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Can't Wipe Hdd


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#1 stevealmighty

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Posted 10 April 2006 - 01:23 PM

Sorry in advance if this is in the wrong area, but I figured it might go either way for hardware/virus issues (so I opted for hardware figuring I had a 50/50 chance :thumbsup: ).

A friend of the family asked me to look at their computer. I said sure and of course no charge for me to fix it. WTF was I thinking! OMG this is the worst comuputer that I've ever seen! It took almost an hour to start up! Once it did start, I had to go through maybe 20-30 errors saying that IE had encountered an error and had to close blah blah blah, would I like to send a report (I picked no for all of them). Then the whole while spyflacon and 2 other similar programs are popping up with that ignorant window saying "spyware found, click here to fix" (or whatever it says) every 2 friggin' seconds! Now, inbetween all these stupid things, I keep getting "Virus found!" errors from nortons every 5 seconds. Well, there was grand total of 1800+ notifications of some 40+ different virus/wurm/trojan attacks caught by nortons. So, after letting it sort itself out for over 24 hours, I still couldn't get ANYTHING to work, and I mean anything! I couldn't open any programs, couldn't run anything, couldn't boot from into safe mode or boot from the CD, nothing! The machine has Adaware on it, but I can't get that to start. I can get the machine to recognize the CD reader (but not the other drive that's a cd burner), but it won't auto play (so I can't wipe the drive from the disc with programs that are required to boot from disc). I can't transfer any thing from the CD to the hdd, nor can I delete anything from the hdd, nor can I even create a new folder. I can't update anything, can't connect to the internet, can't start IE, firefox, or any program for that matter. The desktop has changed too. I can't even use Nortons utilities 2003 to wipe the drive! Are you mortified yet? I am!

So, now that you have an idea of how bad this computer is, here's the question. Is it possible for a wurm/trojan/virus to actually damage the hdd so that you can't read/write to it? Due to how bad off this computer is, I refuse to even attempt to plug it into my computer as a slave drive and wipe it that way. Understand that I've been working on this machine for about a week now and can't do anything at all with it!

The computer itself is only 2 years old, if that. It's got an 80 gb drive, and only 6 gb of it is used. I told them how bad it was and they said that they were gonna just buy a new one (a $600 from dell). I told them to just save their money and to buy more ram and a new hdd and I'll install it for them. I also offered to sell them a 40 gb drive that I have that's already been wiped and works fine. They're current machine is a dell, dimensions series, with a (if I remember right) 2.4 p4, 256 mb ram onboard sound/gfx. If they bought a new comput for $600, they'd probably only go up to a 2.8 p4, same ram and onboard everything. So, I figure that my telling them to just upgrade the ram and get a new drive and save about $500 is good advice.

Sorry for the lengthy post!
War produces veterans, wounded both physically and mentally. They have sacrificed for us.....and it is now our job to help these veterans, as they have already helped us in ways we will never know, in ways that we cannot fathom, and in ways that we take granted every day.
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#2 just me

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Posted 10 April 2006 - 02:10 PM

Forget the RAM for the time being.

Tell them (subtly) that if they get a new computer it could also end up in the same condition two years from now if they don't use a little discretion in what they download and don't keep up with software maintenance as well as the maintenance and running anti-virus and anti-malware programs.

Install your 40 gigabyte on their system and rebuild the OS. Then see if you can recover any data files they might need from their 80 gigabyte drive by installing it as a slave on their system (not yours). All done, reformat the 80 gigabyte drive and rebuild it from the 40 gigabyte, put it on their system and pull your 40 gigabyte off.

Worst case if the original 80 gigabyte drive is actually bad, let them buy a new 80 gigabyte drive for themselves or a 40 gigabyte for you and give them a chance to shop around for sales.

Tell them they owe you a dinner.

Edited by just me, 10 April 2006 - 02:18 PM.


#3 stevealmighty

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Posted 10 April 2006 - 02:25 PM

Tell them (subtly) that if they get a new computer it could also end up in the same condition two years from now if they don't use a little discretion in what they download and don't keep up with software maintenance as well as the maintenance and running anti-virus and anti-malware programs.


I've told them this already. A few times! They've heard that lecture from me about a billion times! I'm going to lock their machine up good and tight for them......hopefully making it nearly impossible to get infected, or even visit web pages in general! That should keep the machine clean!

Install your 40 gigabyte on their system and rebuild the OS. Then see if you can recover any data files they might need from their 80 gigabyte drive by installing it as a slave on their system (not yours). All done, reformat the 80 gigabyte drive and rebuild it from the 40 gigabyte, put it on their system and pull your 40 gigabyte off.


