you left Windows configured with the default WU
setting of download and installing the updates. You could reconfigure
WU to only notify you of new updates and then download and apply them
when you are prepared, like after saving a backup image of the OS
partition. WU creates a restore point so you don't have to bother doing
that but restore points won't take you back to the exact state of the OS
partition, so save a backup image before applying updates to the OS.
Even if WU doesn't say you need to reboot after applying some updates,
do it anyway. Sometimes apps or services get in some weird state, and
I've seen hardware that won't reset properly via software but requires a
reboot. So see if a reboot of Windows fixes the problem.

If a reboot doesn't kick the problem in the butt to fix it, use msconfig
to disable all startup programs and reboot. That will eliminate a
startup program as the cause of the interferrence. If the problem goes
away, reenable each startup program one at a time, reboot, and retest.
When the problem returns, it was the last reenabled startup program that
is the culprit. And if that doesn't work then reboot Windows in its own
safe mode (but with networking enabled) to eliminate all startup
programs along with non-critical services to retest.

As a test, disable hardware (GPU) acceleration in Internet Explorer.
Too often using the GPU results in improper behavior or crashes (from
which IE may try to recover but IE is still in a limbo state). Internet
Options -> Advanced, enable software rendering (to disable hardware/GPU
rendering). The AMD/ATI drivers don't seem to do well with apps that
want to use hardware acceleration (which is only important in you play
online video/action games). I've had to disable hardware acceleration
in IE and other apps to keep them from crashing; else, after a crash, I
will trace it back to an ati* file (so the video driver or its
ancilliary files caused the crash). If the problem goes away in IE
after disabling hardware acceleration, do the same for Firefox. They
all want it enabled primarily to improve their benchmarks. This is an
iffy solution as I wouldn't expect hardware acceleration to affect
connectivity of HTTP over SSL (HTTPS) but if IE is crashing and
recovering than the recovered state may not be a usable state.

Have you yet tried loading the web browsers in their safe mode to
eliminate add-ons as a possible source of your problem? Although you
are asking about two different web browsers, you might've installed an
add-on from the same source into both of them (e.g., Adblock Plus). For
Internet Explorer, run iexplore.exe with the -extoff command-line
argument (run without extensions). I forget how to run Firefox in safe
mode but an online search would find that pretty easily.

While I don't know if such an add-on exists for IE, there is one for
Firefox that tries to always connect to a web site using SSL (HTTPS).
If it fails that connect then it degrades to an non-SSL connect (HTTP).
The idea is this add-on tries to up your security by trying to use an
encrypted connection to the site whenever possible. However, SSL
resources at a web server are more "expensive" than non-SSL connects so
it is a bit rude to use SSL when it isn't needed to use a web site just
because you're scared something is sniffing your packets. If you have
such an add-on, it would be disabled for the above recommendation of
starting the web browsers in their safe mode.
Not a valid signature delimiter line (which is "-- \n", or dash dash
space newline). So everything after the fake delimiter is in the body
of your post.
This email is free from viruses and malware because avast! Antivirus
protection is active.
h**p:// www. avast. c*m
Avast, by default, will spamify your posts (and e-mails) by appending
their promotional fake signature block. Either configure Avast to not
append their spam to your post (which makes spam your post) or get rid
of the superfluous e-mail/post scanner module (it adds no further
protection over the on-access/real-time scanner).
 
R

R. H. Breener

David H. Lipman said:
Please check your PC clock date and time.

Additionally, please disable the Avast post appending function.
That was only one problem solved. Thanks. The computer (not this one) is
infected with something called Optimun PC Boost. The uninstall guide I found
online didn't help since the keys in the registry didn't exist to be
removed. AVG found it on a deep scan but can't remove it. It returns on
reboot.
Suggestions?
 
V

VanguardLH

R. H. Breener said:
I ran a deep scan with AVG and it found Optimum PC Boost. As mentioned
in reply to Mr Lipman, it comes back on reboot.
Gotta watch those installers screens more closely from now on and always
elect a custom install to deselect the foistware.

http://malwaretips.com/blogs/optimum-pc-boost-uninstall/

However, I would change the order to run MalwareBytes Anti-Malware
(after first attempting the normal uninstall) before using the other
cleanup tools.
What would be the benefit of starting them in Safe Mode?
Not all add-ons may be listed in the web browser's UI. First, make sure
you elect to see ALL add-ons, not just those currently loaded. Second,
some add-ons are COM plug-ins and you won't see them listed in the
add-ons listed by IE. Loading the web browser prevents loading of all
add-ons and COM plug-ins. Try that to see if it's just something within
IE causing the connect problems or something external that blocks the
HTTPS connections.

