Before I start, I'd like to thank in advance anyone who is able to offer me help. I don't have the 'smarts' to be able to diagnose my current problem, so your help will be greatly appreciated and warmly welcomed.
Now, just one other thing I should mention...
I had no password for administrator and was logged on as administrator automatically. Yes stupid I know, but this is the first time in 16 years that I've had any problems, so I thought I was fine...
Now on with the story...
Wife received an email claiming to be from Australia Post. It included a zipped file that contained and executable file called Attached Document.exe. Wife ran the executable file inside a sandbox provided by Avast and things started to go wrong with the computer.
Over the course of the day the computer became slow and eventually crashed. It would reboot fine most times, but sometimes would not be able to locate any drives DVD or HDD. No specific pattern at all, but at no time did it fail to boot properly when it was able to find the HDD.
This machine normally runs 24x7 and has done so for quite some time. The possibility of a hard drive failure is there, but I'm not sure its that...
Anyway, I ran Anti-virus (Avast Free) and was warned there was a virus. Stupid me did not take a note of the virus type and just allowed Avast to clean the problem files up and rebooted as instructed by Avast. Problem appeared to go away for some time but returned within about 3 hours. Ran Avast again, but no virus found this time.
Rebooted PC and all appeared normal. Left PC on overnight and when I tried to use it the machine would not respond power light on but HDD activity regardless of any keyboard or mouse activity.
Rebooted the PC using power button and managed to get back into windows after a four tries. Decided to browse the C drive, but could not see any files. Used file manager to adjust the settings to show hidden files and there they were. It appears that all the files had their attributes changed to hidden.
After several hours work and many aborted attempts finally got to the point where the folders and files were visible. Then PC hung again.
Rebooted using Hiren Boot CD 14.1 and ran anti-virus from there. All seemed fine.
Used partition tool to delete main boot partition (all my data was on another partition) and create new partition. Did a full reformat to NTFS and then rebooted to ensure the OS had gone. PC complained about no OS.
Installed Windows 7 trial to test if the problem was Windows XP also seemed like an opportunity to verify if my hardware (three years old +) would work with Windows 7. Did not register the installation. Install went fine and machine booted up OK. Response seemed fine and machine behaved better than with the old Windows XP.
Left the machine running overnight. Tried to check the web in the morning and the machine did not respond at all. As if the thing had forgotten it had a hard drive in it. Noticed that it was very quiet and no HDD spin noise. Cannot recall if this was the case when it had locked up previously.
Thought maybe it was my hardware and Windows 7 not being compatible so used Hiren Boot Disk to remove the Windows 7 partition, create a new partition and format it to NTFS. Also did a 'format /mbr' to reset the master boot record.
Reinstalled my Windows XP and plus the main-board, video card and monitor drivers. Also installed and ran a full Avast anti-virus check no sign of anything wrong at all. Again all seemed fine until I left the machine for a short while. On my return it was unresponsive. Managed to reboot and run an anti-virus again all was good.
I spat the dummy and went to bed leaving the machine running. This morning machine was unresponsive. Rebooted and windows wanted to check the disk before starting.
[*]First time round it failed to run at all rebooted from the power button.
[*]Second time round it got to about 23% then complained about 'index $I30 at 12554' but managed to get further before locking at 73% rebooted from the power button.
[*]Third time round it ran past 73% but complained that 'could not find GUR1.exe', 'could not find GUR1.tmp', 'could not find GUR2.exe' and 'could not find GUR2.tmp' before locking up again rebooted from the power button.
[*]Fourth time round it got as far as 83% and then complained about '$SDH in file 9' before locking up again rebooted from the power button.
[*]Fifth time round it got to the end of the check and just sat there rebooted from the power button.
[*]Sixth time round it did the same - rebooted from the power button.
I gave up and went to work.
Did some research about the $I30, GUR1 and GUR2 files and started thinking I had a serious problem.
So here I am.
First questions I have are:
Does this sound like a particular virus, malware or similar?
If so, can anyone help me fix it please?
If not, can anyone suggest what might be causing the problem?
I have just downloaded OTL.exe and will run it if the faulty PC will let me. If it runs, then I will post the output to my next post.
Thanks again for anyone willing to offer me help.