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Dad's PC victim of malware - OS won't load - can't access


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#16
soonerskies

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Ok ... some results. I ran the "Long Test" on the first partition as per the above instructions. Recall, we had a power outage that aborted the initial run. Then on the second attempt, I wasn't able to stick around because of how long it was taking ... when I got back, the screen had gone black. It was like the video feed had gone to sleep and I wasn't able to wake it up. So I started the diags over again. I'm guessing since it had run earlier ... it ran through this next "long test" diagnostic, very fast (maybe 15 minutes vs 2-3hrs initial scan!). Anyway ... the diagnostics reported the first partion passed the "Long Test" and the "Short DST".

I started the "long test" on the second partition and, again, had to leave, my dad was going to watch it. Unfortuantely, the screen has continued to black out on us ... every time this happens, we haven't been able to wake it up and see the results ... so we've restarted the diagnostics a few times and have yet to catch a glimpse of the final results before the screen blacks out.

Any ideas on what might be causing the screen to blank out or a way to prevent that from happening? Anyway ... we will continue to try and get the diagnostics to complete on the second partition and let you know.
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#17
sempai

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I can't really tell what causing that black outs. Anyway please continue with the diagnostics and also let's try a different tool and hope it will give us some info.


Please download Farbar Recovery Scan Tool and save it to a flash drive.
  • Plug the flashdrive into the infected PC.
  • Start your computer using REATOGO-X-PE desktop.
  • Locate and open your flashdrive and double click on frst.exe to run the tool.
  • When the tool opens click "Yes" to disclaimer.
  • Press "Scan" button.
  • It will make a log (FRST.txt) on the flash drive. Please copy and paste it to your reply.

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#18
soonerskies

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Hi sempai ... sorry for the delay.

I tried running farbar tool ... no luck. I woould start the tool and after initializing it popped up a box saying "The tool will be closed now. You need to run the tool once more." I ran the tool "once more", maybe a dozen times with no success. :)

Also, ... we've still had no success on getting the seagate diag tool to run all the way on the second partition before it blacks out. It'll get ~40%, ~60% of so and then black out. We try moving the cursor around every once in a while, hoping that would keep it "awake" ... but that apparently isn't working either.

I just noticed something that has changed since running the seagate tool ... don't know if this happened when it was running and we had a power glitch or when it happened ... as I just recently noticed. I've posted a recent pic of the disk info that comes up when the machine tries to boot up. (See original pic of same screen posted earlier) A couple of things ... 1) the RAID_0 (whatever that is) status is marked as Failed. 2) The first drive partition now shows a size of only 31.5 GB when before it showed 698.7 GB ... maybe that's why the diagnostic ran so fast on partition 1. I didn't notice that before. It also calls it a "Non-RAID Disk" rather than a "Member Disk".

All I got for now. What's next ?

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#19
sempai

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Did you try to run a short test? If not then please give it a try.
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#20
soonerskies

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I ran the short test on both partitions and both partitions passed.

Edited by soonerskies, 10 October 2011 - 08:15 PM.

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#21
sempai

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Did you try to check the drives listed in the OTLPE Browse For Folder window to check for the Windows installation?
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#22
soonerskies

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Hi sempai ... I didn't explicitly check this last time. It seems like I have run OTLPE since the seagate diag ran on the first partition (and since the partition shrunk in size) and I don't recall noticing it. I will check when I get by ... hopefully sometime later today.

If I check for the windows installation and don't see it ... what would you recommend I try next? I suspect this will be the case. If I do see it, then what should I try? Just trying to get a few "what if" steps lined up, as it takes a while to make a trip over to my dad's house. Thanks! ... soonerskies

Edited by soonerskies, 12 October 2011 - 08:09 AM.

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#23
sempai

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Hi,

Just in case you see the windows installation... please choose that drive letter in the OTLPE Browse For Folder window and follow the rest of the instruction in post #2.

To be honest, I am running out of option on how to fix this. If you didn't see the windows installation, please give "Windows XP repair install" a try.
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#24
soonerskies

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I was afraid we were getting to the end of our options. :)

Question ... in the "Windows XP repair install" link you provided ... it says ...


