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XP Home reformat questions


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#1 spbb05

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Posted 16 July 2010 - 10:34 AM

I'm having malware/trojan problems and it's been recommended that I consider a reformat - see link below:

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/top...ml#entry1844101

I have a 4 yr old Dell Vosrto 1500 service tag 5ZQRHD1
XP Home SP3

I have the Drivers and Utility Disk and the Operating System disk. The pc is my teen daughters laptop. She has lots of photos, music, itunes , printer, MS Office 2003(i have the disk), I use free anti virus and malware tools. The other programs are adobe reader, java etc.

I've never done a reformat and don't know what to expect as far as ease, my ability to get everything reloaded, what can go wrong and how to prevent, etc. Oh, one more thing, she leaves the country for ten months in mid to late August and I want to ensure she won't have problems w/ the pc while gone. Any advice to make the reformat smooth?

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#2 aommaster

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Posted 17 July 2010 - 02:28 AM

Hi!

Do you have any specific concerns regarding a reformat? Anything that bothers you about doing it? Reformatting can be a bit scary the first time round, but most of the new computers nowadays take away all the nitty gritty work and take care of the whole reformatting procedure for you.

I see that you're being helped by Gringo. If you have any specific questions, you can ask him for clarification. He will probably also have instructions or a link that will walk you through how to reformat your system. However, it's best that you let him know before doing it.

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#3 Queen-Evie

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Posted 17 July 2010 - 08:05 AM

You will have to back up things she doesn't want to lose-photos, music, documents, etc.

If you have an external drive, copy what she wants to save to the drive. This is the easiest back up method.

You can also burn everything to cd's, but this would take a lot of cd's for the music.

#4 spbb05

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Posted 18 July 2010 - 10:57 AM

Queen-Evie- I have a new 14gb flash drive I was planning on using.

aommaster - some of my concern is I don't know what the pitfalls are and what can go wrong. A document would help. Also, knowing what I need to do in advance to make the reformat go smoothly. How much time to I need to set aside from the start of reformatting to being able to use the laptop again?

Gringo has been a big help. In the thread below he mentions about a reformat:

"it would solve the problem and with the nature of this virus may be the best course of action, it is not hard but if you would like to have someone walk you thru it , you should be able to find someone here to do it - http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/f/56/windows-xp-home-and-professional/

Would you be able to walk me through the reformat?

Thank you for your help!

Edited by spbb05, 18 July 2010 - 10:59 AM.


#5 aommaster

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Posted 18 July 2010 - 01:15 PM

Hi!

some of my concern is I don't know what the pitfalls are and what can go wrong.

Technically speaking, with any computer-related process, something can go wrong (it's Murphy's law :thumbsup:), but the odds of that happening during a reformat is pretty slim.

Also, knowing what I need to do in advance to make the reformat go smoothly.

There are a large number of tutorial online that show you how to reformat. Here's one that I found:
http://www.techspot.com/vb/topic53502.html

How much time to I need to set aside from the start of reformatting to being able to use the laptop again?

The reformatting process (that is, reformat the HD and install Windows) should take no more than 3 hours. During most of that time, you won't be required to do anything, as the installer will be taking care of things for you. So, 3 hours to finish the reformat, but you'll have a lot of free time in those 3 hours to do other things.

Would you be able to walk me through the reformat?

I'd be more than happy to :flowers:

If you do decide to reformat, please let Gringo know

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#6 spbb05

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 09:32 AM

aommaster - I let gringo know we decided to do the reformat yesterday afternoon. I read the link you sent and some other info and have a few more questions before I start-

- Do I just copy the my documents file onto my flash drive or is it better to do system tools>files and settings transfer wizard? Are the setting important to copy over or could I be bringing the virus problems in the settings?

-I don't quite undersatand the instructions when it comes to installing windows in a partition. As far as i know, my hd isn't partitioned. How can I tell if it is?

-Ater windows in installed, the next step is to load the drivers, correct? Is there a special order to load them?

thanks again for your help :thumbsup:

Edited by spbb05, 20 July 2010 - 10:17 AM.


#7 hamluis

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 09:57 AM

If I had malware problems...I would be very careful about copying files from an infected system...in particular, I would be concerned about anything in the Documents & Settings group of folders (which includes favorites, cookies, etc.).

I would suggest a straight copy or move for any data files which you want to retain...I've not ever used FAST but I have noted that some have reported problems when using it. Simple is good in ComputerLand :thumbsup:, IMO.

There is no particular order for loading drivers that I know of. The key is to check Device Manager and see exactly what drivers are necessary.

