Complete format for C drive

May 14, 2011 at 12:22:32
Specs: Windows XP, Pentium D 930 3 GHz / 2 GB Ram
Hi, My pc was hit pretty bad by a virus, It wouldn't even start up in safe mode. I booted from my recovery DVD which I have used before with success. It doesn't give me an option to do a complete format or a quick format, all it does is "restore the factory default system, erasing all data on C:" It doesn't take long so I'm think it does a "quick" style format

After I did this windows will start but things are still not right, I am thinking there are still traces of the virus on there.

Is there a way I can COMPLETELY format the drive manually, then boot from my recovery disk to reinstall the software? I don't have a separate windows disk, just the one that came with the machine which contains windows, and all the drivers for my hardware together.

Thanks for any help!


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#1
May 14, 2011 at 12:49:28
If you feel it wasn't done correctly, use a 3rd party program to format the HDD. Unfortunately, you didn't bother to list the make/model of your system, or the make/model or type of HDD, so that limits the response. There's no sense explaining about a Gateway if you have an HP or about a Seagate IDE HDD if you have a Samsung SATA HDD. Also, any drivers on your recovery disk are likely to be very outdated.

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#2
May 14, 2011 at 13:56:59
Thanks for the reply...

The machine is an Acer Aspire E650 Desktop computer, it has XP media center edition and I use it as a DVR machine as well as for general computing, email, web surfing, etc. It's not the newest but works fine for my purposes.

The hard drive in question is a Western Digital WD3200

Not sure if this matters but the partition which is C: is now NTFS.

I know the drivers are not the latest, but they will at least get me up and running until I can update them later.

Any suggestions on a 3rd party program to format the drive?


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#3
May 14, 2011 at 14:39:30
Still don't know if it's IDE or SATA, but you should use the WDC software:

http://support.wdc.com/product/down...

Be careful not to delete the recovery partition.


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Related Solutions

#4
May 14, 2011 at 14:48:34
I doubt you need a full format. I'd boot to some live media like a live cd or live usb to format it.

Be very careful that you only format the correct drive. There may be hidden partitions still that you need to keep.

1/3 of highway deaths are caused by drunks. The rest are by people who can't drive any better than a drunk.


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#5
May 14, 2011 at 14:49:03
it's SATA

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#6
May 15, 2011 at 07:50:13
Hi again, well I decided to just start over and try my luck with the recovery dvd again... things seem to be working fine, but I can not get windows update to work.

The copy of XP I have is SP2, and normally after a recovery like this I would immediately go to microsoft update and download SP3. Now I can not even get the microsoft update page to load at all, other pages seem to load fine. I also made sure that automatic updates was enabled but never got any notifications in the tray that any updates were available.

I noticed on the microsoft website that SP2 is no longer supported, but does that mean I can't get any updates at all? I find it strange that the update website will not even load. I'd at least expect a message from MS telling me my browser or version of windows is too old so they can try to sell me something newer. Or is maybe something still messing with my system?

Thanks,
Eric


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#7
May 15, 2011 at 08:56:50
Service pack 3

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/322389

A thank you would be nice, if I have helped.


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#8
May 15, 2011 at 09:54:09
Set to autoupdate and it should update.

Guess you could have a virus on it from a lan computer. You may have to get sp3 on a cd and load it before you ever get any nic setup.

1/3 of highway deaths are caused by drunks. The rest are by people who can't drive any better than a drunk.


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#9
May 15, 2011 at 10:25:44
very odd... I can go to the link you posted no problem on my old laptop, but when I try to go there on my desktop (the one I'm having problems with) I just get "The page cannot be displayed" other web pages (yahoo, google, etc) still work fine.

I am on a LAN here at home with about 3 other computers... so one of those could have a virus and it is affecting my machine?


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#10
May 15, 2011 at 15:28:04
Could be something the virus set which has somehow stayed. Make sure that website (or anything Microsoft) is not showing in "IE Restricted Sites" or in your "Hosts" file.

To see Restricted Sites in IE go to:
Tools > Internet Options > Security tab > Restricted Sites icon > Sites button.

To view your Hosts file go to:
c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc and you will see the Hosts file.
Open it with NotePad.

You could also install Firefox just to see if this is a browser issue. You should be able to see the website but MS might not allow you to download updates via Firefox.

Please come back and let us know the outcome.


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#11
May 15, 2011 at 18:21:53
Thanks for the tips, I looked at my restricted sites as well as the host file and didn't see anything that jumped out at me...


I really feel like when I'm doing this "restore" that I'm not really wiping the C drive clean, it seems like the same problems still exist after the process. I wonder can I just install a new hard drive and boot from my recovery disk and install my system on that? I have already installed a secondary hard drive for saving my DVR info on, so hooking a new HD up is not a problem, the only thing different is this would be the primary drive for the computer...


