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Is it worth the efforts to get my computer cleaned of viruses?


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#1 doingitwell

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Posted 16 May 2010 - 07:48 PM

So, I have this 5+ year old Sony VAIO computer. Up until a week or so ago I've had no problems, then it got infected.

I've read the guides on this forum in regards to what steps to take to get rid of them. I had to run the Malwarebytes, Superantispyware and Avast in Safe Mode as they wouldn't run under normal operation. Actually, they would kind of run but the computer would hang within a few minutes of starting the scans. Like I said, I've ran all three programs in Safe Mode until no further infections were found. I then booted up in normal operation and the computer still isn't the same. I don't get all the pop-ups, fake anti-virus warning, etc, but I can't access the internet any more and it literally takes 15 minutes before all the HD noises settle down.

Thankfully I was able to get all the information I wanted off the HD except one, (important to me), program.

I guess the bottom line is, is this computer worth the time and effort?

Not sure if it matters, but between the three programs I used for scanning I had in excess of 1000 infected files.

Edited by Orange Blossom, 16 May 2010 - 08:00 PM.
Move to AII as no logs posted. ~ OB


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#2 boopme

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Posted 16 May 2010 - 08:14 PM

Hello just for the record Malwarebytes is stronger in normal mode.

Sometimes a reformat and re install is a good thing.

Your decision as to what action to take should be made by reading and asking yourself the questions presented in "When Should I Format, How Should I Reinstall?" 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 but I cannot make that decision for you.


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.
Or Darik's Boot And Nuke

The best sources of Information on this are
Reformatting Windows XP
Michael Stevens Tech
Windows XP: Clean Install

Of course also feel free to ask anything on this in the XP forum. They'd be glad to help.

==============================

2 guidelines/rules when backing up

1) Backup all your important data files, pictures, music, work etc... and save it onto an external hard-drive. These files usually include .doc, .txt, .mp3, .jpg etc...
2) Do not backup any executables files or any window files. These include .exe/.scr/.htm/.html/.xml/.zip/.rar files as they may contain traces of malware. Also, .html or .htm files that are webpages should also be avoided.

Download Belarc Advisor - builds a detailed profile of your installed software and hardware, including Microsoft Hotfixes, and displays the results in your Web browser.
Run it and then print out the results, they may be handy.

Since we don't know exactly which infections we're dealing with here, we should take some precautions before we attempt to move files from the infected machine. Run the following on your clean computer, and make sure you insert your flash drives at the prompt.
Download and Run FlashDisinfector

Please download Flash_Disinfector.exe by sUBs and save it to your desktop.
  • Double-click Flash_Disinfector.exe to run it and follow any prompts that may appear.
  • The utility may ask you to insert your flash drive and/or other removable drives. Please do so and allow the utility to clean up those drives as well.
  • Hold down the Shift key when inserting the drive until Windows detects it to keep autorun.inf from executing if it is present.
  • Wait until it has finished scanning and then exit the program.
  • Reboot your computer when done.
Note: As part of its routine, Flash_Disinfector will create a hidden folder named autorun.inf in each partition and every USB drive that was plugged in when you ran it. Do not delete this folder...it will help protect your drives from future infection by keeping the autorun file from being installed on the root drive and running other malicious files.


Reinstall Windows Vista
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#3 doingitwell

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Posted 16 May 2010 - 08:24 PM

Thanks Boop for your post. I agree, the scanning software is stronger in normal mode but as I said, the system wouldn't allow it, just hanged. I would also do exactly what you say in regards to formatting, (at any level), but I do NOT have an owned version of the O/S, (XP). So I guess I really don't have an option for that. Yes I could go buy one, and I'm thinking about it, but still weighing my options.

I like what I read from your suggestion about the flash_Disinfector. I will be utilizing that soon.

Thank you again!!

#4 boopme

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Posted 16 May 2010 - 08:27 PM

Do you have the registration key?
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#5 doingitwell

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Posted 16 May 2010 - 08:36 PM

Yes I do have that, it's on a sticker on the back of the computer.

#6 chromebuster

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 12:36 AM

Hey,
You know, if it makes you feel any better, I had the same problem last year on May 29, 2009. A friend of mine was trying to give me a hand, but it didn't matter. All internet connectivity was lost. No one could figure it out, so reinstalling windows was the only thing I could do. My desktop, "Dellmeyer" as it is known as by my close friends and I, is now four years old, and despite all that, it still runs well. Windows 7 is all it needed. So as a suggestion, if you decide to go the reformat route, then maybe consider upgrading to windows 7.

