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What's the safest way to port data from a "dead" Windows 2000 machine to a "new" XP one?


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#1 Karmic Justice

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Posted 09 May 2010 - 03:03 PM

Hi, all. Newbie here to the forums. ;) I hope I'm posting this to an appropriate forum, but if I'm not, my apologies. (Also, my apologies in advance for the wall of text, but I like to provide as much information as possible.)

Anyway, I was wondering if anyone can give me some advice regarding a fairly complex problem that led to the recent replacement of my PC and whether it's possible or advisable for me to try to grab files off the two hard drives from the old machine, which eventually went BSOD due to a SYSTEM_LICENSE_VIOLATION error (sorry, I forgot to get the precise Stop Code). Though that probably happened due to my own folly (more on that in a bit), I can't rule out the possibility of malware leading up to this, at this point. Please note that both the "dead" Windows 2000 machine and the "new" XP one were donated by friends, so I pretty much "got what I paid for" and had little choice in what was installed on them. Also, please note that the Windows 2000 machine "died" at the beginning of the year, and I got the replacement XP machine a month later; I've only just now gotten around to posting about this. ;)

The "dead" PC was running Windows 2000 on a Celeron 466 mHz processor with 128 MB of RAM. The OS is on a 10 GB HD, and there is also a nearly full 40 GB HD to store larger files; both are ATA drives using IDE controllers. I also used an external Western Digital MyBook 500 GB USB HD (I tried to swap it to the "new" XP machine and have run into a few problems getting it to work at all times; for some reason, at times, the XP machine wants to treat it like a bootable local disk instead of removable storage). Quite obviously, it was ridiculously slow, and even just running a few programs often caused Windows to have to increase virtual memory from 523k to the maximum of 625k. Over time, upgrades of certain programs (Firefox, SpyBot Search and Destroy, and ZoneAlarm, in particular) increasingly bogged down this machine to the point where it became nigh unusable for normal activities at times.

Without going into too much detail (if anyone wants the whole tl;dr -- or "too long, didn't read" -- saga of the problem's background, please let me know), I'll just say that through my own folly and self-surgery on the Windows 2000 machine (I'm the poster child for what all NOT to do *Sweatdrops*), I rendered it unbootable even in Safe Mode. I don't remember what the BSOD Stop Code was, but it was a SYSTEM_LICENSE_VIOLATION error. (Before you ask, why yes, I was a GENIUS who mucked around with HiJack This! and CCleaner, etc., to try to "clean up" the registry in an attempt to make the machine run faster. =P I learned quite a hard lesson from that.) Also, the last thing I remember doing before that happened was that I was running a whole slew of on-demand anti-malware programs I hadn't used before to see if malware was the cause for the increased slowness, and Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware had just quarantined two registry keys that were apparently the old remnants of adware I had gotten rid of some time back (that stupid Weatherbug, IIRC). Besides that, very little else was detected other than a couple of trojans in programs I'd downloaded ages ago but never installed (and previous anti-virus/anti-malware scans hadn't found anything in them either).

With all that said... is there a safe way that I can access the contents of both of the old drives without possibly infecting my XP machine if either of them have malware that can spread to the new machine? What I have in mind is to get an external hard drive enclosure and use that to copy needed files off each of the old hard drives, one at a time. However... since I don't know for sure what actually triggered the BSOD in the first place, I don't know how safe it is, and I don't want to take unnecessary risks in case there was a worm or virus present (doubtful, since I probably would have found it on the external HD by now, but...). I think I managed to disable auto-run on the XP machine, and I heard about Flash Disinfector after stalking some of the forum topics, but would that be a viable way to prevent any malware from automatically crossing over from the old drives to the XP machine? (And I'm aware that I'm probably just being paranoid here, but after all the horror stories I've read, perhaps my caution isn't unwarranted.)

