These are links to Anti-virus vendors that offer free LiveCD or Rescue CD utilities that are used to boot from for repair of unbootable and damaged systems, rescue data, scan the system for virus infections. Burn it as an image to a disk to get a bootable CD. All (except Avira) are in the ISO Image
file format. Avira uses an EXE that has built-in CD burning capability.
If you are not sure how to burn an image, please read How to write a CD/DVD image or ISO
. If you need a FREE utility to burn the ISO image, download and use ImgBurn
.Note: In order to use a rescue disk, the boot order must be set to start from the CD-ROM drive. If the CD is not first in the boot order, the computer will attempt to start normally by booting from the hard drive. The boot order is a setting found in the computerís BIOS which runs when it is first powered on. This setting controls the order that the BIOS uses to look for a boot device from which to load the operating system. The default will normally be A:, C:, CD-ROM. Different computers have different ways to enter the BIOS. If you're not sure how to do this, refer to:
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 "...Now What Do I Do?
" links previously provided. As already said, in some instances an infection may leave so many remnants behind that security tools cannot find them and your system cannot be completely cleaned, repaired or trusted. Wiping your drive, reformatting
, and performing a clean install of the OS or doing a factory restore with a vendor-specific Recovery Disk or Recovery Partition
removes everything and is the safest action
but I cannot make that decision for you
Should you decide to reformat and you're not sure how to do that or need help, please review:
These links include step-by-step instructions with screenshots:Vista users
can refer to these instructions:
Don't forget you will have to go to Microsoft Update
and apply all Windows security patches after reformatting.Note: If you're using an IBM, Sony, HP, Compaq, Toshiba, Gateway 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" that will reformat your hard drive, remove all data and restore the computer to the state it was in when you first purchased it. Also be sure to read Technology Advisory Recovery Media. If the recovery partition has become infected, you will need to contact the manufacturer, explain what happened and ask them to send full recovery disks to use instead.
.Reformatting a hard disk deletes all data
. Should you decide to reformat or do a factory restore due to malware infection, you can back up all your important documents, personal data files, photos to a CD or DVD drive, not a flash drive or external hard drive as they may become compromised in the process. The safest practice is not to backup
any executable files (*.exe), screensavers (*.scr), autorun (.ini) or script files (.php, .asp, .htm, .html, .xml ) files because they may be infected by malware. Avoid backing up compressed files (.zip, .cab, .rar) that have executables inside them as some types of malware can penetrate compressed files and infect the .exe files within them. Other types of malware may even disguise itself by hiding a file extension
or adding to the existing extension as shown here
(click Figure 1 to enlarge
) so be sure you look closely at the full file name. If you cannot see the file extension, you may need to reconfigure Windows to show file name extensions
. Then make sure you scan the backed up data with your anti-virus prior to
to copying it back to your hard drive.
If your CD/DVD drive is unusable, another word of caution if you are considering backing up to an external usb hard drive as your only alternative. External drives are more susceptible to infection and can become compromised in the process of backing up data
. I'm not saying you should not try using such devices but I want to make you aware of all your options and associated risks so you can make an informed decision if its worth that risk.
Also see How to use Ubuntu Live CD to Backup Files from your dead Windows Computer
. Again, do not back up any data with the following file extensions: exe, .scr, .ini, .htm, .html, .php, .asp, .xml, .zip, .rar, .cab as they may be infected.
If you need additional assistance with reformatting or partitioning, you can start a new topic in the appropriate Windows Operating System Subforum