Chromebuster

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Some call me The Queen of Cambridge


#7 boopme

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 09:09 AM

How to Reinstall Windows XP Without a CD
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#8 doingitwell

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 11:37 AM

Hey boop, I looked at the link you posted, looks pretty straight forward. I did notice in step 2 it said "Back up everything on your computer to floppy disks, CDs or external hard drives. This includes not only your saved pictures, documents, other files and passwords, but also every program on the computer--especially the ones you installed after purchasing the computer". I did not and wont be backing up the entire drive as I don't want to re-infect. I did however get everything else I wanted and scanned it with 3 different programs before putting it on the computer I'm using now. However there is one program, Autocad, that I would like to get off the computer. If I back up that program will it still work once I re-install windows?

#9 boopme

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 04:24 PM

Yes it should reinstall Copy all the exe. .bat. sys files see if you have any registration keys..
The Belarc program may show you them.
How do I get help? Who is helping me?For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear....Become a BleepingComputer fan: Facebook

#10 doingitwell

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 10:18 PM

Hey boop and the forum, wanted to let you all know what has transpired in the last 72 hours for me in relation to my OP.

I checked out the link boop posted about re-installing XP without an OEM CD. Guess what? It worked, with a few mods. The path to the i386 folder wasn't as easy as described in the article, I had to search for it. Even when I did do a search I got back about 5 different folder/file matches and then I had to dissect them out. But once I double-clicked the appropriate icon, what do you know, I got prompted to re-install XP. I had to input the OEM key which was the hardest part of the whole thing.:flowers: The re-install took about 40 minutes without ANY hiccups.:trumpet:

After the install is when it got dicey. I managed to re-install all of my programs except two, Wordperfect and my most important one, Autocad. I'm still working on that.

But the weird thing is, somehow a carbon copy of my C: drive was created. I found this out when running Malwarebytes, Avast and Superantispyware scans once the install was done. I was seeing files being scanned that I didn't recognize from earlier when exploring the HD. I'm not kidding, all my doc's, pic's, videos, etc where still there, only somewhere else, like the HD was partitioned or something....it's not by the way, well, I'm fairly sure it's not.

After running the above scans I was able to eliminate about 700 adware cookies, (which isn't that big of a deal), 5 trojans, 4 malware and 1 of something I don't remember. If you recall from my initial post I wasn't able to run full and complete A/V, malware, etc scans in normal mode, only while running in "Safe Mode". And from what I learned from a poster in this thread, you don't get the complete and thorough scan with that method.

I also had a PITA with all the updates that MS wanted to download after the re-install of XP. Remember, the XP version that was installed on this HD is over 5 years old, so you can imagine the updates waiting in line wanting to install. The hardest part I had is after updating with the SP3, I couldn't get IE7 to fire.

Prior to all this I was sure to keep very detailed notes on how things progressed during the re-install and MS updates. I also created many restore points along the way ensuring my possible backtrack without losing too much work. So get this, I finally got fed up with IE not loading after I did the SP3 pack install so I downloaded Firefox. Here's where it gets weird, after downloading Firefox, re-boot, IE and Firefox load. I didn't restore prior to installing Firefox if it matters. I personally prefer FF, but the wife is used to IE. I'm certain if she wants to get on the net she will learn to be happy with FF!!! :thumbsup:

This is the only question I have, if you can believe it. I can't seem to locate the folder where this "carbon copy" of my C: drive is located. I can get close when looking at the path shown while scanning, but only a partial amount of the path can be traced. I'm suspecting this has something to do with hidden files, but I can't find it.

I hope this helps those that may be experiencing the same problem.

I thank you all for your thoughts and problem solving posts.

Robert

#11 chromebuster

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 11:08 PM

Hi again,
I will tell you two things. You are having updating issues due to the internet not loading. If IE can't load, then neither can windows update itself because the people at Microsoft ensured that only their programs can update their other programs if you know what I mean. LOL. You might consider putting that as a question in the internet and networking part of this forum. The other thing. Carbon copies of folders on the drive (especially the systemdrive), can be caused by partitioning. You may have partitioned accidentally when trying to reinstall the OS without even knowing or realizing it. You might be able to check that with a system diagnostic tool. I can't think of a good one right now, but you can look it up. There're tons of free ones out there.

regards,
Chromebuster

The AccessCop Network is just me and my crew. 

Some call me The Queen of Cambridge





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