For example, I used to use PDFxchange PDFviewer with the option to
integrate it into the web browser. I'm running Windows 7 x64 so the
64-bit version of IE gets loaded. That add-on did NOT show up in IE's
programs list but it still worked okay. So I could not disable it from
within IE's UI and would have to load IE in its safe mode to ensure it
was NOT loaded along with IE. Back when I used IE6/7/8 and installed
the PopupCop add-on (discontinued in 2009) by Edensoft (dead in 2011),
it wasn't in IE's list of add-ons. Besides a much better popup manager
than what was in IE, it let the user decide on default privileges for
sites unless allowed more/less privileges in white/blacklists, along
with many other handy features, like telling me to where a redirection
pointed for meta-refresh with a button to go there so choose if I wanted
a page to take me elsewhere. It never appeared in IE's list of add-ons.
I mentioned this to the author and he updated his COM plug-in so it
would show up. So he had to do something, like register the add-on, for
IE to show PopupCop on its list of add-ons.

So start the web browser in its safe mode to make sure ALL add-ons are
disabled, not just the ones that IE will show you.
 
R

R. H. Breener

VanguardLH said:
So start the web browser in its safe mode to make sure ALL add-ons are
disabled, not just the ones that IE will show you.
<brevity snip>

Thanks for that info.

I thought I'd let you know when I tried a System Restore which failed, I
then tried a System Recovery. When I clicked to do a System Recovery the
computer failed completely. It kept telling me the disks for the Vista PC
were not authenticated (or some such) for that system. How can that be when
they came from HP and the second set were made from THAT HP computer itself?
It wouldn't go into safe mode. It said no disks could be found. The boot
disk didn't work either with an error it wasn't authenticated for that
system. WTF? The PC is sitting here totally worthless and was hardly used.
How the hell do I get it to recognize the Recovery disks or the boot disk?
 
R

R. H. Breener

David H. Lipman said:
Optimun PC Boost is NOT a virus. It does not self replicate nor does it
spread autonomously.
Please see my reply to VanguardLH above.
 
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V

VanguardLH

R. H. Breener said:
<brevity snip>

Thanks for that info.

I thought I'd let you know when I tried a System Restore which failed, I
then tried a System Recovery. When I clicked to do a System Recovery the
computer failed completely. It kept telling me the disks for the Vista PC
were not authenticated (or some such) for that system. How can that be when
they came from HP and the second set were made from THAT HP computer itself?
It wouldn't go into safe mode. It said no disks could be found. The boot
disk didn't work either with an error it wasn't authenticated for that
system. WTF? The PC is sitting here totally worthless and was hardly used.
How the hell do I get it to recognize the Recovery disks or the boot disk?
Some install CDs are BIOS locked. That means you have to use the
correct media to install on that hardware. The installer locks at the
firmware signature from the BIOS to see it the hardware is within a
family of products that the software will match. So you have to use the
install media that came with the computer. If you buy some oddball
"reinstallation" CD from, say, eBay then it might not work with the
hardware that you have. All those resinstallation discs are illegal but
eBay lets the sellers get away with selling them because eBay gets their
13% commission on the sale. Those discs are for reinstalls, not for new
installs which is what they're being sold for.

So was the first set of install CDs the ones that came with the
computer? Were the 2nd ones made using the procedure specified in the
terse owner's manual that came with the computer (probably on CD)?

"not authenticated (or some such)" covers every error every reported by
anyone for anything. It's like saying "I think it's this or something"
where the "something" covers everything else. If the authentication
problem is when trying to validate the installation by entering a
product key then it could be the product key on the COA sticker doesn't
match the product being installed. The COA sticker's product key is
unique to each pre-built computer; however, the product key in the image
the OEM'er slaps onto every host has the same volume key used to
pre-validate that image (you don't have to do validation when you get
the pre-built computer with pre-installed OS and software). A clear
report of what was the actual error message would help.

Did you get this computer as a pre-built? Was the OS pre-installed?
Was the installation media what came with the pre-built computer or did
you somehow get it separately?

Isn't there a hidden recovery partition on the hard disk? If so, you're
supposed to hit some special key on bootup that tells the BIOS to load
the recovery program from the hidden partition to restore the OS
partition back to its factory-time image. Did you delete that hidden
partition to make use of its disk space for your own use?
 