Great idea! :thumbsup: Now, why did't I think of that? :flowers:

I think that I'll do that tonight! Thanks for the help just me!!!!! :trumpet:
War produces veterans, wounded both physically and mentally. They have sacrificed for us.....and it is now our job to help these veterans, as they have already helped us in ways we will never know, in ways that we cannot fathom, and in ways that we take granted every day.
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#4 just me

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Posted 10 April 2006 - 02:39 PM

Good luck!!! If it works, don't forget the dinner!!!

#5 Gothmog

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Posted 11 April 2006 - 04:36 AM

You could have tried disabling/removing the virus and spyware detectors to avoid all the warnings. That may seem kinda fatalistic, but when you are up to your neck in water it would piss me off to have a warning telling me I may drown click here to fix. ::thumbsup:: keep that in mind for next time(theres always a next time) it will come sooner than you think.

but it won't auto play (so I can't wipe the drive from the disc with programs that are required to boot from disc).

do you mean that you couldn't even set the CD to 1st boot device in bios and boot from the windows cd? or go old school and make a boot floppy with your computer.

PS

Sorry for the lengthy post!

dont worry, my 4 line posts turn into novels. this short reply took discipline! besides reading more makes your brain bigger

Edited by Gothmog, 11 April 2006 - 04:40 AM.


#6 stevealmighty

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Posted 11 April 2006 - 06:42 AM

You could have tried disabling/removing the virus and spyware detectors to avoid all the warnings. That may seem kinda fatalistic, but when you are up to your neck in water it would piss me off to have a warning telling me I may drown click here to fix. :wink.gif: keep that in mind for next time(theres always a next time) it will come sooner than you think.


Good point, I'll keep this in mind for "next time" (and yes, there does always seem to be a next time!).



do you mean that you couldn't even set the CD to 1st boot device in bios and boot from the windows cd? or go old school and make a boot floppy with your computer.


I tried to set the bios to "boot from cd 1st", but it still wouldn't take it. It wouldn't do anything. And seeing as how it took nearly an hour to restart, I quickly ran out of patience with it.

Oh, and the only way I'm going to school is if I'm going to teach! I haven't been in school since......well, nevermind that. Let's just say that I've got a job, house, wife, 2 kids (12 and 5 yrs old), and a cat. Thanks though, it made me feel young again! :thumbsup:

I actually pulled it apart last night and was going to tear into it and redo the drives and whatnot, but.....omg, friggin' Dell and their stupid setups! I can't even explain it. The hdd sits mounted in the very front of the case vertically (with the front pointing down, and the top of the hdd touching the front of the inner case)! And the IDE cable that's on it only has 1 connection!

Can I swap out the IDE cables for the 2 CD drives and use it for so I can hook up the 2 hdd's, and use the hdd IDE cable (cuz it only has one connector on either end) to hook up a single optical drive to the mobo? Did that make sense cuz I just confused myself! Maybe I do need to go back to school..... :flowers:
War produces veterans, wounded both physically and mentally. They have sacrificed for us.....and it is now our job to help these veterans, as they have already helped us in ways we will never know, in ways that we cannot fathom, and in ways that we take granted every day.
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#7 just me

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Posted 11 April 2006 - 07:29 AM

The IDE cables should be interchangeable. Make sure that you change the jumper settings on the second drive to Slave when adding the second drive to the same IDE cable.

#8 stevealmighty

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Posted 11 April 2006 - 07:54 AM

I thought so, but better to be safe than have your toes bit off by a rapid poodle. Or something like that.
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#9 Herk

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Posted 11 April 2006 - 04:06 PM

Have you tried taking out the second CD and booting from the one that's left? And why can't you boot from the burner? Do you have a spare cable for the first IDE chain that has two connectors?

Have you tried booting up in Safe Mode so that you can clean up some of the threats?

#10 stevealmighty

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Posted 12 April 2006 - 09:11 AM

Have you tried taking out the second CD and booting from the one that's left? And why can't you boot from the burner? Do you have a spare cable for the first IDE chain that has two connectors?

Have you tried booting up in Safe Mode so that you can clean up some of the threats?


I've disconnected each drive individually and tried to boot from each one of them.....neither worked.

I'm going to swap the IDE cables around (I don't have any spares) so that I'll have 1 optical drive (set as master) and one hdd (which will be the smaller 40gb one that's mine) so that I can install the OS on the machine. I'll then add the larger 80gb drive (the one that's in there now and that's all jacked up) as a slave and wipe it clean. Then I'll swap it all around so that it's in the original configuration with the original parts and reinstall the OS. Then I'll hook up my smaller drive and wipe the OS off that one. Sounds easy enough, but I'll probably run into problems with it.

