Posted 28 February 2010 - 10:55 PM
I have 3 maybe 4 computers that won't boot. In chronological order, my son's old custom built computer crashed. I had him bring his tower over. I put it in our system in place of our HP. Starting up, it would bring up the Windows XP screen, then a flash of a blue screen with text, then reboot over and over. Safe mode yielded scrolling text, hold on text, reboot. I was going to try booting a Linux live-cd but the CDrom tray wouldn't open. I used our Dell desktop to make a XP rescue floppy. His computer started to boot to the floppy but said it couldn't find COMMAND.COM. I put the HP back in and burned a startup floppy from ME. It would boot to a command prompt. I'm not good with DOS and didn't get anywhere that way. I finally got the cd tray to open, changed the boot order and put in a Puppy Linux live-cd. It won't start to boot it. I didn't even think about a virus. I suspected a hardware failure. I found him a rebuilt computer to replace his.
The next day, back to usual equipment, we have the 2 desktops (wired) and 2 laptops (wireless) on our network connected to DSL. The HP desktop is dual boot, ME and Puppy Linux. For several hours we noticed the HP and a laptop (dual boot; 98se and Puppy) both running Linux, were slow and erratic surfing the net. They were replacing a utility pole close to our house and we thought the DSL service had gone flaky.
The following day, when my wife started the HP, she thinks she chose Puppy at the boot menu. Windows started but wouldn't boot. I tried it again and it didn't boot. I didn't try booting Linux. By now I was suspecting my son's computer may have a virus so I shut the HP down and unplugged power and ethernet. 2 computers infected.
The Dell doesn't get used much since it doesn't have Linux yet but it is our fastest and main computer. I wanted to make sure it stayed safe so I caught it up with the Windows updates and did a virus scan with Avast. The scan turned up a few files as usual but everything seemed OK. Using Linux on the laptop to find a cure for the infected computers I saw a recommendation for Kaspersky Rescue Disk. I used the Dell to download and burn the image disk. I tried to run Kaspersky's on the Dell. It ran for about 4 hours altogether, froze and had to be restarted twice before it got to where it wouldn't boot. It would start to boot and then start Windows. I would restart at that point so I don't know if Windows will boot. I unplugged power and ethernet. 3 computers infected.
Running out of computers and a little paranoid, the dual boot laptop seems slow to start Windows so I restart it before it does. It runs Linux close to usual, probably OK. Maybe 4 computers infected.
The second laptop is new to us, runs XP Pro and is the only computer with a firewall. It's running fine. All computers have Avast AV installed.
How did the virus spread? I may have put a floppy in one or both of our desktops after it was in my son's. I did not try to boot from them in those computers. I connected and disconnected my son's computer several times. I would say it's likely that it may have been connected to our network at some time. As far as which computers were connected to the network at the same time, the only thing I'm sure of is the HP and my son's computer were never connected at the same time. None of the computers have file sharing enabled.
I don't have a lot of knowledge about computers so please keep the terminology simple. For the most part I can follow the advice given on this website. Hardware value on these computers is on the low side but I would like to keep the data. Taking them to a pro and likely having the HDs formated is not an option.