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can't get past "an unauthorized change was made to windows" RRS feed

  • Question

  • Over the last 2 weeks I have had this message and when I login, all i can do is access firefox (my default browser). Everything else is disabled. i have tried the validation process and although office was valid, my windows software won't validate. I did have PC Tools installed but i removed this 2 weeks ago when i had the same problem - immediately following that the validation process worked.

    It has now happened again. This time i am stuck! Help
    Tuesday, September 8, 2009 8:12 PM

Answers

  • Hello osteon77,

      Unfortunatly, while I was attempting to split someone else's post out of this thread,  the forums glitched and your Diagnostic Report post was deleted by accident.

    However, I did figure out the issue before it disappeared.

    Vista is in, what we call a 'Mod-Auth' Tamper state.  There are 2 types of Mod-Auth tampers.

    1)    A critical system file was modified On Disk - What this means is that the file, located on the hard drive, was modified in some way. This can be caused by a malicious program (spyware, malware, virus) or by manual file modification (by a user of the system). There is also a very small chance that an Update may fail in mid-update and cause this type of issue. As a safety mechanism, Updates are made so that if they fail, they roll back any updating that was done before the failure, but there is an off-chance that the roll back did not occur.

     

    2)    A critical system file was modified In Memory - What this means is the file itself (on the hard drive) is un-modified, but the code, from that file, running in the system, was modified in some way and is caused by a running program that is incompatible with Vista.

     

      Because there is No Mismatched files listed under the "File Scan Data-->" line of your Diagnostic Report, we know that your issue is an In Memory Mod-Auth and therefore caused by an incompatible program. This means there is a program install and Running that is trying to access parts of the OS that Vista does not allow, which by definition, means it is incompatible with Vista.

    NOTE: We have seen an increase in this type of issue and we believe it is unlikely that software writers are still making programs that are incompatible with Vista. Instead, we believe that a majority of the issues are being caused by Malware that are doing the same things (on purpose) as incompatible programs do (by accident).

     

      In addition to why a Mod-Auth occurs, it's also important to understand how Vista detects a Mod-Auth event. There is a Service that runs in Vista that detects a Tamper to a Critical System file. But this Service runs randomly, so if you were to install an incompatible program and run it, Vista (most likely) would not immediately enter a Mod-Auth  State and it could take some time for the Mod-Auth to be detected. The important point to note is that the moment Vista detects the Mod-Auth, you know that the program that is causing the Mod-Auth, is currently running.

     

       Below I have provided a number of steps to help you identify the program that is causing the tamper:
     
      First, go to
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/931699/ and confirm that you do not have any of the programs known to cause this type of issue.
     
      Second, in your Diagnostic report above, you can see the line that starts with 'TTS Error:' followed by a bunch numbers: M:xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx- This is the Tamper Time Stamp and it breaks down like this:

        (year)  (month) (day) (time in 24format) (millisecond)
    M:2009      09          08             ????                 ?????
    -

     

    Note: I also see a "K" type Tamper Time Stamp. The “K“ stands for Kernel Mode tamper. Once you remove the program that is causing the In Memory Mod-Auth tamper, the Kernel Mode tamper may be resolved as well. But a Kernel Mode Tamper can sometime indicate a Malware infection. To be on the safe side, we strongly suggest scanning your system with the Anti-Virus program of your choice as well as with the OneCare Safety Scanner for Vista (http://onecare.live.com/site/en-us/center/whatsnew.htm)


    Now that you know the time of the tamper, you can now try to connect that time with a program.

    1)    Login to Vista and select the option that launches an Internet Browser

    2)    Type into the browser address bar: %windir%\system32\perfmon.msc and hit Enter

    3)    When asked if you want to Open or Save this file, select Open

    4)     In the left hand panel, click Reliability Monitor

    5)    Click on the “System Stability Chart” above the date 09/08 

    6)    Below the chart, in the “System Stability Report” section look at the report titled "Software (Un)Installs for 09/08/2009 "

    7)    Look for any program that shows "Application Install" in the 'Activity' column.

    8)    Since the process that detects Tampers runs randomly, it can take up to 3 days for the process to detect the tamper and set Vista to a Tamper State. Because of this, please repeat steps 5) thru 7) for the dates 09/07/2009, 09/06/2009 and 09/06/2009  (or around the date the issue first occurred)

      This could tell you what programs were installed on or around the Tamper date and should help you narrow down the possible programs that could be causing the issue. Unfortunately, if you installed the program at some time in the past, but didn’t run it till now, this process may not be helpful.  The removal of any application you may have installed recently could go a long way to troubleshooting this issues.

     

    Note: Since everyone has different programs installed on their computer, it is extremely hard for support to figure out what program is causing the problem, but if you still need assistance in identifying the Incompatible Program, please create a no cost support request at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?linkid=52029

    Also Note: it has been found that Malware, such as Viruses and Trojans, can also be incompatible with Vista and can cause an In Memory Mod-Auth. A number of users (that were experiencing your same issue) have confirmed that a Malware infection was the cause. If you follow the above steps and cannot find a program that is causing the Mod-Auth, you may want to investigate if a Virus, Worm or Trojan may be to blame. You can contact PC Safety, which is a Microsoft group, which provides free assistance with Malware infections. I encourage you to use the ‘Windows Live Safety Scan for Windows Vista’ (http://onecare.live.com/site/en-us/center/whatsnew.htm) before contacting PC Safety.

    PC Safety:

    http://www.microsoft.com/protect/support/default.mspx

    http://onecare.live.com/site/en-us/center/whatsnew.htm

     Thank you,
    Darin MS

    • Marked as answer by Darin Smith MS Wednesday, September 9, 2009 8:59 PM
    Wednesday, September 9, 2009 8:59 PM