Your decision as to what action to take should be made by reading and asking yourself the questions presented in the "When should I re-format?
" and What Do I Do?
links I previously provided. As I already said, in some instances an infection may have caused so much damage to your system that it cannot be completely cleaned or repaired. Wiping your drive, reformatting, and performing a clean install of the OS removes everything and is the safest action
but I cannot make that decision for you.
Reformatting a hard disk deletes all data. If you decide to reformat, you should back up all your important documents, data files and photos. The safest practice is not
to backup any autorun.ini or .exe files because they may be infected. Some malware may disguise itself by adding and hiding its extension to the existing extension of other files so be sure you take a close look at the full name. After reformatting, as a precaution, make sure you scan these files with your anti-virus prior to copying them back to your hard drive.
In case you need help with this, please review "How to partition and format a hard disk in Windows XP
These links include step by step instructions:
"Clean Install Windows XP
"Reformat & Clean Install Windows
"XP Clean Install Interactive Setup
Also see "How to keep your Windows XP activation after clean install
". Don't forget you will have to go to Microsoft Update
and apply all Windows security patches after reformatting.
If you need additional assistance with reformatting, you can start a new topic in the Windows XP Home and Professional forum.