You should not attach your external drive to an infected windows computer--the autorun demon will get you! I hope you haven't infected the drive.
That is why I told you to download Puppy Linux. It will allow you to mount your system drive and copy the files to your external drive.
If you don't know how to burn an ISO image there are instructions all over the net for it.
Viruses aimed at Windows don't infect Linux and Vice-Versa.
Hopefully, you know how to disable autorun on your laptop and can run antivirus and antimalware software on your external hard drive. It would really suck if you cleaned your pc and reinfected it--or infected your laptop.
Don't reboot the laptop until you run a complete scan if you have plugged the drive into both computers!!!
OOPS, I thought you were communicating via laptop. I am such a dinosaur.
The tools used on this site are dangerous--which is also why they work. However, I am out of practice. If you have been infected for a length of time and still connected to the internet, it is likely you will have layers of malware to sort through. When I get a suspect computer, I immediately back up all of the documents, mail and account information. I do this using a different operating system; if it is a Windows system, I use Knoppix or Puppy. The reason is that the drive is not active until I make it active, so a sick drive won't turn into something worse. I am sure that this site still recommends doing this before all else if you can.
The absolute last thing you want to do is apply random "fixes"--however, you should be able use system restore from the safe mode--but you will want to make copies of your mail and newer documents that the restore image will not have.
Oh, and btw if you have any kind of antivirus and or anti malware have you attempted to run it in safe mode?
Edited by Eqwatz, 16 February 2012 - 07:38 PM.