Sometimes a reformat is the best solution. In some instances an infection may have caused so much damage to your system that it cannot be completely cleaned or repaired. The malware may leave so many remnants behind that security tools cannot find them. Starting over by wiping your drive, reformatting, and performing a clean install of the OS removes everything and is the safest action
In case you need help with this, please review:
These links include step-by-step instructions with screenshots:Reformatting a hard disk deletes all data
. If you decide to reformat, you can 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 types of malware may disguise itself by adding and hiding its extension to the existing extension of 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.
Don't forget you will have to go to Microsoft Update
and apply all Windows security patches after reformatting.
Also see How to keep your Windows XP activation after clean install
.Note: If your using an IBM, HP, Compaq or Dell machine, you may not have an original XP CD Disk. By policy Microsoft no longer allows OEM manufactures to include the original Windows XP CD-ROM on computers sold with Windows preinstalled. Instead, most computers manufactured and sold by OEM vendors come with a vendor-specific Recovery Disk or Recovery Partition for performing a clean "factory restore"
If you need additional assistance with reformatting, you can start a new topic in the Windows XP Home and Professional forum.Tips to protect yourself against malware and reduce the potential for re-infection:
• Avoid gaming sites
, pirated software
, cracking tools
, and peer-to-peer
(P2P) file sharing
programs. They are a security risk which can make your computer susceptible to a smörgåsbord of malware infections
, remote attacks, exposure of personal information, and identity theft. Many malicious worms and Trojans spread across P2P file sharing networks, gaming and underground sites. Users visiting such pages may see innocuous-looking banner ads containing code which can trigger pop-up ads
and malicious Flash ads
that install viruses, Trojans and spyware
. Ads are a target for hackers because they offer a stealthy way to distribute malware to a wide range of Internet users. The best way to reduce the risk of infection is to avoid these types of web sites and not use any P2P applications. Read P2P Software User Advisories
and Risks of File-Sharing Technology
• Keeping Autorun enabled
on USB and other removable drives has become a significant security risk
due to the increasing number of malware variants that can infect them and transfer the infection to your computer. To learn more about this risk, please read: