My Dell E520 running XP had a Trojan virus (maybe more than one) and all attempts to remove it failed - it kept coming back after being apparently deleted by Sophos, MalwareBytes or Norton tools. I copied my important documents to an external hard disk and tried to wipe the infected hard disk back to Dell Factory settings using the Restore partition (pressing CTRL-F11). This has worked once before when I somehow had some missing XP files and the PC would not boot. This time the Restore operation did not work - went part way through and then said the backup image was corrupt and stopped. Until this the system would boot up fine and was usable though still had the Trojan popping up - I kept it disconnected to the Web from the time I first detected the Trojan.
Now, after the failed attempt to use the Dell Restore, it wont boot up and stops at a black screen with a blue band at the top saying www.dell.com and a message below in white text saying "Loading PBR for descriptor 2 .. done" and then a flashing cursor on the next line.
I have seen on the web that lots of other people have had this message but I dont know how to proceed now. I dont have an original XP disk (I found out) because Dell use this Recovery partition thing - but this is no good if you have a virus. I dont know whether just paying out (reluctantly) for a new copy of XP would fix this. Dell will only help by charging me a lot and want to charge full MSoft price if I just want the XP disks.
I have downloaded a couple of boot disks that are supposed to help (from reliable sources I believe) - one would not boot but the other one (Avira) showed that my C: drive is no longer visible though my D: drive is (another partition on my HD) and also some other partitions which I think are system or recovery partitions are also still visible from the Avira boot disk.
Can anyone help please? I'm reasonably technical (eg I can program in lots of languages) but have not done much at this malware fixing / operating system level.
So to summarise - can I fix this problem by buying a new XP disk and reformatting and reinstalling? Or does this MBR business mean that wont work. I'm not worried about wiping this hard disk as I have copied the important data, though not any drivers as I did not think of that.