Word and Excel completely disappeared from my system, and NOW...

Hi everybody, I'm new here and need your help if you have any to offer, I'm not a tech head, but I'm not an imbecile either, so here's the deal. In late August, Word disappeared from my system, not the icon, the entire program, and about six, eight weeks later, Excel followed. I never use PowerPoint and of course, THAT stayed. I cannot begin to tell you how much I have done by research and recommendation, and how many times I've been insulted by people who couldn't answer the question and had to make it something I did wrong to save face, I guess that's the way it works in their world, but not in mine, I can understand being stumped by something, even if you're well-versed in the subject.

Turns out that this has been happening more and more to people, not just home users like myself, but companies with hundreds of PCs. When people ask on the MS Forum, they get the same bit I did, but it doesn't have any application because they won't acknowledge that the program is missing, they keep thinking the icon is gone and people are going by that, and when you click on the version you have, in my case 2019, it just takes you to a site that tells you to go on the 365 subscription plan. You can imagine what I'm thinking. I went to another forum online for help, and they were like something out of an SNL skit, with one moderator telling me that Staples doesn't know how to install Windows, on a system that I've been using for five years at this point, and another moderator accusing me of using pirated software and being so far gone that I, buh duh, keep deleting programs from my system. I contacted MS support, was issued a ticket, and that was the end of that, I wrote back three times and not a reply. Bitdefender staff tried to help, but it came down to them wanting me to give them control of my system, and I might consider that if Christ came down from the cross and asked, but that's it, so i just said, no, thanks.

I've been using WordPad to get by because I'm completely overwhelmed, and then this week, I called up a very important file and it had been changed from RT to DOC. And big sections of it were corrupted; later in the document, pages repeated, but I could reconstruct it, but in the beginning, it's gone. I changed the font, I saved it as a PDF, I downloaded two file openers and they couldn't open it, I converted it to PD, nothing. When Excel went, I had a file that I desperately needed, and MS who has been shoving Adobe Acrobat at me and even downloaded a link I could purchase it from without my realizing in my travels, said it would open this file "in the cloud," which I don't do, but I wasn't loaded for choice, and I quickly printed it out so I would at least have a hard copy. If you're going to yell at me about back up, relax -- I just put a thumb drive in, and after the directory loaded, they titles all faded and it disappeared, so I called it back up and all of the RT files had turned into DOC with the same corruption. Oh, and I've tried to peel back the Windows Updates to August to see what happens, and it won't let me do a number of them. This seems like some sort of malware to me that is getting by Bitdefender, which, to my mind, means it must be very specific in purpose and from a source with a lot of,,,expertise. Anyone have any thoughts? Sorry, this is so long; I'd appreciate any help.

Best Answers

  • garioch7
    garioch7 Defender of the month ✭✭✭✭
    Answer ✓

    @DoubtingThomasina ,

    This seems like some sort of malware to me that is getting by Bitdefender, which, to my mind, means it must be very specific in purpose and from a source with a lot of,,,expertise. Anyone have any thoughts? Sorry, this is so long; I'd appreciate any help.

    Personally, I would be surprised if this was a malware attack, but I cannot speak with certainty. I am unaware of any recent reports of similar issues.

    We do not do malware removal in these Forums, but if you think it is malware, you could go to the *** Malware Removal Forum at BleepingComputer.com. *** Hover over the name to go to the link once you click it. There are specialists there qualified in malware identification and removal. The best is a gentleman who goes by the name "Oh My!" in my opinion. After registering, please follow one of the pinned posts in that Forum to learn what you should post (FRST scan logs). You could title your topic to the attention of "Oh My!".

    Without any concrete reason to believe that Bitdefender is not detecting malware, there is little that we can do here to assist you. That said, it would be great if you could let us know what malware, if any, was detected when your topic there is concluded. If malware is detected, then the programmers here would scramble to include that detection. By the way, what Bitdefender product are you running?

    Good luck, and have a great day.

    Regards,

    Phil

    Former Bleeping Computer Malware Response Instructor

  • Whoa, Phil, when I said about doing what I had to do on my PC, I meant ME, not anyone there! I trust what they do, myself and fate in general, not so much! I do appreciate your advice, and am grateful for it; I have already posted there as I said, but I have to really get my head around doing what I have to do for them to check my system, I could easily make a mistake that would cost me, and it's all a little overwhelming at this point. But do tell them to update the instructions, because it is the first thing you see, it will take up to 5 days (I'm not talking impatience with the wait time, but thinking of the backlog)...again, thank you!

Answers

  • Thank you SO much Phil, so good to not be spoken to like I spend all day sucking on gummies and smashing the keyboard with a hammer!

