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Dell running XP won't boot, seems stuck in some kind of loop. Ple


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#31
mary58

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It doesn't have an internal floppy drive.
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#32
Crag_Hack

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Hi mary58. I think I figured out how to fix the OTLPE setup (I have never had to operate on a computer like yours before - that's why I didn't how to set it up - thanks for your patience now hopefully we can make some serious progress). We will need a floppy disk to perform this procedure as well as a floppy drive on an uninfected computer. Your computer also might have come with the necessary drivers already on a floppy disk so that would work as well. Let me know if you don't have either the first combination or the preinstalled floppy disk. If you don't have the first combination or the preinstalled floppy disk you can set up a floppy disk with drivers at a friend's house or your nearest tech store or just buy a usb floppy drive and use it. We will need a floppy drive on the infected computer - since you don't have an internal drive let's try with the usb drive and see if it works. Please do the following:

  • Download this file on a working computer with a floppy drive.
  • Double click R82876.exe to run
  • Put a floppy disk into your floppy drive
  • Click the Continue ... button
  • It will take a minute or so to copy the driver files
  • The program will say Diskette creation successful. if all goes well
  • Click the Finish button to close the program
  • Download Farbar Recovery Scan Tool and save it to a flash drive (unless you already have it)
  • Download ListParts and save it to the same flash drive (unless you already have it)
  • If you don't have the OTLPE cd anymore please recreate it:
    • Download OTLPENet.exe to your desktop on a working computer
    • Ensure that you have a blank CD in the drive
    • Double click OTLPENet.exe and this will then open imgburn to burn the file to CD
  • Before you boot off the cd be aware you have to press F6 during the first seconds of the boot or you won't be able to load the hard disk drivers - if you don't hit F6 in time just restart and try again. Also make sure to hook up the usb floppy drive before you turn on the computer.
  • Reboot your infected system using the OTLPE CD
  • The system will say Starting Reatogo-X-PE ... and have a progress meter below
  • It will also say Press F6 if you need to install a third party SCSI or RAID driver...
  • Press F6
  • Press S to specify a disk controller for use with Windows
  • Insert your floppy disk in the drive of the infected computer
  • Press Enter to read the disk
  • Select the AHCI Controller entry and press Enter
  • Press Enter to continue loading Windows with the driver you specified
  • Your system should now display a Reatogo desktop.
    Note : as you are running from CD it is not exactly speedy
  • Navigate to My Computer and see if your main drive is present (you can check by opening it and verifying the Windows and Program Files directories are present)
  • If OTLPE picks up the drive we win and follow the rest of the instructions. If not let me know and I will get back to you.
  • Run FRST by navigating to the flash drive then open FRST.exe
  • The tool will start to run.
  • 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
  • Run ListParts by navigating to the flash drive then open ListParts.exe
  • Press the Scan button.
  • When finished scanning it will make a log Result.txt on your flash drive.
  • Please post me the contents of the log.

Things to see in your next post:
FRST.txt
Result.txt

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#33
mary58

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Still not recognizing my main drive. I do have 2 CD drives and it is showing both of them, if that helps in anyway. I'm baffled as to why when I boot up with the Xpud disk that it shows my main drive but not when I boot with the OTLPEN disk.
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#34
Crag_Hack

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Was OTLPE able to read the floppy drive after pressing F6 etc? Were you able to choose the AHCI controller driver?
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#35
mary58

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Yes and Yes That part all seemed okay but OTLPE still didn't recognize my main drive.
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#36
Crag_Hack

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Try again this time use the RAID controller driver. If that doesn't work then try using both the AHCI & RAID drivers. To do this you would just press S to load each driver one after the other at the driver load screen.
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#37
mary58

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It's still not showing my main drive. I tried loading both drivers, it looks like that all works right but then my drive still doesn't show.
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#38
Crag_Hack

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Hi Mary58. We unfortunately have run out of options to use to attempt to non-destructively restore your computer to working order. The only option left is to use the recovery partition to reinstall Windows on your computer. This is a hidden partition on your hard drive that contains an image of the Windows setup as shipped from the factory. You will lose all data and programs installed after you first got the computer (this is why this option is considered a destructive option). For this reason it is important if you choose this method to back up all your data you want to preserve and make sure you have copies of all programs that were not downloaded to your computer that you will need to reinstall. Another options is of course to buy a new computer. Your computer was shipped on 6/2/2005 according to Dell's website which makes it about 7 years old. Computers typically only last about 3-5 years of average use. Please let me know which option you prefer so I can assist you if you desire.
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#39
mary58

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How do I back up my data? Afer I have done that I would like to try to reinstall windows on this computer, I am aware that, that is only a temporary solution due to the age of this machine.
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#40
mary58

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I can back up to my external hard drive, I just need to know how to do it.
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#41
Crag_Hack

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Hiya Mary58. Just did a backup myself using xPUD - will have instructions for you on how to do it very soon.
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#42
Crag_Hack

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Hi Mary58. Backing up your files is very easy. Simply hook up your external hard drive to your infected computer, boot from the xPUD CD, navigate to the file section, then select the data to copy with your mouse on the right side of the file explorer, right click it and select copy, navigate to the external drive and right click in the folder you want it to be and select paste. It's just your average file explorer almost like Windows (no drag and drop though from when I tried). Your main drive should be /mnt/sda2 and your external drive should be /mnt/sdb1 - you can check to make sure by verifying your external hard drive files are present in /mnt/sdb1 or whichever one it is and the same for the main drive. Don't forget your bookmarks from IE/Chrome/Firefox depending on which you use. If you don't know how to back that up let me know and I will assist you. Also don't forget to back up your email data if you use an email program like Outlook Express/Outlook/Thunderbird. The same goes if you don't know how to do that. And finally know that some programs do not store their data in the My Documents folder but instead in their program files folder or somewhere else so you might want to look around the whole drive just to make sure you got everything. You also might want to hook up the external drive to another computer and verify you got all the data before you invoke the recovery partition. In order to invoke the recovery partition navigate to this pdf file and go to page 57 under section Using Dell PC Restore by Symantec. Let me know if you have any other questions/problems and if you don't need any more help. Glad to be of help to you. :thumbsup:
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#43
mary58