Maybe I should just give them their computer back and find new friends.....lol! :thumbsup:
War produces veterans, wounded both physically and mentally. They have sacrificed for us.....and it is now our job to help these veterans, as they have already helped us in ways we will never know, in ways that we cannot fathom, and in ways that we take granted every day.
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#11 linderman

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Posted 12 April 2006 - 06:37 PM

Steve:

why not just use Darik's boot & nuke or Killdisk and wipe the whole thing and start from scratch (the price for computing with out commone sense) >>> use the floppy disk version

#12 acklan

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Posted 12 April 2006 - 06:41 PM

Heck. Run down to the used computer store and pickup a used EIDE cable for about $2.
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#13 stevealmighty

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Posted 13 April 2006 - 06:53 AM

linderman wrote:

Steve:

why not just use Darik's boot & nuke or Killdisk and wipe the whole thing and start from scratch (the price for computing with out commone sense) >>> use the floppy disk version


Hmmmm....I try to stay away from flopy drives. I don't like them and they don't like me. They are not my friend. I thought about it, but figured that since I couldn't boot from the CD, the I woulnd't be abble to boot from the floppy. I'll give it a whirl though. Do you have a link for that boot and nuke or killdisk? I'll try searching the forums in the meanwhile. Thanks for the input!


acklan wrtoe:

Heck. Run down to the used computer store and pickup a used EIDE cable for about $2.


LOL! I live in a small area. There are an astounding amount of computer part stores around here, 2 to be exact. I checked in one place for an IDE cable a few months back, and they pulled one out of a computer they had and said "Here, $5 please." Ummmmm.....no. I just haven't been doing this computer stuff long enough to have a "stock" built up. I'll get there as time goes on I guess.
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#14 acklan

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Posted 13 April 2006 - 08:05 AM

$5 seems fair. It would far more online. by the time you pay shipping.
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#15 pascor22234

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Posted 13 April 2006 - 04:50 PM

There is one thing that definitely needs to be checked out. You said that you tried booting off the XP install disc using both optical drives but neither worked. The chance that both drives are bad is very slim. What is much more likely is that the BIOS is configured such that it tries to boot off the floppy and/or the hard disk before it tries to boot off the optical drive (that must be set to 'master'). You said you tried to set the BIOS to boot from the CD drive but "it wouldn't take it". What does that mean ? I haven't yet seen a BIOS (in an ATX style case) in which the boot order could not be changed.

Getting into the BIOS requires tapping one of various keys while the BIOS is doing it's power-on-self-test (POST). When I don't know which key to press I use a sequence of Del-Esc-F1-F2 once per second. There may be a message shown on the bottom of the screen that tells you which key to press to enter the BIOS. One of these methods should get you into the BIOS. When you do, look for a catagory of 'boot' or 'startup'. Be sure to select the option to save settings when you exit the BIOS.

Just a note here: throwing away a 2 year old computer is a waste unless it has a serious hardware problem that is too expensive to fix, such as the motherboard in a Dell, HP-Compaq, Gateway, any laptop, etc.

BTW, the IDE cable that goes to the hard drives has 80 wires while the cable that goes to the optical drives may only have forty. The 80 wire cables have finer wires are are stiffer than the 40 wire ones. My point is that if you use the cable that originally went to the optical drives to hook up the hard drives, be sure that is is the 80 wire kind. This is because the computer will try to run the hard drives at 100 MHz while a 40 wire cable will not be able to support that speed and you will get all sorts of hard drive errors that may even look like software errors.

Once you are able to get that machine to boot from a CD you can test the system memory with Memtest86 and also test the hard drives with the Hitachi Drive Fitness Test (DFT). Both of these programs come in ISO disc image format files that can be burned to CDs using Nero, Roxio or the free CDBurnerXP Pro. Both hese programs boot off their CDs and don't require XP to be running.

Once you eliminate hardware problems you can then go about reinstalling XP on a "known good" hard drive. From what you described about all the pop-ups and long bootup times indicates that the original XP install is hosed beyond repair and the best you can expect from using those hard drives is to hook them up as slaves and do some selective file backup to the "good" drive. After that, use Killdisk to completely wipe the original drives. You can use the XP install program to create new partitions on the drives.

This is going to take a lot of work on your part to get your freind's computer up and running using their original hard drives, so expect at least a couple of dinners and half a case of beer in return. :thumbsup: But, this is a great learning experience for you. Oh yeah, be sure to get the drivers needed for their particular system from either a driver disc originally supplied with the computer, or better yet, download the latest ones directly from the manufacturer.




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