R

R. H. Breener

VanguardLH said:
Some install CDs are BIOS locked. That means you have to use the
correct media to install on that hardware. The installer locks at the
firmware signature from the BIOS to see it the hardware is within a
family of products that the software will match. So you have to use the
install media that came with the computer. If you buy some oddball
"reinstallation" CD from, say, eBay then it might not work with the
hardware that you have. All those resinstallation discs are illegal but
eBay lets the sellers get away with selling them because eBay gets their
13% commission on the sale. Those discs are for reinstalls, not for new
installs which is what they're being sold for.
These disks came from HP itself for the Vista 32-bit PC. The second set were
made on that computer when it was new. I never had a computer reject the
disks that it made itself or came from the company who made the PC. And I
never had one not boot with a boot disk.
So was the first set of install CDs the ones that came with the
computer? Were the 2nd ones made using the procedure specified in the
terse owner's manual that came with the computer (probably on CD)?
Yes, first set came with the PC. Second set was made on the PC.
"not authenticated (or some such)" covers every error every reported by
anyone for anything. It's like saying "I think it's this or something"
where the "something" covers everything else. If the authentication
problem is when trying to validate the installation by entering a
product key then it could be the product key on the COA sticker doesn't
match the product being installed.
Nothing comes up asking for the number.

The COA sticker's product key is
unique to each pre-built computer; however, the product key in the image
the OEM'er slaps onto every host has the same volume key used to
pre-validate that image (you don't have to do validation when you get
the pre-built computer with pre-installed OS and software). A clear
report of what was the actual error message would help.

Did you get this computer as a pre-built? Was the OS pre-installed?
Was the installation media what came with the pre-built computer or did
you somehow get it separately?
I bought it brand new from WalMart with the OS already installed. It ran
like a dream until one day it it started locking up and freezing. One
problem after another that a System Restore and System Recovery didn't help.
So I took it to a tech who claimed a memory stick was bad removed it, did a
System Recovery and it worked OK the few times I used it. Then the Browser
problem started and the other problems it had started again. I did a chkdsk
c: /f /r on it first and that seemed to help, but the problems quickly
returned. I don't believe this is a memory problem. Two sticks going bad on
a computer hardly used?
Isn't there a hidden recovery partition on the hard disk? If so, you're
supposed to hit some special key on bootup that tells the BIOS to load
the recovery program from the hidden partition to restore the OS
partition back to its factory-time image. Did you delete that hidden
partition to make use of its disk space for your own use?
No, it was still there. I didn't use the disks themselves until after D:
failed. D: has the Factory Image and the 1st thing I tried. After I tried
to do the System Recovery using D: , that's when the PC crashed, said System
Recovery failed and it never booted again. So I rounded up the Recovery
disks. The recovery disks and boot disk wouldn't work. I'm going to try
and reach that guy this week if I can. It kills me to crapcan a computer
that's essentially new, hardly used.

I don't know anything about the BIOS or making changes there. I may make the
situation worse. Honestly, I don't know what to do with it but would love
to get it working again. I never needed to enter the BIOS before to tell a
computer to do a System Recovery. A choice is given on a screen where you
use a block to move up or down using the arrow keys.
 
R

R. H. Breener

David H. Lipman said:
HP doesn't make Windows.

Vista/32 branded by HP.

The vendor is not the flavour. Vista; Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium,
Business, Enterprise and Ultimate are flavours of the 32bit OS.

You need to contact HP. Most likely you'll have to buy a disk or a set of
disks.
Home Premium. I think the computer is a goner. I called the tech, now back
at his regular job and no longer doing this on the side at home. He said he
added a second HD, a Seagate, and made the old drive the slave. That's why
he had to contact MS for a Reg number. He kind of lost me there. Why would
he need a new Reg # when he had the original disks, both sets? He felt
beside the memory stick being bad the original HD may have had problems
also. But the new Seagate drive had the same damn problems. He had me
remove the Seagate but that didn't make any difference. Then he had me
remove the orig' HD and that made no difference either. The boot disk for
the machine will not boot up either HD. Where does this leave me? What are
my options now?
 
R

R. H. Breener

David H. Lipman said:
The COA should be a sticker on the computer and thus you have a valid
Vista keycode. You don't need another, you need the platform related
installation disks.
Where do I get those? The Vista Recovery disks for the computer came from
HP itself and one set was made from the computer. It has to be a valid key
code so why would he need to call MS? Why wont either HD boot with the
Recovery disks or the boot disk?

Googling the term "platform related installation
disks" brought up info I didn't understand.
 
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R

R. H. Breener

David H. Lipman said:
You get it/them from HP.

You tell them you removed a bad hard disk and replaced it. You need to
re-install Vista on the PC so you will need the disks to do it.

You may have to pay a nominal fee for shipping and handling for the media.
These are special disks from HP? I take it they're not the same ones that
came with the PC? Not the recovery disks for Vista?
 

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