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I'm working on backing things up. It might be a couple days before I can get to doing the recovery part. I'll let you know if I need any assistance.
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#44
mary58

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I got everything backed up and used the Symantec Restore. I've got the most important things back on this machine and got my printer hooked back up. Just a side note,in case this happens to anyone else, while on the restore screen my machine recognized my wireless keyboard, but not the wireless mouse, I had an old mouse with the round connector and plugged in it and it worked fine. Thanks again for your assistance.
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#45
Crag_Hack

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Hi mary58. Unfortunately we cannot disinfect every infection we encounter as shown in this situation (we can do most though). I would like to provide you with my stay clean speech you can read if you want to stay safe. What follows are guidelines to keeping your computer malware-free.

You absolutely must have an antivirus program installed. This is important because the antivirus program runs in the background of the computer and prevents viruses from both infecting the computer and doing malicious things to the computer. This can prevent many infections in the first place. Just as a city without police would be chaotic so would a computer with an anti-virus program. I recommend the free programs Avira AntiVir Personal and avast! Free Anti-Virus . Also make absolutely sure to only have one anti-virus installed as more than one can slow your computer, create software conflicts, and increase your vulnerability to viruses and malware.

It is also advised to have an anti-spyware program as well. I recommend the paid version of Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware. This program complementing your anti-virus can protect your computer from most infections out there. Make absolutely sure to only have one anti-spyware installed as more than one can slow your computer, create software conflicts, and increase your vulnerability to viruses and malware.

A program to add additional protection is Spybot Search and Destroy. You can download it here. To use it to protect your computer install it then do the following regularly at your concenience (once a week is adequate):
  • Run Spybot S&D
  • Click "Search for Updates"
  • Click "Continue"
  • Click "Download" - ignore if it says "please select some update files from the list first"
  • Click "OK" in update window if it prompts you
  • Click "Exit" in update window when update finishes or if Spybot said "please select some update files from the list first"
  • Go back to Spybot main window
  • Close Internet Explorer/Firefox/Chrome if they are open
  • Click "Immunize"
  • Wait for the progress meter to complete
  • Click the "Immunize" button with the plus sign next to it towards the top of the window
  • Wait for the progress meter to complete
  • Close the program
And one last program to add additional protection is Panda USB vaccine. This program disables the autorun rile on removable devices. You can vaccinate both a computer and a removable device. To download and run refer to here.

Another important thing to have installed is a firewall to secure communications to and from your computer. The firewall prevents inbound communications from the Internet to your computer that could be malicious in nature. Some firewalls also regulate outbound communications from your computer to the Internet that could be malicious as well. Inbound communications can take advantage of security holes in software running on your computer to gain control of your computer and infect you with malware. Outbound communications can be from malware on your computer to malicious websites on the Internet, containing information about your computer usage and even your passwords. For these reasons it is essential to the security of your computer to install a firewall. Make sure to only install one firewall as any more than that would prove to be redundant - one firewall is just as effective as multiple ones. Also more than one firewall could cause software conflicts. This applies to the Windows firewall as well - if you use a third-party firewall make sure to disable the Windows firewall. I recommend ZoneAlarm Free Firewall or Comodo Firewall.

Besides these measures, an equally important step to take to protect your computer from malware is to update all programs regularly including Windows Updates. Windows, Java, Adobe Flash, PDF readers, and other programs have security holes in them that leave your computer vulnerable to malicious code from hackers that could infect your computer with malware when taken advantage of. Updates close these holes. For this reason it is important to always update programs when prompted. Windows Updates is enabled by default in Windows and Java, Flash, and others have auto-update programs enabled by default as well. You will not have to worry about setting up the auto-update feature for these programs unless you altered the settings to begin with. Make sure as well to never update a program via e-mail - companies will never send e-mails to update their products. In order to help you update programs you might want to download and run FileHippo.com Update Checker from here. This program will tell you which programs need to be updated.

One last thing to consider is to exercise caution when browsing the web and viewing e-mails. Try to stay away from non-reputable websites including websites for software piracy and pornography. By staying away from these websites you decrease your chances of malware infection significantly. To help you exercise caution in your browsing habits you can download and install Web of Trust into your web browser here. This program will install in your browser and color code the website you are viewing to inform you if it is safe or not; green means safe, yellow means proceed with caution, and red means danger. Viewing e-mails should also be done with caution. If you don't recognize an email as one from a known or requested source then you will be safer to avoid opening it. File attachments should be opened only with extreme caution as they can contain files that exploit security holes on your computer and infect you with malware. Never open an attachment unless you are expecting it or you verify that the sender intended to send it to you. Also make sure to scan the attachment before opening it.

You might want to use an alternate browser than Internet Explorer. Firefox and Google Chrome are excellent candidates. They are more secure than Internet Explorer and are just as functional. You can download Google Chrome here and Firefox here.

Something just as important as preventing infection by malware is to backup your data. You can read about different methods here.

Some articles you might be interested in reading to reiterate points I have addressed in this post as well as make new points follow:
By following these steps you should ensure that you most likely will never get infected with malware again. Good luck and safe browsing!

Take Care,
Josh
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