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#8 aommaster

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 01:10 PM

Hi!

Hamluis raises very good points. In addition to those, I'd like to add:

Do I just copy the my documents file onto my flash drive or is it better to do system tools>files and settings transfer wizard? Are the setting important to copy over or could I be bringing the virus problems in the settings?

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, and .html) files because they may be infected by malware. Avoid backing up compressed files (.zip, .cab, .rar) that have executable files inside them as some types of malware can penetrate and infect .exe files within compressed files too.
Other types of malware may even disguise itself by adding and hiding its extension to the existing extension of file(s) so be sure you look closely at the full file name. After reformatting, scan the backed up data with your anti-virus prior to to copying it back to your hard drive.

I don't quite undersatand the instructions when it comes to installing windows in a partition. As far as i know, my hd isn't partitioned. How can I tell if it is?

By definition, if you have windows installed, then you have at least one parition. You cannot use a hard drive's unpartitioned space. The best way to see the number of partitions is to open My Computer. If there is onle one hard disk drive present, then you only have one partition. If there is more than one, then you could have 2 physical drives, each with one partition, or one drive with two partitions (to know which is the case, you'll need to know your PC a little bit more).

If you're still unsure, let me know and I can have you run a program that will produce a log to tell us which is the case :thumbsup:

Ater windows in installed, the next step is to load the drivers, correct? Is there a special order to load them?

Not really. Most drivers should already come preinstalled, but if they don't, it's just a matter of preference.

I tend to load Motherboard, Graphics, Network, Sound, then any other drivers left over.

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#9 spbb05

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 07:39 PM

hamluis and aommaster-

Thanks for your answers. I'm copying the files from her my documents and placing them on a hard drive on another working pc.

I only have c drive listed so i don't believe the HD is partitioned. Also, I found a tutorial about reformatting on the Dell site that's helpful. I'll report back when I'm finished the reformat.

Thanks!

#10 aommaster

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 08:24 PM

Hi!

Yes, if only C drive is present, then you have a single physical drive with a single partition (C ).

Let us know how it goes :thumbsup:

Edited by aommaster, 20 July 2010 - 08:25 PM.

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#11 spbb05

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 08:42 PM

I'm back already with a question -

I started the reformat and excepted the licencing agreement. I'm stuck as to what to do now. Below is what the screen says:

Windows XP Home Edition Setup

The following list shows the existing partitions and unpartitioned space on this computer.

Use the up and down arrows to select an item on the list
- to set up Widows xp on the selected item, press enter
- to create a partition in the unpartitioned space, press C
- to delete the selected partition press D

114471 MB Disk 0 at Id0 on bus 0 on atapi (MBR)

-: Partition 1 (FAT) 110 MB (101mb Free)
C: Partition 2 (NTFS) 111796 MB (88956MB Free)
Unpartitioned space 8MB
E: Partition 3 (MEDIADIRECT) (FAT32) 2557MB (976 MB Free)

I selected partition 2 and received a message saying there is an operating system on the partition already. I think what i need to do is delete Partition 2 then install - is that correct?

Edited by spbb05, 20 July 2010 - 09:05 PM.


#12 aommaster

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 09:24 PM

Yes, there are two ways of going about it. You can do as you stated, that is, delete the partition, and repartition it. However, I believe that the Windows XP installer should give you an option for formatting the partition before installing onto it, which is the other method of going about it.

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#13 spbb05

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 09:44 PM

Thanks - I deleted the partition 2 and the next step was the format screen. I selected "Format the partition using the NTFS file system (Quick)" and it set up the files and rebooted. It just made it past the dell screen and is setting up windows now - about 35 minutes left. Thanks for your fast response :thumbsup:

#14 Mark889

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 09:45 PM

I've had this very same question whenever I had re-installed windows in my computers. Subscribing. :thumbsup:

One other thing sppb05, it is probably a moot point at this juncture, but a lot of the older Dell systems (not sure if Dell is still doing it) have a system recovery option (it's different from the system restore function in system tools). Its a combination of keys (ctrl + F11) that need to be pressed upon boot up that will allow you to re-set your computer exactly the way it was when it left the factory. I've used it on two of my older Dell systems and it has worked like a charm. Still have to update the drivers though. Of course though, if the hard drive has been formatted previously and that partition was removed it wouldn't work anymore.

#15 spbb05

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 09:51 PM

Mark889 - First time reformating the pc. i read about that on the dell site and tried ctrl F11 a couple times and it didn't do anything.

I've always wanted to learn how to do this, just not wanting to be forced by a trojan to do it now. Seems to be going well now.....




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