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XP Media Edition wont boot, malware related?

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This is a 3 year old Gateway GT5220. About 6 months ago my mother inlaw said her computer was not booting up, and wanted to know if I could fix it. While over the phone trying to help her, I could not exact her problem. So I guided her through a partial restore/reinstall of the os system. Well 1 month later, her computer had the same problem. So this time I got her computer and took it home to investigate further, and if I needed to do a reinstall, I wanted my internet cable vs her dialup for updates upon the reinstall of the OS.

Anyway, This time I did a destructive (full format) reinstall of the OS, since I did not know if it was a virus or what was causing this problem. And that she did not have, or had an expired mcafee virus protection on the computer. I told her it would be like brand new this time, and also found her a free anti virus from CNET that would work well with her slow dial up.

Well from september untill this past week, everything worked just fine on her computer. THis time I called my brother, and he recomended to come here for help.

1. After turning on the computer, it boots to first windows screen with options (f2 & f10), then has a brief(very brief that I cannot make out what is written) blue lettering on a black screen at the top of the screen, then goes to the Device listing screen, then boot from cd, then gives 3 seconds to choose (F11)recovery option. After that it does nothing, no activity from the hard drive and nothing on the screen.

I`ve tried
1. AVG rescue cd, it found 0 viruses, and 2 errors. but it would not list what errors it found.
2. tried (F8) safe mode, safe mode with networking, last known good configuration, debugging mode & start windows normally. All only with the same result, I can hear the hard drive for a split second make a noise, but still after that it`s 0 activity.
3. Also tried BIOS safe mode default settings, and optimized settings. And 1,2 & 3 boot options all set to hard drive, thinking it would get the hard drive to do a little more them a peep, but to no avail.

I know how to reinstall the os, but I don`t want to have to reinstall again, and not find out the problem.

Maybe a bad hard drive that acts up, or maybe she needs a surge protector on her phoneline???? I`m stumped.
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Hi, ;)


Lets give this a try throughout an External Environment, which simply means you will need to burn a boot CD with especial tools. You will also need a flash drive to move information from the troubled computer to a working computer. It is the only way we can see the progress of our actions. Save these instructions in your flash drive as a text file (use notepad) so you can have access to these while in an external environment (PE).

Here is what you need to do.
  • Download OTLPEStd.exe to your desktop. NOTE: This file is 93.5MB in size so it may take some time to download.
  • Once downloaded, insert a blank CD in your burner and click on OTLPEStd.exe.The executable includes the OTLPE_New_Std.iso and a copy of imgburn, a program to burn .iso files. When executed, the application will extract both and start the burning process automatically.
  • Once the CD is burned, boot the Non working computer using the boot CD you just created.
  • In order to do so, the computer must be set to boot from the CD first
    Note : For information click here
  • Your system should now display a REATOGO-X-PE desktop.
  • Double-click on the OTLPE icon.
  • When asked "Do you wish to load the remote registry", select Yes
  • When asked "Do you wish to load remote user profile(s) for scanning", select Yes
  • Ensure the box "Automatically Load All Remaining Users" is checked and press OK
  • OTL should now start. Change the following settings
    • Change Drivers to All
    • Change Standard Registry to All
    • Under the Custom Scan box paste this in

      %systemroot%\*. /mp /s

  • Press Run Scan to start the scan.
  • When finished, the file will be saved in drive C:\OTL.txt
  • Copy this file to your USB drive.
  • Please post the contents of the C:\OTL.txt file in your reply.

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I understand, and wish I could do all that, but I have no flash drive available at the moment. I`ll try to pick one up this week and post the results.

Thanks for the reply.
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:D ;)
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Never mind. catastrophic freeze up on recovery, seems I cut the power when recovery with back up just started :D . Then after restart, recovery froze on the please wait screen, and never went to the recovery screen. As luck would have it, I have a older gateway computer too, and the red recovery disc :D . this disc works on every gateway computer no matter what the problem. So I did a full format (destructive, erased all data, etc..) then took out the my red cd, and put the original OS recovery cd in, and bingo! recovery started! Since I did a full format of the hard drive with my red cd, their was no options, went straight to restoring windows XP.

I sure did not want to have to reinstall with out finding out the problem, but thats the way the ball bounced! :D

Thanks for the help JS.

P.S. If it happens to her computer again, I will come back here and follow your advice. Should have a flash drive by then ;)

Edited by Gambit66, 01 February 2011 - 08:29 AM.

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Thanks for the feedback. :D
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