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Unable To Uninstall/reinstall Xp

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#1 WoeIsMe


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Posted 03 December 2005 - 04:01 PM

I have been on a long journey trying to repair my son's computer. I'll do my best to untangle the events and lay it out for you. He has a Gateway notebook with XP pro installed. He has an XP firewall, Norton 2005 Suite, and runs AdAware and Spybot daily, to control spyware.

There's never been a problem until 2 days ago. First, Norton stopped working. He discovered this when he tried to do a system scan, but it wouldn't scan. Instead, he saw a message that said to uninstall the program, and then reinstall. Nothing was working. Error messages were beside all the antivirus function keys. He uninstalled the program, but he can't reinstall yet. He doesn't have the disk. It was left at my brother's house, who lives out of state. He is mailing it to him, but in the meantime, I installed AVG so that the computer wouldn't be exposed. Then he ran his spyware programs. They showed that he'd picked up some bugs. Even after removal, the computer acted strangely. I installed a copy of SpySweeper and Spy Doctor on his system. They both showed many entries for dialers and browser hijacking programs. Even after getting rid of them, the computer has continued to fall apart. Who knows what's on the computer? Four programs found different things. I don't know if we got everything or not. It's so frustrating that one program can't do the job.

Today I tried to see what I could do with it. Help and support cannot be accessed. The network connection icons have disappeared from the Network Connections folder, but they still show in control panel's hardware profile list. There used to be 2 entries, now it's empty. We didn't delete them, so I don't know how they disappeared. He cannot connect to the internet and the registry is a mess. He tried to manually remove some bugs and probably deleted some important system files. I don't know how to fix so many problems for him. I'm good at the entry level stuff, but that's all. I thought if we did a clean reinstall of XP pro, maybe that would be best. The XP Pro disk he has is no help. It gives a message that the version on the computer is newer than the one on disk. It can't repair or reinstall from the disk. My brother gave him the computer, and he obviously gave him the wrong disk for the computer. Isn't there some way to uninstall the OS without the disk? If I could take everything off, I should be able to reinstall with the disk we have.

I hope someone can weed through the maze I tried to present, and help me get his computer back to normal. This is one for somebody who enjoys solving puzzles and mysteries! Lol. Thank you in advance for any help you can give.

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#2 cyman1964uk


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Posted 03 December 2005 - 04:27 PM

Hi there,

Can't you even do a reformat of the hard drive? If there's all kinds of viruses on there, a complete refresh might be the only option.

Failing that, my PC was once as near-dead as you can imagine. Unable to re-boot, etc and I'd been through every imaginable potential solution ... various Safe Mode manoeuvres, playing with BIOS settings, attempting System Restores, you name it. I was literally about to give up and reformat when I bought VCOMs SystemSuite. I used Recovery Commander from in there and it reset my PC to an earlier state like a dream! I hadn't even set any restore points for Recovery Commander to work with. It just worked.

I don't work for VCOM, but I'd recommend SystemSuite anyday. And advise you to leave Norton WELL alone!


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#3 usasma


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Posted 03 December 2005 - 08:21 PM

FWIW - Norton used to have a nasty hole in it. It would only scan compressed files 3 levels deep by default (they may have fixed this since I last used it). The bad guys know this, so they bury their payload 4 or more levels deep. Then it gets on your system and propogates itself! (This happened to me!).

Only use the following instructions if you're sure that your disk with XP will install onto a freshly formatted hard drive (let us know what's printed on the face of the CD and we'll have a better idea of if it can be done or not) and that you can boot from the CD (the CD has to be bootable, and the computer has to have the ability to boot from CD also)

1) Back up everything that you think that you'll need from it (remember - these backups may be infected!)
2) Format the hard drive using a low-level format utility (usually free) from the hard drive manufacturer. This will remove any traces of anything on the hard drive - the old OS and any low-level buggers that may be hiding there. You may be able to get away with a regular format instead, but since we don't know if you've got a boot sector virus or not - the low-level is the way to go.
3) Insert the XP CD and boot from it to do a clean install
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