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Reinstall or Format?


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6 replies to this topic

#1 Bananorama

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 03:47 PM

I've been infected with a couple rootkits and I need to either reinstall or format and reinstall. I have a Windows 98 disc and my XP upgrade disc.
I would like to keep my music files and some Emulators/roms I have. I'll probably be backing them up on an external.

-Which route should I go?

-Is either one any different as far as cleaning out my infections go?

-My music/roms were gotten long before the infection, is it a good/bad idea to keep them?

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#2 Guest_tylerisdabest_*

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 04:20 PM

sometimes viruses infect files and they could be infected with a virus so it matter, test them on a clean computer. and also theres alot more alternatives to reinstalling your os

#3 Bananorama

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 04:49 PM

I know there are more alternatives, but it was suggested to me by one of the HJT guys that I go the reinstall/format route. There's no 100% way to be sure my system is clean unless I do that.

#4 hamluis

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 05:40 PM

If you want to save files from your current infected system, you can do so...by moving those files to an uninfected system and running scans to ensure that they are not infected. You can then save such files on either removeable media or a partition on that clean system.

If that cannot be done...it's your gamble as to the contents of any files which you save.

If the HJT personnel suggested a deletion/clean install sequence...I imagine that's the best route that was perceived by those who are used to dealing with malware situations.

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#5 boopme

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 11:28 PM

Though the trojan has been identified and can be killed, because of it's backdoor functionality, your PC is very likely compromised and there is no way to be sure your computer can ever again be trusted. Many experts in the security community believe that once infected with this type of trojan, the best course of action would be a reformat and reinstall of the OS. Please read these for more information:

When Should I Format, How Should I Reinstall


Not an unwise decision to make. 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 or doing a factory restore removes everything and is the safest action.
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.

The best proceedure is a low level format. This completely wipes the drive. Then reinstall the OS.
Use the free version of Active@ KillDisk.

The best sources of Information on this are
Reformatting Windows XP
Michael Stevens Tech
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#6 Bananorama

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 02:25 AM

Thanks, I took care of it. Now I'm working out all the kinks with my hardware drivers... I know I have all the disks but can't find them. xD

Also difficult to remember what I had on here before.

#7 dc3

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 02:37 AM

Because a reformat only deletes the Master File Table I would suggest wiping the hdd with an application like Derik's Boot and Nuke, this will completely overwrite the entire hdd.

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