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Power cut off by virus- scammed SSD laptop


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#1
alison06

alison06

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Hi there,

This is my first post, sorry if I make any mistakes (and sorry for the post being so long) :unsure: . I bought a discontinued SSD laptop from ebay last year- big mistake, the seller scammed me selling it as brand new when it was actually used for a year before I got it (I found his photos). I only used it for 6 months,now the laptop shuts off less than 20 seconds after I press the power button or doesn't power up at all.

The series of unfortunate events :( : From the beginning Kapersky was never able to install, popups always appeared at startup as updates for Adobe Acrobat and Java or as chat log-ins for Yahoo and MSN (these programs appeared in the programs list in Control Panel). The laptop also froze occasionally esp. when online and once or twice the screen blacked out and restarted automatically. The whole time Windows Firewall was always on but Windows Defender never found anything. I installed Comodo Internet Security 2 weeks ago. A week after that I got a BSoD (the blue screen appeared).

The current problem started 2 days ago when the laptop suddenly lost power 15 minutes after startup while I was online, as if the plug had been yanked out but it hadn't. I pressed the power button and it began booting up but seconds later the power went out again. Pressing the button again immediately did nothing. It seemed to need a few minutes of being left alone to be able to start the normal boot-up sequence when the power button was pressed again, but every time it would turn off after several seconds and the next time I turned it on the boot-up started from scratch all over again (then turned off again). The laptop was using mains power at the time and the light indicating it was plugged in never went out. This problem started after 2 days of not having used the laptop (4 days ago).

I suspect malware was afraid of being found by Comodo and retaliated. However, Comodo never got the chance to do a full scan, just a quick scan that found nothing when I installed it 2 weeks ago. I didn't open Comodo after that actually, since I was going to let it scan when I wasn't busy because it was such a drag on resources.

Here are the basic specs:
Windows 7 Home Premium, 64bit
Intel Core 2 Duo SU9400;
RAM 2.0 GB, DDR3 SDRAM - 800.0 MHz;
Hard Drive 128.0 GB SSD;
Network adapter Data Link Protocol Gigabit Ethernet

I haven't backed all of my data up, so I'm hoping to find a way to transfer my data first. Does anyone know how? Would I have to remove the SSD and take it to a PC technician? Then I'd like to wipe out everything since the virus seems really resilient but SSDs can't really be cleanly wiped. Would formatting from the OS disk be able to erase all the malware?

I didn't get the chance to do HijackThis. I searched through 8 pages and the closest posts I found are here. I hope this might make it a bit easier:

Computer shuts off by itself

System won't boot, restarts after BsoD

Complete crash and restart at random

Sorry this post is so long. I guess I crammed in too much :blush: Thank you very much for reading this.

Cheers,
~Alice
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#2
RKinner

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I don't think the malware was afraid of Comodo. It's not that good an anti-virus. What you are describing sounds more like a hardware problem. A software problem would usually have given you a BSOD. Try taking the battery out and see if you can boot. Try and get into BIOS/CMOS Setup. (it should tell you what key to press when it gets to the PC maker's logo screen) The power supply could have failed. (Have you tried booting without the power supply but with the battery?) I suppose it could be having heat problems and shutting down but usually that will let you boot a bit before it pulls the plug. You could also pull the SSD and see if it will then boot into Setup. Could be it has failed and is loading down the power supply. Try removing the RAM and see if it will power up. (Don't touch the gold pins and watch out for static electricity as this is heating season and the air tends to be very dry. Use a wrist strap or hold on to ground while handling the RAM.) If there is a CD/DVD drive, try removing it and see if it will boot into Setup.

To recover your data you can probably use a USB - SATA adapter. Amazon has them for less than $10. http://www.amazon.co...U/ref=pd_cp_e_2

Erasing an SSD for malware purposes is different than erasing a drive for classified info. You just need to delete all of the partitions then overwrite the MBR. (Check the SSD maker's website for software to do that or get something like mbrwizard http://mbrwizard.com/ (You could run the windows version on the PC that you use to rescue your data just be careful to have it delete the partitions and mbr on the correct drive.) Then reload windows. It will create a new partition as part of the install and should also give you a new MBR.

Ron
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#3
alison06

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Thank you so much Ron, for replying :). I'm reading your post just now.

Oh dear. I think I'm really screwed. I decided not to transfer warranty to my name because I was so sure it wasn't a hardware problem but now it's too late (Dell takes around a month to transfer the warranty but it expires this month; they're so mean they wouldn't even cover the flickering monitor saying it's second-hand). Sorry for the rant there, I just had to get that out.

