From what you describe, I would reformat both the C: and D: drives. Apps and games use .exe files so they are not safe from this type of infection.
Your E: drive with family documents should be safe but its best to scan that drive separately to make sure nothing is in there that my be infected. It's always possible to accidentially place an .exe/.html file in such a location without realizing you did so. Some types of malware will even install a piece of itself on all hard drives so its always best to double-check. If you encounter infected files, 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), dynamic link library (*.dll), autorun (.ini) or script files (.php, .asp, .htm, .html, .xml) files because they may be infected by malware. Avoid backing up compressed files (.zip, .cab, .rar) that have executables inside them as some types of malware can penetrate compressed files and infect the .exe files within them. Other types of malware may even disguise itself by hiding a file extension
or adding to the existing extension as shown here
(click Figure 1 to enlarge
) so be sure you look closely at the full file name. If you cannot see the file extension, you may need to reconfigure Windows to show file name extensions
. Then make sure you scan the backed up data with your anti-virus prior to
to copying it back to your hard drive.
If you're not sure how to reformat or need help with reformatting, please review:
These links include specific step-by-step instructions with screenshots:Vista users
can refer to these instructions:Windows 7 users
can refer to these instructions:
Don't forget you will have to go to Microsoft Update
and apply all Windows security patches after reformatting.Note: If you're using an IBM, Sony, HP, Compaq, Toshiba, Gateway or Dell machine, you may not have an original CD Disk. By policy Microsoft no longer allows OEM manufactures to include the original Windows XP CD-ROM on computers sold with Windows preinstalled. Instead, most computers manufactured and sold by OEM vendors come with a vendor-specific Recovery Disk or Recovery Partition for performing a clean "factory restore" that will reformat your hard drive, remove all data and restore the computer to the state it was in when you first purchased it. Also be sure to read Technology Advisory Recovery Media. If the recovery partition has become infected, you will need to contact the manufacturer, explain what happened and ask them to send full recovery disks to use instead. If you lost or misplaced your recover disks, again you can contact and advise the manufacturer. In many cases they will send replacements as part of their support.
If you have made a disk image
with an imaging tool
(i.e. Acronis True Image, Drive Image, Ghost, Macrium Reflect, etc.
your system was infected, then using it is another option. Disk Imaging allows you to take a complete snapshot
(image) of your hard disk which can be used for system recovery in case of a hard disk disaster or malware resistent to disinfection. The image is an exact, byte-by-byte copy of an entire hard drive (partition or logical disk) which can be used to restore your system at a later time to the exact same state the system was when you imaged the disk or partition. Essentially, it will restore the computer to the state it was in when the image was made
. You will then have to reinstall all programs that you added afterwards. This includes all security updates and patches from Microsoft.
If you need additional assistance with reformatting or partitioning, you can start a new topic in the Operating Systems Subforums forum