Can't boot laptop to safe mode with an external display

April 19, 2012 at 01:32:27
Specs: Windows XP
I've got the "police e-crime" root-kit on my old vaio PCG 8Q4M running XP. It's an ancient old thing but I love it and I still have it connected to an external display on my desk beside my work laptop - the lcd is broken. Problem is this - I can't boot it to safe mode and I suspect that it's because it's connected to a display. Am I right in thinking that it's trying to boot to its LCD?

Because the malware causes it to lock up when its fully booted I don't have time to change any settings. There is an LCD - Display key - function F7 - but pressing this doesn't seem to make any difference. I have a tiny window of opportunity when the system is booting to make changes before the pop up comes along and locks everything - I tried doing a system restore (not in safe mode obviosuly) and it tells me that it can't make any changes because nothing has been changed since that restore point..

Any ideas what I can try?

Many thanks

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April 19, 2012 at 02:18:18
Whether your laptop is connected or not connected to an external monitor makes no difference to your laptop's ability to boot into safe mode - something else is preventing safe mode from starting.

System Restore is unlikely to get rid of a virus/malware infection anyway. You really need to completely wipe the hard drive with something like DBAN (Darik's Boot & Nuke), then start over with a fresh Windows installation.

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April 19, 2012 at 11:08:42
Thanks for the quick reply - so you reckon that it's not managing to run in safe mode, rather than me not being able to see it on an external display?.

I was trying the system restore only because I couldn't boot in safe mode and run malwarebytes or hijackthis.

Thankfully it's all backed up - you would recommend just blitzing it and starting again? I'll download the programme you recommend if that's the case.

All the best.

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