Posted 23 November 2006 - 08:05 PM
Norton's “Go Back” is a utility similar to Windows System Restore which comes with Windows XP but unlike the Windows utility, unless the owner created a Go back point recently or set Go Back to do so automatically at specific intervals using it will ensure data loss - period, at least to the point in time (if any) a go back image was created).
Windows System Restore will not automatically cause data loss to occur, however, if it contained viruses, etc, whatever malicious code your teenage miscreant downloaded when he attempted to steal the Adobe program possibly may have already done so.
If you want to be sure that data loss is minimized you need to remove the hard drive from the non-functioning computer and install it on another computer as a slave drive. If you accomplish this and the hard drive is operable, you will be able to backup any data from the now non-functioning drive to either the hard drive in the computer you are using for this purpose, cds or any other suitable media. (You can use XP's backup utility to accomplish this once the drive is installed as a slave drive and becomes accessible to the rescue computer.) Make sure you set the jumper properly on the hard drive from the malfunctioning computer to slave or secondary drive when installing it as the slave.
At that point, you can remove the slave drive, reset the jumper to "Master" or "Primary", reinstall the drive as the master drive in the original computer and can either wipe the drive, format it and do a fresh install of Windows (if you have the Windows XP bootable installation cd for this specific computer and its 25 digit Windows Key - highly recommended as that will remove any malware including boot sector viruses that may exist on the drive)
If you only have a manufacturer's Recovery CD, after reinstalling the hard drive to the original computer, you can boot from the Recovery CD to restore the computer back to the software condition it had when new.
All Windows Updates performed since the computer was new will have to be re-downloaded and re-installed in either of the cases above.
If you use a Manufacturer's Recovery CD all software added that did not originally come packaged with the computer when it was new will have to be reinstalled. (The computer may also have come with an installation cd for additional software and another cd for proprietal drivers)
If you perform a fresh installation of Windows after wiping the drive and formatting it you will loose the original extra programs that came bundled with the computer (although most of the time they are junk anyway). The choice of format for Windows XP is NTFS, not Fat32 although you may be given the choice.
In both cases you will need to download and have available all drivers that the computer needs to function properly - IE, updated video drivers, chipset drivers, sound card drivers, etc.
Again - If the computer owner made and saved an image with Go Back, recent or not, using it now to restore the system image (to Go Back - hence the name "Go Back") may prevent the necessity of doing some or all the above, but it must be available (originally created and findable now) for you to be able to use it, and it may or may not eliminate the malware existing on the hard drive depending what it is).
There is one other option that MAY be available, which if it is, will save you an enormous amount of work: - Windows System Restore
First, let’s see if you can use the Windows System Restore utility to revert the system state of that computer to an operable state.
See if you can boot the computer to "Safe Mode with Command Prompt"
To invoke the Windows System Restore tool at a command prompt you do the following:
1.Restart your computer, and then press F8 during the initial startup to start your computer in Safe Mode with a command prompt.
2.Log on to your computer with an administrator account or with an account that has administrator credentials.
3.Type the following command at a command prompt, and then press ENTER:
4.Follow the instructions that appear on the screen to restore your computer to an earlier state.
Windows System Restore is not supposed to affect any data, so unless the loss of data would be more than can be endured, you can attempt using System Restore without removing the hard drive and saving its data as described above, but being as it may that data is not supposed to be affected, data loss can occur for any reason, and sometimes for what seems like no reason at all so I will issue the following caveat:
Although I have personally used System Restore numerous times without the loss of any data, the only way that no data loss is guaranteed is to physically back it up using media other than the original drive on which the data resides.
If Windows System Restore is successful, you need to immediately begin a regimen for discovery removal of viruses and other malware from the hard drive.
Let us know and we will help direct you through that process.