    I have registered with Bleeping Computer, but if you don't immediately think it sounds like a malware issue, I think I will repeat this post over there and ask for any ideas; they seem to have quite a backlog of requests for help from people who are having bigger problems than I with obvious malware, and I don't want to take up any of the experts' time if it is not necessary, nor do I want to do anything I will need to do on my PC unless it's absolutely necessary. I didn't expect anyone here to remove malware, I just wanted an intelligent take on what's been happening, to see if anyone else has been dealing with this. Frankly, I think Microsoft is behind this, and I am not the conspiracy theory type by a long shot, but when you add up two and two, it has to come to 4. I get in trouble for saying this because, apparently, there are tons of people out there who feel about MS the way people used to feel about their grandmothers, SO...

    Anyway, I use Bitdefender Antivirus Plus, and I will definitely report back on anything that may be of help to you all in this forum. Thank you again for your help and attention.

  • garioch7
    garioch7 Defender of the month ✭✭✭✭

    @DoubtingThomasina ,

    I would recommend that you post a topic in the Malware Removal Forum at Bleeping Computer. We do not mess up peoples' computers. Any tools we use to scan and fix are removed at the end of the process. No private information is available in the logs. We are VERY CAUTIOUS not to cause any harm to a computer that we are analyzing and/or disinfecting.

    The backlog over there is very short. What you are seeing is cases already under investigation. The only backlog topics are those with zero (0) replies. The instructions are old when we were inundated, and indeed, in those days it could take 5 days to get a response. These days, most new topics are taken and responded to within 24 hours and then the analysis disinfection process continues until it is resolved, which can take days or weeks, depending on what is encountered by the expert analyst/removal specialist. Only fully qualified people can take topics in that Forum.

    It would be good for you to get clarity about your concerns about a malware infection evading BD Anti-Virus Plus, so I really think you should follow the posting instructions in that Forum.

    It is YOUR computer, so it is YOUR call.

    Good luck, and have a great day.

    Regards,

    Phil

    Former Bleeping Computer Malware Response Instructor

  • garioch7
    garioch7 Defender of the month ✭✭✭✭

    Just an update to the BD Forum staff and volunteers, @DoubtingThomasina has opened a topic at Bleeping Computer to seek assistance. I think we should await the outcome of that assistance there.

    Have a great day.

    Regards,

    Phil

    Former Bleeping Computer Malware Response Instructor

  • Thank you for your help and follow up message @garioch7 👍️

    Premium Security & Bitdefender Endpoint Security Tools user

  • garioch7
    garioch7 Defender of the month ✭✭✭✭

    Just an update. The OP has apparently abandoned *** her Windows 11 topic *** at Bleeping Computer and never posted any FRST scan logs for analysis in the Malware Removal Forum. Her last post at BC was on 2023-12-29.

    Have a great day.

    Regards,

    Phil

    Former Bleeping Computer Malware Response Instructor

  • No, Phil, I haven't abandoned it, if you only knew what has been going on in my life since we last "spoke," just thank God you're not in a position to get stuck sitting next to me on the bus. I'm dancing as fast as I can, and do have plans to take advantage of all the good help offered to me as soon as I can, thanks.

  • garioch7
    garioch7 Defender of the month ✭✭✭✭

    @DoubtingThomasina ,

    Thanks for your post. I am glad to hear that you will be back to Bleeping Computer. It is, unfortunately a very common experience for us to have users just abandon their posts and never return for reasons unknown.

    Have a great day.

    Regards,

    Phil

    Former Bleeping Computer Malware Response Instructor

  • Yes, it happens here as well. Sometimes we also find that users just abandon their posts and never return. We did our best to setup default notifications, so they are informed of replies on their threads in good time, but of course these can be later adjusted according to user preferences. It's always nice to get some feedback and follow up comments whenever we try to help..

    I hope the situation gets resolved swiftly and thank you @garioch7 for lending a helping hand here.

    @DoubtingThomasina I hope you are well.

    Regards,

    Alex

    Premium Security & Bitdefender Endpoint Security Tools user

  • Wanted to pop in here quickly between the crippling snowfall of the other day and the wind/rain Armageddon preview we're expecting in an hour or two to say, thanks Alex, that's kind. I also want to say that, although I spend less time online than most people these days, I've had a lot of experience from earlier on, and have never, ever seen anyone bemoan an OP abandoning a thread like you folks. or at all. And I don't just mean my threads! Anyway, I will return ASAP...

  • Hi Phil, Alex, everyone, I posted the info requested in the thread over at BC, and like any virgin, I am as nervous as can be about it, please go over and check and see if I did it right and if the info is safe, etc., THANK YOU....

  • Hi @DoubtingThomasina,

    Off topic, i've noticed that your Bitdefender renewal went smoothly. 🙂 Thank you for choosing to renew your security solution with Bitdefender.