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#12
May 16, 2011 at 08:31:34
If getting to MS website is the only issue it seems worth persisting a bit longer before formatting again.

You could totally disable Hosts by temporarilly renaming it to HostsX - that will take it right out of the equation.

Did you try Firefox - it might tell us something?

You could get the SP3 download file using your other machine then transfer it using a flash drive. Maybe SP3 will shake this current issue away.

Please come back and let us know the outcome.


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#13
May 16, 2011 at 17:14:21
Thanks for the help Derek, something really isn't right though, I tried going to firefox.com and i ended up at some other bizarre website, I'm getting redirected all over the place. google sends me in every which direction. This thing still has a virus in it, it HAS to....

Is there a program I can burn to a cd and boot from that can REALLY format my c drive, then I can install my system on it again?

I'm convinced that my acer recovery disk doesn't really reformat anything it just overwrites what it needs to.

Thanks,
Eric


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#14
May 17, 2011 at 00:39:20
gparted live cd

A thank you would be nice, if I have helped.


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#15
May 17, 2011 at 17:09:25
ok.... man this is bizarre

I made a gparted live cd, formatted my c partition as NTFS (that's what it was before) then installed from my recovery dvd again.

Almost the same deal as before, I just get "page can not be displayed" from IE when trying to access ms update,

I was able to install Fire Fox this time around, and when trying to access the update site it said "the connection has been reset" while other website seem to work fine!! I tried multiple ways to get to that website, like clicking on a link to it from a search engine or typing the address in manually. same result each time.

I renamed my host file to hostx to no avail.

When I formatted the c drive with gparted, It only took a couple seconds, I was expecting a more lengthy process, does that seem right?

I also did see my recovery partition on the drive, it is named "PQSERVICE" could there be something in there that is getting out and causing this?

thanks for the ideas so far


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#16
May 18, 2011 at 06:22:06
Another follow up,

last night I "restored" again and immediately tried to install malwarebytes to see if it could see any bugs in there, IE AND Fire Fox just kept getting redirected to these marketing websites, I couldn’t even download the program. I then downloaded it with my other machine, put it on a cd and installed it on the problem machine. I didn't even get 10 minutes into the scan and I started getting all kinds of pop ups for some rogue security program, the machine pretty much locked right up then and I had to do a hard restart to get out of it.

The only logical explanation I can come to with my limited computer knowledge is that the recovery partition on my hard drive must be corrupted with something, and when I do this "restore" from the dvd, it must still use some info from that partition. I know the dvd does something because the status light for the dvd drive is busy almost the whole time it's "restoring" but I'm not 100% sure how that works.

Am I going to have to get rid of that recovery partition too and get myself a new copy of windows? This is leading me to believe I can't do a true "clean install" of my OS from the dvd I have. I've already formatted my C and D partitions, so the only place there could be anything left is in that recovery partition!

Sorry for writing a book but I wanted to get all the details I can on here.


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#17
May 18, 2011 at 09:12:45
I don't know either but I can't believe it managed to format in a few seconds.
It has to go through the whole HD to do this.

Sorry, I'm just rushing by. Without me re-reading the whole post, I assume
you've done all this:
http://www.cyberwalker.com/topic/45

Please come back and let us know the outcome.


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#18
May 18, 2011 at 13:22:46
Format the hard disk as FAT16 (if available) or, FAT32 (gparted). XP will return it to NTFS (one of its choices available) when you reinstall the OS. Perform XP's FULL format.

It's a good day when you learn something


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#19
May 19, 2011 at 06:42:57
"when you reinstall the OS. Perform XP's FULL format."

I don't have a regular install disk, just a "recovery" disk from Acer. It doesn't give me any formatting options.


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#20
May 19, 2011 at 12:36:10
There are various ways to format the HD. You could use a "Linux Live CD", or you could put the HD in as slave on another computer then reformat it.

However, what you need to know from Acer (for certain) is whether your restore disk would still function after doing so. Sorry but I don't know.

Please come back and let us know the outcome.


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#21
May 19, 2011 at 16:37:37
Thanks for the reply. So, If I get rid of the recovery partition by completely formatting the HD, and then my recovery disk does not work, is the worst case scenario I'm looking at going to be buying a new copy of windows? It WOULD be an excuse to upgrade to windows 7, I'm pretty sure my processor can handle the 64bit version, (or 32 but but that's a whole other discussion) plus if I were to go to win 7 I would upgrade the ram to 4 GB which I know is the max this machine can have.

One of this machine's main purposes is being a DVR so I would need to make sure that whatever I buy for windows has something similar to my current windows media center. I'm not really familiar with windows 7.


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