Hey. New guy here…
I have come to these forums in search of help since I do not know where else to turn. I’ve tried everything I can think of and my computer still won’t work the way it’s supposed to. The symptoms are many, so bear with me as I tell you the story of how I got here.
About a month ago, a friend invited me to a game (Elder Scrolls Online). I figured I’d join him, but at the time I did not have sufficient space on my SSD, so I ordered a new 512GB. That drive finally arrived last week. I cloned the drive using Samsung’s Data Migration software, and everything worked fine… at least for a few days.
Bought and downloaded the game (125GB, mind you), and played it with no problems for all of three days. I would zone in and out of battlegrounds without a problem and was enjoying myself. Life was good. Unfortunately, about four days ago, I started getting an error called a 334, where you are disconnected from the server due to a variable IP. At least that’s usually the culprit. I tried many workarounds for this including power cycles, DNS flushes, antivirus software (AVG, Avast, McAfee, Kaspersky) and God knows what else. None of it worked. I was still getting 334’d. Sometimes I would load into the game world, but as soon as I tried changing zones, it would 334 me again… and then 334 me at character select. It was frustrating to say the least.
I couldn’t play ESO so I decided to load up good ol’ Diablo 2. When I tried logging into my account, I got a message telling me to open some ports I’d already opened and that the game server may be down for maintenance, but this was not the case. I knew for a fact D2 worked just fine for about a month prior to this, and that’s when I realized the problem wasn’t ESO; it was something else. Initially I thought the Windows Update from July 7th was causing problems, and looked for help on Microsoft’s forums and a few other places, but no one was able to fix the 334’s OR my Diablo 2 connection issues.
I was bored, not being able to play my new game, so I decided I’d watch this documentary I had on DVD. I looked for an app that could play DVD’s since Windows by default cannot, and came across Microsoft’s own “DVD Player” app. I could get it from the Microsoft Store for free, so I tried that. When the Store app launched, I got an error: “:( Try that again. Something went wrong on our end. Waiting a bit might help.”
A nice fellow on the MS forums told me to run a few commands in PowerShell to check for inconsistencies in Windows. A repair of sorts. I would post a link to the thread here if I had it on hand, but I have no way of finding the thread right now. My Internet history and recent bookmarks are gone since I’ve formatted more than once since then. In short, the solution failed. Nothing had changed. I was still getting the same problems in all of my games and apps.
So I did the last thing I wanted to do: a factory restore. It was my last resort as I was bound to lose a lot of my personal data (mostly music and pictures, but also a fair amount of work). Now here’s where it gets interesting…
After the factory restore was done, I had a barebones OS. No fancy apps. Just Windows 10 and Internet Explorer plus some assorted HP crap and McAfee AV. First thing I did was download Chrome. When I opened Chrome, the homepage was istartsurf. I believe it is part of a well-known virus. Removing the browser extension and infection wasn’t all that hard, or so i thought. I downloaded MalwareBytes and that took care of it. However, the Windows/MS Store was still giving me the same problem. ESO was still 334’ing me. I had to format and try again.
I’ve done EVERYTHING I CAN THINK OF to get rid of this stupid infection… Recovery Media, Factory Reset, in-place Windows upgrade, Windows repair tool (Settings -> Update & Security -> Recovery -> Reset This PC), selective startup, etc. etc. etc. By the way, that reminds me: the last format I had to do because when I went to update my nVidia drivers, it completely borked my Windows install. I do not remember what the exact error message was, but it had something to do with one of nVidia’s legit DLLs. After that, I was unable to boot to Windows, and yes, I tried all types of startup procedures… so I formatted and reinstalled once more.
I really hope I haven’t left too many details out. Doing the best I can to give you a good idea of what this might be. I do believe it’s a virus infection, maybe a resident virus of some sort. I cannot, however, identify any suspicious processes in the Task Manager. I’ve been fixing my PCs for a good 20+ years and this is the first time a virus has beat me. I do not have a clue what kind of virus it is, but I’m inclined to believe it is in fact a virus of some sort. I come to you guys in the hopes that someone more knowledgeable/experienced can help. Will be keeping an eye on this thread for a couple days, since I don’t want my new SSD to go to waste (barely has a week of use), but I understand if you guys are as mindboggled as I am.