formatting a hard drive

By Outlaw48 ·
I am about to format my hard drive and install a clean copy of Windows 7, as I have pick up a virus that has spread through my system. including the root drives, registries etc of Wndows. Three days of trying to get rid of it using just about all tools that i know of, HitmanPro, TDSS, Ion etc has not solved the problem.

My question is does formatting and reinstalling Windows remove the virus, or will it still lurk on the hard drive itself?

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All Answers

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Request for Clarification

by databaseben In reply to Clarifications

which virus is it?

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If you format it, it should be gone , unless

by markp24 In reply to formatting a hard drive


if you format the drive the virus will be off that drive, Querstion is,
Is it in the Bios?
Does it site on some external media also, IE external hdd, USB stick, in a file residing in Backups you made, In an email you have backed up, soem website you visit?
if so , you may reinfect yourself when accessing those items.

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external drives

by Outlaw48 In reply to formatting a hard drive

i have files saved on a flash drive as well as a CD, but I was planning to wipe them also, nothing I have can't be replaced.

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A few more precautions

by a.portman In reply to formatting a hard drive

Toss any USB devices that were used with the infected computer. Unplug the computer for 24 hours before reformatting the drive. It is possible for the virus to be in the memory. You may also want to pull the BIOS battery. That should clear the BIOS of anything. Write down the BIOS settings first, so you can get it set back correctly.

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which av program said you had a virus and which virus is it?

by databaseben In reply to formatting a hard drive

unless an anti virus program said the system has a virus, it is unclear how you can be sure you are infected.

sometimes, missing system files or corrupted system files can destabilize the system, as well as a virus could.

also a failing hard drive or loose cables or bad memory are some of the devices that can make your system unstable. and formatting the hard drive and doing a clean install will not help overcome faulty hardware.

the first thing i would try is to run a check disk, to ensure the master file table is reconciled with the files on the disk. if the master file table had become corrupted, then the o.s. can't find files needed to run the system proficiently. so a check disk will repair the mft.

it the above didn't help, the next step is to do a repair install instead of a format & clean install.

the repair will replace missing or corrupted system files with genuine ones. this will save you alot of time and heart ache with rebuilding the file system.

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Well formatting may not be enough

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to formatting a hard drive

The Typical Full Format that Windows does is to write to every Third Sector of the HDD leaving the remaining 2 Sectors untouched. Some Infections can survive the Format and are specifically written to survive a Format.

What you really need is a Tool like Boot & Nuke or Kill Disc which writes Zeros to every Sector of the HDD several times to eradicate all traces of any Infection on the HDD.

Both are Free Utilities and are available here though you will need to remove the space between the Domain Name and the .com

http://dban.sourceforge .net/

Get the DOS Version here

But I agree what told you that you had an Infection and what Infection did it report?


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Reponse To Answer

by markp24 In reply to Well formatting may not b ...

good Call Col

I agree if your gonna format do a DOD format with Dariks boot and nuke.

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Reponse To Answer

by Slayer_ In reply to Well formatting may not b ...

What would run the virus though if it survived? The file table is still removed, so the virus effectively is gone. Random 1's and 0's on a magnetic drive can't suddenly become executable code and run themselves. Windows will read the file table, see those sectors and empty, and write over them when it feels the need to, windows is never going to just go "lets try and execute any arbitrary line of binary code I find in this sector"

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Reponse To Answer

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to Well formatting may not b ...

Slayer I'm not sure how it is done mainly because I stopped punching code quite a few years ago and haven't followed the latest in Programing. But it ispossible and it's not a Hardware Infection/Attack

But I have seen examples of Infections designed to survive a Format. I've had to clean up several of them on Client Machines so now I always Wipe before reinstalling.

The first ones that I dealt would reappear after you had most of the software reinstalled but latter they didn't reappear straight away, but within about week they did reappear and I had to repeat the entire reload process. It's fabulous to be on the Cutting Edge of Infection Removal you get to learn all the new tricks that are coming. You also get to redo a lot of your own work. X-(


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was not a virus

by Outlaw48 In reply to formatting a hard drive

I thought it was a virus as did the company i used to repair it, as the internet kept crashing every time i clicked on it. Which explains after 3 days no one could find a virus. I had a friend that works in the IT Dept come over to help me reinstall Windows 7. When he attempted to load it would get to 15% then just quit loading (gave some kind of file exception code). after 2 tries he thought it might be a bad memory stick, I have 4 gig memory Two (2 gig sticks). When he pulled one out it still had problems, so he put it back in and pulled the other stick, and it loaded with no problems. He set everything up , and now it is running fast and no problems at all. So I may replace the memory stick, thou I do not know it seems to run just as fast on just 2 gigs. Since i do not use any high intensity graphics. Just the internet and play a few games is all.

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