A little XP Trouble

By dcmjoker ·
I'm running windows xp home edition, a few weeks ago it started acting up and would shut down within 2-3 minutes of being on I would get the blue screen explaining my hardware devices had malfunctioned or something and I figured that I'd have to reinstall windows. But somehow I managed to fix it.

Even though it now runs and allows me to download antiviral programs and such so that I can clean it up it won't let me access my task manager, change my background from a color to a picture, or access my firewall; even on the administrative account that I've repeatedly checked the settings for( just to reassure myself I had admin functions)

Any ideas?

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All Answers

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Sounds as if you have picked up some kind of infection

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to A little XP Trouble

If you can get your AV & Spy Ware Programs updated can you access these functions in Safe Mode?

If not I would consider removing the HDD fitting it to a USB caddy and then saving all your data from that drive if you haven't already done this and then wipe the drive with something similar to Boot & Nuke available for download here

This writes zeros to every sector of the HDD and deletes any infections that are on the drive but also any data that you have stored there so you need all your data backed up first. If you have encrypted any of your data you'll need to save the encryption Keys as well and the directions for doing that are listed here

or you can do an in place install following the directions listed here

But if you already have an infection just doing an in place install will not cure your existing problem.

You may be able to clean out the drive by fitting it to a USB caddy and running both AV and Spy Ware Scans on it on a different computer that is well locked down but even still you run the risk of infecting that machine depending on what you have caught. This should be very unlikely but you need to know this before you start and have everything important backed up so if necessary you can just Blow Away the Installed Software on that other computer and reinstall it all from scratch on both computers.

I've been there done that and it's painful when it happens.


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by dcmjoker In reply to Sounds as if you have pic ...

I was so affraid of that, the one thing I was trying to avoid was reinstalling windows and creating backup files, because I have an extensive collection of graphics I've made and programs, and fonts, bitmaps, gradients, and so on but I kind of had a feeling it would come to this.

Thanks for the help I'll let you know how it turns out

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Well in that case it's even more important to have a Backup Plan in Place

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to AH

As there are always hardware failures that can cost you thousands of $ to recover your Data.

At one business that I do some work for they have just spent $25,000.00 AU to recover data off a HDD that was mission critical to the business. Even then it took about a week to get the data back and it cost them far more in lost production that what the actual Data Recovery cost.

But at least they are now listening to me and have a decent DR Plan in place so that this never happens again. You have to remember that Computers Are Not Reliable and do break so it's vital to Backup everything as often as possible. As I say to all my clients I can have a new computer in the building within a few hours but I can not recover one Byte of your data if the existing machine has been destroyed or stolen and that is the expensive bit of any computer the Stored Data.


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Recover Hard Drive

by blazinride In reply to Well in that case it's ev ...

Hey, even if the windows installation is screwed up, you can still recover your files. You have several options, first you can put the hard drive in another windows machine, and then copy the data off of it, or you can do a parallel installation of windows. What you would do is just install windows in the same hard drive, (Whatever you do don't format the drive, choose to leave the filing system intact) but to a different folder. This will allow you to access all the files off the hard drive, back them up, and then wipe the drive clean. PM me if you need step by step instructions.

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That only works if the drive is still working

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Recover Hard Drive

In this particular case the drive wasn't spinning up and the read write heads where flicking from stop to stop.

When you get hit with one of these there is No Alternative by to send them to a Data Recovery House as most people don't have access to a class 1 Clean Room to dismantle the drives and read the platters of the machines that have been specially constructed for this purpose.

If it's just a corrupt Windows Install that's easy and even if some one has accidentally formated the drive even that fairly easy though a lot more expensive with software like On Tracks Easy Data Recover Professional.

But once the drive is dead there is nothing that anyone can do about it without spending a large amount of money.


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I've run into this before.

by mjd420nova In reply to A little XP Trouble

It turned out to be one of the root kit type of worms and was unrecoverable as far as the OS was concerned. I was able to mount the drive in another unit and remove all of the data I deemed essential. Caution is paramount, be sure the unit it gets mounted in is protected with anti-virus and isolated from the network to prevent the escape of this nasty bug. It had initially attacked the driver for a USB web camera. I was then able to delete the partition and reinstall the OS. I fought this one for almost 8 hours trying to recover with a back up, but the thing was still there. I thought the only step left was to return to the default BIOS, thinking it had done a BIOS reflash but it hadn't got that far. WHEW, that was my last resort but it wasn't needed. Good luck

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by blazinride In reply to I've run into this before ...

Your one hundred percent right, but his description is of a software problem with the install of windows, it sounds that the hard drive is still physically spinning.

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Yes the original description sounds like some form

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Hal

Of infection, but in this case I was attempting to push home the need for some form of DR Plan to be incorporated here as there are several GIG's of data that this person Can Not Afford to Loose but they are relying on the reliability of a HDD to achieve this which is never a good idea. Particularly when for only a few $ you can have a solid DR Plan in place that prevents the need to send a drive to a Data Recovery House in the first place.

I've just seem way to much of the She'll Be Right Mate Attitude to like it as I don't like to be the bearer of bad tidings.


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