Sorry for having so many questions, I'm learning as I go. I never thought it was a power issue (how silly of me). Should this topic somehow be transferred to the Hardware section?

I'll start with the software side- what do I do if I do get into BIOS/CMOS setup, could you be specific?(Sorry) Can I use the recovery OS disk instead?

*Is the point of removing the SSD and RAM to get BIOS/CMOS to boot up?
*Should I try powering up without both the SSD and RAM, or just without SSD and then without RAM?
*Do I remove the battery then put it back if it doesn't work and afterwards remove the SSD/RAM?

I just found this help post- 'won't power up' today.
I don't think it's the monitor since the keyboard doesn't light up. Plugging in an external HDD would transmit viruses and is kind of pointless right? I'll try connecting it to an external monitor, just in case.

Do you think the motherboard is broken? Other posts on that site have similar issues: damaged DC plug/internal power connector is broken (the one that is on the motherboard);(PXE-E61 Media test failure)
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I'll need to buy equipment to open the case <Adamo Teardown>.
It says I shouldn't use it as disassembly instructions but I don't see any other way. Sorry if this is inappropriate but I've never done this so I need a lot of clarification on no-brainers like:

Would you know what the name of the tool being held in the second picture for 'step 9' is? Is it the best tool to use for disconnecting the ribbon cable?
When reconnecting the orange cable, would I need tweezers (I can't touch it right)?

These parts don't seem to be mainstream- the battery is the first pic at 'step 11'; SSD is third pic at 'step 12' (I couldn't believe it). The motherboard is on the next page. Any advice?
----------------------------
I've never done any of this before. It's going to take several weeks for me to get a SATA drive reader, SATA to USB adapter and all the tools needed to open the case and take the components out. I'm studying and working (not IT related, obviously) so I'll try to find time to get to it.

I live in Australia, so it's not going to be easy getting all that without turning to ebay (and Amazon) without getting burned. This piece of junk laptop was bought on ebay, so I'm very apprehensive.

Ron, I'm deeply grateful for your expertise. Sorry for taking so much of your time (I'm a newbie at all this).

Many thanks,
~Alice
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#4
RKinner

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Can't say I've ever tried to take one of these apart but I doubt that you need a special tool. Just a screwdriver with a thin flat blade that will fit in the groove so you can move the locking mechanism to one side. You could just grind down an old screwdriver if its blade was too big. Wider is probably better than thin in case you have to pry the plastic apart. Less damage to the finish. The website you sited wants to sell tools so naturally they say you need a special tool.

The ribbon cable connector is being taken apart with a plastic spudger like the one sold on the website. I have taken these apart with a small flat bladed screwdriver. Just be patient and don't use a lot of force. Make notes on how the cable goes or better take a picture.

Before I would take the thing apart since it is not going to be easy I would test the power supply. If you do not have a voltmeter then take it to a shop and ask them to test it for you. I wouldn't think it would cost too much.


what do I do if I do get into BIOS/CMOS setup,


nothing. This just shows that the power supply and the motherboard (and anything else still attached to the laptop) are good or at least not preventing a boot. If the hard drive is still connected then it may need to be reloaded.

You are just trying to remove things to determine if something is keeping it from booting and hopefully to isolate the problem to a single replaceable component. Have to say when I gave the advice to remove the battery, hard drive and RAM I was thinking of a standard laptop which is much easier to disassemble. This thing is a real bear.

Ron
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#5
alison06

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Wow, you replied on the same day I posted! Thank you Ron :) I just saw your new post today :unsure: (sorry for the delay). I've been getting ready to buy a 30GB USB in case the laptop does remain on long enough for me to transfer my files over, when I turn it on for the first time since it shut down (although that will probably transfer viruses to it >.<). I'll be recharging the battery since it's probably empty by now (last on 5 weeks ago).

I know it's wishful thinking but I've got my fingers crossed. None of the major electronics stores sold SATA drives. So far I haven't been able to find them anywhere without going online, but I'm worried about getting a repeat of the mess that's happened even if it'd be on a smaller scale (scammed SATA drive + scammed laptop).

I haven't had time to do much. I can't think of anymore questions to ask on disassembly, but when I get started I'll probably think up lots since I'll be out of my comfort zone in hardware repair(being opening up tower case to carefully wipe away dust and then carrying it to the computer shop when that fails, but at least I don't kick it like some do).

After I fix that (hopefully I will), I'll research MBR Management (for starters I know it stands for Master Boot Record :happy: ) although I think I'll end up asking you for advice on it later on.

As always, Many Great Thanks!
~Alice
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