    In regards to the BC thread, I think @garioch7 can have a look there. 😁

    Premium Security & Bitdefender Endpoint Security Tools user

  • Hi Alex, I think Phil is mad at me...😬

  • I don't know what to say, I think it's unusual for Phil to be mad at anyone around here, he's always very helpful and courteous. 🙂

    Premium Security & Bitdefender Endpoint Security Tools user

  • I think he's a doll, but I upset people because I couldn't deal with taking the initial steps over on BP until this week, and I think some construed it as being unappreciative and mistrustful.

  • garioch7
    garioch7 Defender of the month ✭✭✭✭

    @DoubtingThomasina ,

    I apologize for not being here yesterday. In fact, I was so busy with automotive issues that I did not visit any Forums yesterday, including Bleeping Computer (BC).

    I saw your post in the Malware Removal Forum there an hour or so ago. You have concerns about running the FRST scan. iMacg3 will get that sorted out for you. It is not unusual for BC clients to experience some issues because FRST is sometimes flagged by various security products as unsafe, something that the developer, Farbar, is constantly addressing with those product vendors. I can assure you that FRST is safe to run.

    I don't know where you got the idea that I was "mad" at you. I am not. I have tried to help you as best I can. When I do very occasionally get offended by a post or person in a topic thread, I politely state that I am withdrawing from the topic for reasons that I politely elucidate.

    I have been a member of this Forum and Bleeping Computer since 2014. My track record is well known on those and other Forums that I frequent. Thank you, @Alexandru_BD , for stating your positive experience with my contributions here. That is very much appreciated.

    You are in good hands with iMacg3. It is a matter of BC protocol that I will not be commenting on your post in the Malware Removal Forum. I will be watching, but other malware removal specialists there do not intervene in a topic taken by a colleague. I hope you understand that.

    Good luck. As I told you initially, I don't think that your issue is malware-related or that Bitdefender is responsible, but I do not possess infinite knowledge. 🙄 You have another topic in the Windows 11 Forum that you can reopen once the malware topic is concluded to seek additional assistance at BC. Please keep us posted here on your progress.

    Have a great weekend.

    Regards,

    Phil

    Former Bleeping Computer Malware Response Instructor

  • Thank you; I haven't any doubt that Macg3 will do his or her best to help me. Hopefully, I'll be out of everyone's hair sooner rather than later, thanks!

  • Hello all, just want to tie up a few loose ends. No malware was found on my system, although, get this, when I downloaded one of the programs to check my system, something came in and attached itself to a receipt I had on my desktop -- I know this because Bitdefender came right in, and quarantined it. Nice work, thank you!

    I am very grateful for the malware assistance, make no mistake, but I really don't have my other questions answered, still no idea why my Excel file was corrupted (also found a PDF with corruption, it was a piece of nonsense that I didn't need, but what is going on with that?) No idea why my programs disappeared or why my files backed up on a thumb drive were all messed up when I downloaded them, marked as DOC. I am convinced that MS is going after people with their updates to force them into subscribing to 365. I've accepted that dealing with this is not something that people want to get into, it's scary when something you've grown so dependent on, to whatever degree, is suddenly not fully in your control.

    I did download LibreOffice before the malware scan in case anything toxic came in with it, so I at least have the ability to write a letter that doesn't look like the tech equivalent of tying a note to a rock and throwing it through someone's window.

    I've never had the kind of arrogance where you think what you're going through or what your planet is going through at any particular time is the worst that has EVER happened to ANYONE, but this is a dire point in the age of humankind. They say before we're born, we sign up to live certain lives at certain times in order to learn certain lessons and accomplish certain ends. What in the hell was I thinking, huh? Be well, be safe, and again, thank you!

  • garioch7
    garioch7 Defender of the month ✭✭✭✭

    @DoubtingThomasina ,

    Thank you for reporting back. I hope that you are able to recover your files intact or, at the very least, find out precisely what caused them to "disappear."

    Good luck, and have a great day.

    Regards,

    Phil

    Former Bleeping Computer Malware Response Instructor

  • Uh, they were programs that "disappeared," Phil. remember? Didn't even pay that close attention to the difficulty I am having, and of course, the quotes ARE cheaper than Viagra, even in Canada. Boy, did I misjudge you.You weren't here at all wanting to help, just to pimp for bleepingcomputer. God knows what I set myself up for by dealing with them, once they got their scan info, they just dropped me, wouldn't answer even the most basic question. I've said it before and I'll say it again: NASA, mind your own business and let the asteroid chart its own course, because this planet has been asking for it.

  • garioch7
    garioch7 Defender of the month ✭✭✭✭

    @DoubtingThomasina ,

    I am offended by your comments. I see no point in addressing them.

    For the information of the Forum members here, I am including the links to the OP's Bleeping Computer topics. You can draw your own conclusions . . .

    From my perspective, this is an object lesson of how some posters react to qualified volunteers trying to help the user. It is quite discouraging, but we all persevere to help those who really do appreciate our help.

    I am done here and there with this user.

    Have a great day.

    Regards,

    Phil

    Former Bleeping Computer Malware Response Instructor