will a wipe cancel the external CD?

January 3, 2009 at 04:40:58
Specs: Windows XP Professional (5.1, Build 2600) Service Pack 3 (2600.xpsp_sp3_gdr.080814-1236), 3328 MB

My PC takes ages to install programs, scans give the same problem, generally slow machine. Spy Sweeper detects the PC tries to contact blacklisted sites and blocks then the communication. I guess that is the problem. Now it is so that nothing has help to locate and kill the issue. I tried rootkit detection programs, spywares/worms/malware programs, re-installing the system from scratch, antivirus search with several different Antivirus Software. Nothing helped.

So, I am considering to wipe the hard drive totally (with WipeDrive or KillDisk) and after that install the Operative System again. My internal CD-ROM does not function but I do have a bootable external CD-ROM set to be the first device to boot, before the hard drive. I have an external hard drive too. USB.

My questions are:

1. after such a wipe will I still be able to boot from the external CD-ROM, that was bootable prior to the wipe? So that I can re-install Xp Pro.
2. Having the external hard drive still plugged in to the PC via its USB, while at the same time wiping the internal HD, will it gives problems if it is infected? I have scanned it and there is nothing anyway according to antivirus software (NOD32, Comodo).

Thanks for help!

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January 3, 2009 at 05:46:25
1. yes, you can boot from the external CDROM, if it worked prior wiping you harddisk
2. I would suggest to unplug the external USB harddisk before wiping your internal harddisk, to avoid wiping the wrong harddisk too.
3. If you system was infected and the external harddisk was used in the infected system, the virus, trojan or whatever might have infected your external harddisk.
I would suggest to unplug the external harddisk, install your new windows, virus scanner, firewall a.s.o.
When you installed everything you need and everything works fine, make an image of your windows drive. So, if you get problems when connecting the external USB harddisk, maybe by a virus, rootkit or whatever, you can simply restore your system from the image and have another try.
And you know, that there must be something suspicious at your external drive and can try to fix it.

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January 3, 2009 at 06:02:03
Ok, Thank you! I will do so. Hope the external drive is infection free and that the problem is in the MBR.


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January 3, 2009 at 06:31:43
Before you the step of a total rebuild:

Boot up - and do NOT connect to the internet etc.; disable system-restore; then run a local anti-virus scan and also perhaps M$ Windows Defender util (and maybe SpyBot S&D) - the last two are freebies...

Also initially disconnect the external drive; get the base/home drive sorted out first.

Then go on-line to Trend.com (Trend Micro) and run their freebie on-line scan; do a full scan - it will take a while...

Let it (Trend's Housecall) clean out of whatever it finds. After-which reboot and re-enable system restore. Then see if things is still "bad news" on the main drive. Hopefully it's not and presuming so... then reconnect the external drive and repeat the above routine.

And, as suggested by "paulsep", once system is clean make an image of system; and keep safe... Also set a new restore point - clearly identified etc.

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January 3, 2009 at 06:51:24
Thanks! :) I think I done all that already. :)

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January 3, 2009 at 08:45:29
If the external CD drive is USB then you need to check the BIOS to see if booting from an External USB device is an option.

If you see an option you THINK will work then insert your CD in the External, set the BIOS to boot from the External an see if it will work. You can always cancel the installation at that point.

Not many BIOSes will allow such a boot.

Just because the External CD drive is accessible from within WinXP doesn't mean it will work when NOT in WinXP. WinXP provides the drivers necessary to access that drive.

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January 3, 2009 at 10:01:48
Did you (for certain) disable system-restore option during any/all clean out routines? So often folks say they did and didn't... And if one doesn't disable it pre a clean out etc... then one will usually go round in circles and apparently (and frequently so) not be able to get rid of assorted "stuff".

Incidentally is this a desktop system (not a laptop)? And if a desktop does it have floppy drive installed?

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January 3, 2009 at 10:09:32
While asking questions then Why do you need to boot from an External drive? No internal CD?

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January 3, 2009 at 10:16:54
In the initial/opening post "he" seems to say that the internal drive doesn't work... But apparently doesn't suggest why or what may have been done to correct that apparent problem either?

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January 3, 2009 at 10:33:32
If the stuff in response 3 diesn't work, you do not have to wipe the entire hard drive. If you can boot to the XP CD, do a repair install instead. That keeps all of your programs intact, but you have to download all of the updates. Also, I think many modern bioses do allow booting from a usb cd rom drive-at least the ones I have worked with do.

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January 3, 2009 at 11:30:29

Yes many BIOSes will allow booting to a USB CD drive. And many won't.

The question is why the need to use an external CD drive?

The OP state in the initial post they performed a complete re-installation already.

If that didn't cure the problem then a repair certainly won't.

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January 3, 2009 at 11:50:47
OtheHill: "The OP state in the initial post they performed a complete re-installation already. If that didn't cure the problem then a repair certainly won't." I certainly agree-I missed that.

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January 3, 2009 at 12:24:19
... re-installed the system from scratch...

"Usually" that means wipe the drive (reformat etc.) and then (re-)install etc...?

How was it done on this occasion? Was it a parallel installation; a repair installation, or what?

And to answer (again) what apparently was the original question...; if the bios does support a boot via a usb device (usually a cd/dvd unit) then one "ought" to be able to use it to re-install an OS... Wiping a drive, reformatting it etc. ought not to affect any usb boot options. And the poster has already stated the bios is set for a usb boot option.

So if all current efforts have failed... ensure only the internal HD is around (no external HD attached - for safety's sake) and reformat it; then re-install the OS - presumably via the external CD/DVD unit?

Reformat can be done via XP setup etc.

On other option not mentioned... Boot up with Linux variant CD and then re-scan system fully - both locally and an on-line scan?

That way the HD is totally an inert structure and if there's anything that is "hiding" as it in its boot sector or dumped down in some way to RAM/cache etc... it may now be inert/inactive; and thus a scan that way "may" eraadicate it?

But personally, if all data is safely off the system, at this time I'd go a full reformat, re-install etc. And maybe even (on this occasion) even use a killdisk or similar routine; or a mid-level format routine (using the HD's manufacturers util to that end prior to it... An mid-level format writes zeros to the drive and effectively destroys anything on it; resetting to as close to factory gate status as is possible?

I can't help the feeling that we're not getting a fully accurate account of what etc. has been done; not that it's intentional - but rather something is being lost in the telling?

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