File names prefixed with ##.

February 26, 2009 at 06:27:46
Specs: Windows XP SP2
My AVG virus program scanned lots of files with their file names preceeded by "##".

My system didn't find any of those files when I ran a Search for them. What are they and how do I get rid of them?

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February 26, 2009 at 08:14:10
Does AVG indicate where they are located? Did it quarantine them perhaps?


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March 8, 2009 at 10:40:56
I'm sorry about the delay in replying to your reply EEOC. PC problems and snowed under with deadlines.

No, AVG was whizzing past these files so quickly as it was scanning, I couldn't catch where they were located. And they weren't quarantined either. About 2 or 3 out of every 10 files had the ## before their file names.

I re-installed my operating system 3 times last year from the Recovery CD - not a clean wiped drive install - and reckon the ## files might be leftovers from the previous installations.

Any advice? Anyone?

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March 8, 2009 at 11:10:16
So run a search using ##*.* Notice the star dot star. That indicates a wild card search. Just plain # might also work in WinXP if using the "search - All or part of a file name.

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Related Solutions

March 8, 2009 at 11:20:58
Thanks OtheHill. I did a search previously, even using just one # in all files and folders, but not using the wildcard option. That's very useful. I'll try that.

If and when I find the files, can I delete them? I'm guessing YES.


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March 8, 2009 at 11:30:44
I would be careful with them. You could rename them somehow and see if it affects the system. Also would depend on what the entire path is. If you rename them be sure to write down the entire file name including the full path and extensions. Changing the file extension might be an easier method to recover from if you need to. Use an extension that is not in use in the system. Like xyz or pqr.

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March 14, 2009 at 02:55:13
Thanks for the advice OtheHill.

I haven't been able to find the files. I'm currently having lots of problems with my PC (100% CPU usage, freezes, not enough virtual memory, PC running very slowly, etc). I guess I'll reformat the HDD yet again.

I'd like to start with a clean drive.
Can anyone recommend a good free disk erase utility? I've read that DBan is good.


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March 14, 2009 at 04:57:32
If you are using an OEM computer with a restore partition you must be very careful when using wiping utilities. They are indiscriminate. You don't want to wipe the whole drive, just the OS partition.

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March 15, 2009 at 21:30:01
Still haven't wiped my HDD. Am worried about not being able to re-install the O/S from the manufacturer's recovery disk.

I do have a complete retail version of Windows XP with SP2, but have never used it on my laptop, so don't know if that'll work.

And how do I start the PC after erasing the disk if there's no operating system on it? Apparently an MS DOS startup disk will not work if the partition is/was NTFS.

Also, I can't get to the BIOS to check the boot sequence. Toshiba says to press F12, but that doesn't work on my PC. Lots of things don't work the way they should on my PC. System Restore points, although they have been made, haven't worked for a long time. I'm told by a messege to pick another restore point, but I ha ve the same problem with all the restore points that I try.

This is digressing from the original question, so if I don't get a reply, I'll understand.

Thanks for all the advice.

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March 16, 2009 at 06:21:58
The procedure to restore varies by brand as far as the keystrokes.

Are you using the keyboard that came with the computer? The restore disks you made are to restore the complete set of files to your hard drive should something happen to the restore partition. The most common occurrence is when the hard drive dies. Then you need to have ALL the files on disks in order to restore. Otherwise you should be able to restore the computer to the factory state by accessing the restore partiiton and following the instructions. The process varies as I said but should be explained in your manuals.

Some OEMs have what is called a non destructive restore. This would save your personal files. Most times the computer is put back to the state in came from the factory. So, you should backup all your personal files before performing a restore.

If some commands (F keys) don't work as expected when first starting the computer that can be caused by using a different type of keyboard than the original.

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March 25, 2009 at 12:09:33
OtheHill, thanks. You've been very helpful.
I am using the original keyboard on the laptop. I think the F keys are no longer working becouse the TOSHIBA laptop is over 9 years old. I can't complain though, becouse for over 7 years the PC worked like a dream. I never had any problems with it. Then I had it in storage at a friend's place for about 9 months and when I got it back, I had problems with it straight away. Although it was boxed and my friend said no one touched it, I suspect that someone did tamper with it. (Or perhaps my PC got lonely and now won't forgive me for abandoning him - Toshi, that is. :-) )

By the way, I haven't made any restore disks. I was talking about restore points (System Restore) which never work on my PC.

I've decided not to do a total wipe of my HDD afterall (using a disk wipe util) just in case I can't get the OS (yes, it is OEM) back on afterwards. I'll leave that as a last resort, if nothing else helps to improve my PC's performance.

Now I'll just reformat the C partition using the Fdisk command in DOS and then re-install the OS with the recovery disk. I hope that this will wipe out/get rid of any traces of old OSs and files.

I'm not worried about my data, since I back that up regularly and the b/u is up-to-date.

Perhaps the PC is running so slowly now becouse of all the Windows XP updates. They are, afterall, taking up about half of my little 20GB HDD. (I know. I know. I need a new PC. But my budget won't allow that right now.)

I probably won't be back to these postings, unless I have some problem in the next 2 or 3 days.

Thanks again,

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