In January, I had a rootkit infection that was cleaned to the best of the ability of BC staff (thank you!!!). For reference, that thread is here: http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/topic366605.html
All seemed fine until last week, when Windows Update began downloading and installing the same two updates every day, which continues today.
Microsoft tech support went through some troubleshooting with me, and ultimately said that this could be due to a virus, and recommended a complete reformat and clean OS install.
Hereís where it gets tricky Ė there are a few complicating factors:
My computer (Dell Inspiron 1720) came with Windows Vista. I bought Windows 7 later, to take advantage of their special student price. I installed on top of Vista by downloading the installation files, so I did not receive an installation DVD
I assume this means that I need to reformat the computer, install Windows Vista from the installation DVD that came with the computer, and then use my Windows 7 product key to download the installation files again and install it on top of Vista.
However, I just spoke with Dell tech support, and apparently the fact that I bought and installed Windows 7 directly from Microsoft (rather than through Dell) has voided my software warranty, which otherwise would still be in effect (this seems absurd to me - a normal OS upgrade voids my warranty?). So now my Dell warranty is worthless, so I canít get their help with the reformat & OS reinstall.
So my first question is, can anyone on BC let me know how I can learn how to correctly do a clean install of my OS (I guess first Vista, then Windows 7)?
My second question is about saving my data. I last backed up my hard drive prior to the rootkit infection (several months ago). I have not backed up my data since then because Iíve been worried that, if I plug my external HD (a BlackArmor PS 110) into the computer, and there is still an infection present, it could infect the backup drive and reinfect my computer after the clean reinstall when I load my data back on.
So my second question: is this a valid concern? How would you recommend backing up the data Iíve accumulated in the past several months (a considerable number of photos and documents)?