I know that probably the better way would be to try to resolve the issue with the Windows 2000 machine using a recovery disk (I don't have one, but my XP machine has a CD/DVD burner that I can use to create one if need be). The only drawback is that I have only one monitor, keyboard, and mouse; it's doable (if inconvenient) to swap the cords back and forth. And I could then use a CD to scan the machine for malware without risking infection on the XP machine... but I'd still have to get it to boot up in Safe Mode first before I could get that to happen.

Thanks in advance, and please let me know if you need more information to advise me on this.

P.S. One other thing... the issue with the USB drive is something else I want to address, but I'm wondering if it's more appropriate to just go ahead and post a separate topic in the XP forum about it. I don't want to have too many open topics, but I actually think it's a separate enough issue having nothing to do with malware. Again, thanks!

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#2 Karmic Justice

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Posted 22 May 2010 - 10:08 PM

Hi again.

Erm, I know we're not supposed to bump our topics, and this is hardly a high priority one, but it has been nearly two weeks since I opened this one, and I would appreciate some advice as to what I should do in order to safely port my date from my now defunct Windows 2000 machine to my "new" XP one.

I might as well take the opportunity to give additional information that I forgot last time around. The data that I want to retrieve from the "dead" machine mainly consists of documents, text files, chat logs, works in progress, images (such as pictures I scanned in, etc.), and emails that were stored on the machine within the past two years. (Most of the data I need that is from prior to 2008 had already been copied over to the external USB drive, which I do have limited access to.) I am not looking to back up any executable files from it, so that should allay any concerns that I might possibly want to retrieve files that could have been infected.

Furthermore, when I said that I had tried anti-malware products that I hadn't used before, I meant that I was actually using those that I knew to be reputable. On the "dead" machine, I had been using F-Prot's on-demand virus scanner (the system was just too slow to run the real-time protection) until the end of last December, when I decided to give AVG Free a try. AVG found the Weatherbug and a few stray trojans in old files I never executed, and (IIRC) "Win32/Small" in the temp directory of an old Windows 98 backup I'd hung onto for at least five years (I don't have the AVG report available, but the info on the following McAfee link seems to be the closest to what it detected: http://home.mcafee.com/VirusInfo/VirusProf...y=227910#none); the file itself appeared to be related to my old HP printer and was over five years old, but again, without access to any data on my old machine, I can't tell for sure. And finally, this was the first time I had ever used Malwarebytes' Antimalware after getting frustrated with the slowness of Spybot; all MBAM detected were registry key remnants of the Weatherbug.

I also would like to know if I need to open a new topic in the XP forum in regards to the external USB drive compatibility issue I've been having, or if I need to address it here in order to keep my number of open topics limited to one.

Once again, thanks so much in advance, and I apologize for the lengthiness and complexity of this topic. *Sweatdrops*

#3 Grinler

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 07:00 AM

Sorry for the lack of response to your thread.

Remember, the only way a infection from your old files can affect your new computer is if:

1. The data is infected
2. You open the file that may be infected.

Now it is possible that you can attach your hard drive be affected by an autorun worm, so before connecting your old drives to the new computer I suggest you disable autorun, which is a security risk in itself. This can be done using these instructions: http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/ind...c=315757&hl

Once autorun is disabled, you can then mount the old hard drives to your new computer. Before copying the data over, though, I suggest you scan the files you want to move using a quality AV app like Kaspersky and ESET. You can download free trials of both programs.

Let me know if you have any questions.

#4 Karmic Justice

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 01:09 PM

No worries! =) I do understand how swamped you guys are, if the number of topics in the logs forum is any indication. ;) I was just concerned about possibly doing further damage to my system if I continued to do things on my own, which was why I wanted to get some advice before proceeding. That saying to the effect of "a fool with a little knowledge is dangerous" holds true in my case. ;)

And thanks so much! I've gone ahead and made sure that Autorun is disabled in XP. As for AVs, I already have Avast! Free installed on this system, but IIRC, ESET and Kaspersky have online versions of their scanners, so I could probably run one of those in addition to be on the safe side.

Thanks so much again!




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