"Next, Windows Setup will find existing Windows XP installations. You will be asked to repair an existing XP installation, or install a fresh copy of Windows XP.

If no installations are found, then you will not be given the option to repair. This may happen if the data or partition on your drive is too corrupted."


If I can't see the windows installation ... I suspect the repair install won't either ... in that case it says it won't give an option to repair ... do you know if I'll be given a chance to opt out of continuing at that point, as I understand, if it continues from that point, all data will definetly be lost? So, if it automatically goes to reformatting and reloading the OS ... we've lost it all. Reason I ask ... I've seen some companies that specialize in data recovery from "lost" disks ... depending upon the costs ... might try that as a last gasp option.

Perhaps this recovery is a lost cause ... but since we're running out of options ... would by chance any of your fellow geekstogo colleagues have any additional thoughts/advice???

I'll try to get over there and try and check these things out.

Thank you so much for your continued efforts and coaching in trying to resolve this! ... soonerskies
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#25
sempai

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Hi,

You will surely lose everything if you choose to reformat. However, there is an option to "Leave The Current File System Intact" when reinstalling Windows XP. This option will reinstall XP without data deletion. I haven't tried this method before because reformat-reinstall is the best method "for me" to install a fresh copy of Windows, but you can give it a shot if you want and on your own risk.

Follow the steps here: Reinstalling Windows XP Without Drive Format


would by chance any of your fellow geekstogo colleagues have any additional thoughts/advice???

I already did and your topic were discussed. :)
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#26
soonerskies

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would by chance any of your fellow geekstogo colleagues have any additional thoughts/advice???

I already did and your topic were discussed. :)


:) Thank you! :)


I fired up OTLPE and took a look ... and no, it still doesn't recognize the c: drive ... or anything useful pertaining to the original system. :yes:

It was late, and I wasn't up for trying the "reinstalling windows xp without drive format" procedure. One of the steps says "Select the C Partition" ... and later references the "Windows" folder ... so I doubt I'll get far with that process anyway ... as nothing has shown the c: or windows so far.

Do you have thoughts on what they must have corrupted to reach this state? Any ideas as to why the first partition "shrunk" in size after the seagate diags ran?

Is this last suggestion, "reinstalling windows xp without drive format", the last thing to try before suggesting wiping and reloading?... or are there other things to try? :)

Thanks again!
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#27
sempai

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Hi,

I can't think of a resolution to your problem, even a fresh install may not work here if there's hardware issue that we are not seeing. I don't know why the partition "shrunk" in size but the diagnostic tool will not make any changes.

Sorry I couldn't help and wasn't able to fix your problem.
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#28
soonerskies

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sempai ... thank you so much for trying!

I guess we're on a path to wiping the drive clean and reloading everything ... assuming the drive is not physically damaged. Can malware actually screw up a drive so bad that reinitializing and reloading are not possible? Is using the restore CD that came with the machine sufficient ... or is there a process I should go through to wipe/clean everything off the drive first? Would hate to reload and only have some malware written somewhere on the disk that survives the OS restoration from just using the restore disk. Is that possible or a concern? ????

I guess what I'm asking too is ... is there a link to instructions that describes the steps I would need to reinitialize/clean/wipe/whatever the hard drive and then reload the OS? Or do I just slap the restore disk in and follow the prompts?

Well ... bummer!!! ... it's sad there are people out there that does this to other's machines, as if stealing $'s isn't enough, they trash a 77 yo guy's machine and work ... but apparently there are quite a few of those sorts out there. :)

It appears we may have a backup of most of his work ... but I have read of some people having restore issues with this particular backup system... which seems odd for such a product. I haven't tried restoring any files to another machine ... I guess that's what I'll try next and see what we have.

Thanks again for your help ... I very much appreciate it! ... soonerskies
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#29
sempai

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I will just use the recovery disk and follow the prompts, this will wipe everything and bring the computer to its factory default.
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