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Unable to Windows 8 Refresh/Recovery on ASUS notebook

Windows 8 Windows 8.1 Virus Malware Removal

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#1
bunjirocket

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Posted this in the malware, virus, forum... I think it might be more of a Windows 8 thing, so this is a repost from the other forum.  This is a long description, so here's the bottom line up front (BLUF): I cannot boot into my wife's Windows 8.1 system after trying to update Adobe and removing virus/malware from the system.  I need to know what the next step to take is.  By the way, I used this sight many years ago, and am impressed with the people that volunteer their time to answer questions for all the rest of us.  So thanks!

 

Here's the novel:

 

My wife has an asus notebook pc (model x501a).  It has Windows 8.1 installed, but came with Windows 8. It came with a 500MB SATA HD, about 4 GB RAM, and all other configurations were the base model (I haven't updated any hardware or replaced anything since purchase).

Recently, a scan of my system indicated that it had viruses and malware on it. I installed McAfee to clean the system.  After removing the viruses and malware (assumption), the system needed to update other software.  I started with Adobe Air (could have been Reader), and the installation hung.  I let it run for around 30 minutes with no change to the screen and little to no activity indicated by the hard drive.  I attempted to verify that the processor(s) were still being used by looking at the task manager, however, the computer would not respond using CTRL-ALT-DEL.  I did a hard shutdown.  When I pushed the power button on, the system appeared to start normally, however, the graphics were not displaying correctly.  Where there should have been fonts, boxes and characters appeared instead.  I tried logging in, hopping that all that needed to happen, was a continuation of the install that would fix the font.  When the password was entered, a message would display and then go back to the main screen.  I have no idea what the message said as it was in the boxes and characters.  In doing research, it appeared that Adobe might have been replacing/updating a font and all that I needed to do was replace the font.

Before attempting to update the font, an attempt was made to boot using a USB Flash drive.  A backup/recovery flash drive had not been created when initially starting up the laptop, so one was made from another Windows 8.1 system.  Inititally the laptop would not boot from the USB.  So I removed the hard drive from the laptop to see if I could update the font.

I cloned the drive onto an external drive using EZ Gig Cloning Software to make sure that no data would be lost. I attempted to then "fix" the font file, but my other laptop is using Windows 7.  I was denied making any changes to the font file, and the Windows 7 OS displayed the font correctly.  In order to gain access to the hard drive, I had to override the initial security and establish myself as an administrator with admin rights.  One other item to note is that WIndows 7 indicated that there was a problem when the hard drive was plugged in and asked if it should be fixed. I selected not to do anything.

I plugged back in the hard drive into the laptop without changing any files or structure save the security permission.  This time Windows attempted to repair the hard drive.  It went into Recovery screen with 3 options: 1) Press Enter to try again, 2) Press F8 for startup options, and 3) Press ESC for UEFI Firmware Settings.  Pressing Enter resulted in the same screen.  Pressing F8 resulted in the same screen.  Pressing ESC took me to the BIOS. I set the start up boot priorities to the USB Flash drive.

Initially, I was taken to a differnt recovery screen.  I selected first to refresh and then reset the system.  The end result was the same: the disk where windows to be installed is locked.  I attempted to restore the security setting on the drive, but was unsuccessful.  I verified that the partitions where the recovery files are was still there.  I noticed that there were two partitions with recovery files, and I am assuming that one was for Windows 8 (the initial OS of the laptop when purchased) and the other is Windows 8.1. I cannot access these partitions.  Also, now when I try to boot from the flash drive I am taken to the initial recovery screen with the 3 options.

I am to the point of reformatting the drive and trying a re-install, but thought I'd ask for help on the boards first.  I do not have a Windows 8 disk (not that it matters as this notebook does not have a disk drive).  I do have a copy of Windows XP and Windows 7 lying around, but I would rather re-install Windows 8 if possible.  Is there a way to fix this?  Thanks.


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#2
phillpower2

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:welcome:   bunjirocket

 

Apologies for the delay in you receiving a reply, as the Malware Techs are extremely busy sometimes you may not receive an instant reply, as you have waited for three days + post in the Waiting Room  http://www.geekstogo.com/forum/forum/100-the-waiting-room/ and someone will get back to you asap, please be sure to identify the issue as malware related in your topic title and provide a link to your malware topic in your post, good luck and we shall be here should it transpire that the issue is not malware related.


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#3
bunjirocket

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Thanks, phillpower2.

 

An update.  I borrowed a disk from a friend to see if that would inspire windows 8 to reinstall.  When I try to refresh, I get an error saying that the hard drive is locked.  When I tried to reset, I get an error saying that the partition can't be found.  I selected a new install.  It gives an option to pick the partition to install.  I could see my main partition as well as 5 others.  I'm assuming that one is for the Windows 8 recover and one is for Windows 8.1 recovery.  I stopped at this point and thought I'd check back to see what the experts were thinking.  So here is my question now:

 

1.  Am I to the point where I should just reinstall and then update? 

  • I do have the data backed up, so I can always re-clone the hard drive.
  • The license # is somewhere in the electronic data on the hard drive, so I don't have that right now.  Does MS save the persons license associated with their Windows Live profile?

2.  Is there a way to unlock the drive?

3.  Should I just reformat it and try something else?

Thanks for the help!


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#4
phillpower2

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Hello bunjirocket

 

The problem with malware is that it can be so deep rooted that not even formatting the storage device will eradicate it, with this in mind I need to ask a Mod or Admin to take a look at your two threads and make the decision as to which topic needs to be pursued.

 

Regarding the MS product key, have you checked the base of the notebook or removed the main battery and looked inside the battery compartment for a licence key sticker, if you have and there is not one there I suggest that you contact the MS office for your district and ask them for guidance, see here it is most important that you do this before attempting any fresh installation of the OS as once initiated it cannot be reversed and the present product key lost for good.


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Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Virus, Malware Removal

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