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Uninstall Windows XP Pro from External Drive?


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13 replies to this topic

#1 Hypnotist321

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 07:43 PM

Hi Everyone,

I'm running XP Pro on a Dell 8400.

I may have a Bot infection, so I'm preparing to post a malware removal help request in the BC Security forums. As part of that preparation, I need to Back Up my data. I plan to do this using my 250 GB External Hard Drive, aka Drive F. It was the original hard drive installed when I purchased the Dell 8400. I kept it as external storage after I installed two new 500 GB drives (RAID 1)...but I left a lot of data on it including old programs and the XP Pro OS. I've deleted most of the data including most programs and would like to delete the old XP OS as it still contains some old System Restore points which may contain an old virus...according to my Avast! AV, anyway. At the time I converted the 250 GB drive to external storage, no other scans identified any threats. Anyway...is it possible to delete/uninstall/erase the XP Pro OS without wiping the external drive and reformatting? I would rather not move files from my external drive onto my primary drives and then back again.

Thanks in advance for the help!

Hypnotist

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#2 Broni

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 07:47 PM

Since you're not dealing with any active Windows installation, you can simply delete "Windows" folder, which contains most of Windows files.

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#3 Hypnotist321

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 08:11 PM

Thanks Broni,

I tried to delete WINDOWS folder on Drive F and got an error message:

Error Deleting File or folder

Cannot delete Flash9d.ocx: Access is denied.
Make sure the disk is not full or write protected
and that the file is not currently in use.


I Googled Flash9d.ocx and see there have been many problems with this Adobe Flash file. Is it possible it's being used from Drive F at the time I try to delete WINDOWS folder?

I have Revo Uninstaller. Could I use it?

#4 Broni

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 08:28 PM

Try Unlocker to remove either a whole Windows folder, or the offending Flash9d.ocx file.

Download, and install Unlocker: http://cedrick.collomb.perso.sfr.fr/unlocker/
Restart computer.
It'll install under right click menu.

Open Windows Explorer.
Navigate to offending folder/file.

Right click on a folder/file. Click Unlocker
Select Delete from drop-down menu:

Posted Image

Click OK.
A folder/file will refuse to be deleted, but Unlocker will give you an option to delete on reboot:

Posted Image

Click Yes.
Restart computer.

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#5 hamluis

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 09:45 PM

FWIW: The Windows folder is not the only location where malware makes a home. Not sure what deleting that folder will accomplish, other than prevent your booting that drive.

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#6 Broni

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 09:47 PM

This is an external drive, we're talking about here and the OP doesn't need that Windows folder at all:

I kept it as external storage after I installed two new 500 GB drives (RAID 1)...but I left a lot of data on it including old programs and the XP Pro OS


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#7 Hypnotist321

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 10:14 PM

@hamluis,

I sure hope uninstalling my old WINDOWS folder/OS on external drive F won't prevent me from accessing that drive and using it for backups in the future.

@Broni,

Apparently Unlocker is working, although slowly. Task Mgr shows Unlocker.exe running at 80 to 98 CPU.

Windows folder size started at over 5 GB is now down to 3.42 GB in about 25 minutes.

No refusal to be deleted notices yet.

Is Unlocker a program people generally keep around or does one typically uninstall it after use?

So...while I'm waiting to see how this works, I strolled on over to Broni's website. VERY NICE! On the home page one can view a wonderful video entitled, Aurora The Northern Lights 2011 featuring beautiful background music from Gladiator. What a pleasure....such beauty and magic!

The title to the video reminded me of a young musical prodigy's interpretation of Northern Lights. Emily Bear wrote her award winning composition Northern Lights at seven years young. I think she captured the essence. What say you...

Edited by Hypnotist321, 25 March 2011 - 10:53 PM.


#8 Broni

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 10:40 PM

It's a handy program. Keep it.

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#9 Hypnotist321

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 11:06 PM

2.56 GB remain

Broni...Love your website...see my edited previous post.

Thanks for ALL You Do!

Hypnotist

#10 Broni

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 11:12 PM

Thank you and you're welcome :)

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#11 hamluis

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Posted 26 March 2011 - 07:32 AM

FWIW: I was more focused on the prospect of malware remaining on the drive...than the removal of the Windows folder. The malware found/not found...should be a continuing concern and removal of the Windows folder does not eliminate the threat, IMO.

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#12 Broni

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Posted 26 March 2011 - 10:44 AM

I totally agree. That drive should be scanned with your AV program and possibly with some other program like Malwarebytes, to make sure all is clean there.

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#13 Hypnotist321

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Posted 26 March 2011 - 12:53 PM

Broni & hamluis,

Thank you so much for your valuable counsel and appropriate admonitions!

Unlock successfully removed the Windows folder and XP Pro OS from my External F Drive with no apparent problems, so I chose to go ahead and remove some old back-ups and additional unwanted programs from Drive F, as well. My system still recognizes and allows easy access to Drive F. Although Unlock did not require a reboot, I used CCleaner to empty Recycle bin, etc. and then rebooted the system...again, no problems.

And yes, I then updated and ran MBAM, Spybot S&D and SAS on Drive C and Drive F concurrently with no threats detected.

I realize there still may exist hidden threats...and so now that I can back up my important data to Drive F, I will do so and then follow the BC procedure for posting a help request in the malware removal forum...I believe that's the appropriate forum to ask for help in bot detection and removal, correct?

Thanks again! :thumbup2:

Hypnotist

#14 Broni

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Posted 26 March 2011 - 01:21 PM

That's correct.

Good luck :)

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