Windows XP Laptop Computer won't load after removing Spyware and Viruses

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Hi, my sister game me her Dell laptop to remove the spyware and viruses that were on it. I installed anti malware and performed a scan, it found 61 spyware. Afterwords I installed Avast and performed a boot scan, it found several viruses.

I removed them, when the computer loaded I got some error message that said that there was an error and that the computer will restart in 60 seconds, I restarted the computer several times and every time it loaded the message came up.

I did another virus boot scan, it found more viruses and removed them. The error message then went away. Anyway's the computer seemed better so I decided to perform one last virus scan.

I left it for a while, when I came back the computer wasn't responding so I shut it off and turned it back on. I'm greeted by the Windows XP screen and then the screen flashes blue and then restart's again. I can only boot into safe mode.

Now I can't even boot into safe mode, the driver's will load and then it will freeze. I don't have the Windows XP CD, is there any way that I can repair her computer without it? Please help.
 
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Thanks for the help. Hitting F11 Doesn't doesnt seem to be doing anything. Would a system recovery format the laptop and reinstall everything from scratch? My sister has alot of important data on her laptop. She doesn't have any of it backed up. Hitting F12 will bring up a system diagnostics, should I try that? I assume that the windows XP Disk has a repair option? I guess my only option would be to purchase Windows XP and try a system repair?
 

BinarySynapse

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Thanks for the help. Hitting F11 Doesn't doesnt seem to be doing anything. Would a system recovery format the laptop and reinstall everything from scratch? My sister has alot of important data on her laptop. She doesn't have any of it backed up. Hitting F12 will bring up a system diagnostics, should I try that? I assume that the windows XP Disk has a repair option? I guess my only option would be to purchase Windows XP and try a system repair?

Sorry, meant Ctrl+F11. That starts the system recovery on most Dell laptops. There used to be an option to just restore Windows and applications without actually formatting the drive. You'll have to read the information on-screen if you can get the recovery mode to start-up.
 
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Doesn't the Windows XP cd have a repair option where it scans the computer and looks for errors? Is there some way that I can access her data and back it up? she's got important data on it. Any help is greatly appreciated
 

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Doesn't the Windows XP cd have a repair option where it scans the computer and looks for errors? Is there some way that I can access her data and back it up? she's got important data on it. Any help is greatly appreciated

XP's repair option is quite limited. It basically wipes out the current install (without formatting) and reinstall Windows. You have to put in a CD key and everything.

There is a recovery console... but unless you have the permissions to access folders outside of \Windows.. it won't work well for backing up files.
 

Joe Average

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The XP Repair option basically does an in-place installation on top of what's already there - it's literally installing on top of itself under the hope that reinstalling every single system file again will resolve whatever issues you have. In the process, however, you lose application Registry settings, etc so, if you're at a point where you're seriously considering a Repair installation, just back up what you can and do a totally clean install on an empty drive/partition anyway. Might as well if things are that bad off...

The Recovery Console is extremely limited and basically can't even access folders outside the Windows directory at all sooo...

Get that clean install going. :D
 
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ctrl + F11 doesn't seem to be doing anything. Do I need the cd inside the computer in order for it to work? Would the dell's diagnostic cd do any good?
 
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So after I do the XP repair I'll be able to access the data? After it's all backed up I should do a clean install?
 

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ctrl + F11 doesn't seem to be doing anything. Do I need the cd inside the computer in order for it to work? Would the dell's diagnostic cd do any good?

As long as the recovery partition is still intact, it should work when you hit at the BIOS logo. Otherwise, yeah.. try a repair option, back up your data and clean install. Or if it's a sata drive, pull it out of the laptop, hook it up to your desktop (assuming it has sata connectors) and back things up that way.
 

MrF

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As a last resort, you can do this:
Download ubuntu. http://www.ubuntu.com/getubuntu/download
Burn the iso image onto a CD using an iso burner. This is an example of a free tool. http://isorecorder.alexfeinman.com/isorecorder.htm

Boot to the CD and run ubuntu without installing. It can run the OS right from the CD.
Copy the important data from the XP partition and back up onto an external drive.

If you have backed up all the data, you can now delete the XP partition and make a fresh install of XP.
 
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Thanks guys for the help. I'm a bit confused. Would the XP Repair option remove all the applications, music, data etc or keep it intact?
 

MrF

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Regardless, backup the data first just to be safe in case things do not go as expected.


Edit:
http://michaelstevenstech.com/XPrepairinstall.htm
A Repair Install will replace the system files with the files on the XP CD used for the Repair Install. It will leave your applications and settings intact, but Windows updates will need to be reapplied.
A Repair Install will replace files altered by adware and malware, but will not fix an adware, malware problem.
 
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BinarySynapse

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Thanks guys for the help. I'm a bit confused. Would the XP Repair option remove all the applications, music, data etc or keep it intact?

Normally no. They won't be "installed" in the registry or start menu, but they should still remain on the drive. XP's repair option simply overwrites all the system files (everything in \Windows and below) and nukes the registry. However, anything can happen. The Ubuntu live cd or putting the drive into another computer are the safest bets for backing up your data.
 

SmokeRngs

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Personally, I would use the Linux live CD option to backup the data which needs to be backed up. After that I would completely nuke the current installation and start fresh. From the sound of things, the installation on the laptop isn't worth messing with. When you have that much malware and that many viruses, there's no practical way of cleaning it sufficiently.

Also, after the backup is done, scan the holy living hell out of everything which was backed up. I wouldn't be surprised if some malware or viruses are still hiding in there somewhere and you don't want that crap coming back. If this happens, some of the stuff may not be able to be "fixed" and your sister is going to have to deal with the loss of some data due to not having a virus scanner and malware scanner on the system as well as not having any other backups. Unfortunately, this is the only way some people will learn the lesson many of us have been trying to teach people for years.

Hopefully everything turns out fine and your sister doesn't lose any important data but I wouldn't bet on it.

 
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Thanks guys. I downloaded Ubuntu and I extracted it. I'm on a Mac computer right now, what software could I use to burn it to a cd that works on a mac?
 

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Do I do anything with the ISO once I download, do I extract it? or simply burn it to a disk?

an ISO is an exact copy of the disc bit-for-bit. just burn it to the disc as it is.


EDIT: Don't copy the file to the CD... use a program that can transfer the contents to a disc bit-for-bit.
 
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ok it's done burning. I inserted the disk into the laptop. Ubuntu came up. what option should I now select? install Ubuntu?
 
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Thanks guys. ubuntu loaded and I can now access all of her music, data, documents, etc. I'm going to now back it up onto an external hardrive.
 
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