For many many months my family had a virus residing in their Dell computer. The virus made the computer extremely sluggish, the hard drive was working non-stop, and in both Firefox and IE8, Google searches were being redirected to a site which began with: adwords.myonlinesecure.com/xxx (where xxx was a long a cryptic bunch of numbers and letters). In the early stages of the virus, family members were logging into fake Paypal and AOL webpages that started asking for their SSN to log in and weird stuff like that.
I don't have the name of the virus because a family member used the Microsoft Malware Removal Tool which got rid of PART of the infection (they did not record the name of the virus found) but the computer was still painfully slow and constantly writing/reading something on the hard drive. I could not find any more viruses with the anti-spyware and anti-virus programs I used (SuperAntiSpyware, MS Malware Removal Tool, Norton Antivirus, AVG Antivirus, Spybot). Googling the redirect address mentioned above revealed that other people with this virus fond it was living in the computer's master boot record.
I decided to reformat the computer and do a full WinXP reinstall but the virus had to be eliminated from the mbr first. Just my luck, Dell computers have their own special master boot record so I copied part of an mbr form a healthy dell and overwrote JUST the boot code portion of my mbr using the instructions here: http://en.community.dell.com/support-forum...t/19325495.aspx
(see 13th post down). The computer ran great after the mbr hack with no signs of sluggishness, redirects, or any signs of a virus! I then proceeded to do a full reformat/reinstall of Windows.
NOW MY QUESTION: The computer is running great, but from the few diagnostic tests I've run, it looks like there's still something not 100% right with my master boot record. It could be because I hacked the mbr to kill the virus (i don't mind that). But who knows? maybe its remnants of the virus. I just want to know how to tell if the computer is clean before i return it to my family so i don't have to go through this again.
Thank you for your time.