I am working on a windows XP pro SP 2 machine. Its a custom build.
It had a ton of malware on it and it booted to windows but was immediately assaulted with the usual windows from fake anti virus companies about how badly infected it was and had to scan right away. Task manager was locked out, control panel was locked out, display settings were locked out, You could not reboot the computer. Internet explorer would auto launch and connect to some websites to download additional tools to help fix the problem and all of it would just run with no user input required. The windows could not be closed by any means. The desktop wallpaper was even a virus warning. So I did what any good tech would do, I pulled the power cord.
I ran hitman pro on it from safe mode. It found a good dozen trojans and malwares. It also found 2 rootkits and a bootkit. It said these latter 3 items would be removed on a reboot. So I rebooted.
I get as far as the windows splash screen and it reboots.
Tried safe mode, same issue.
Tried safe mode command prompt only, same issue.
I booted it with the option to not reboot on errors and I got this message.
A problem has been detected and windows has been shut down to prevent damage to your computer.
It said I should check for viruses.
I took the drive out, USB slaved it to another comp and ran Superantispyware, malwarebytes, kaspersky, spybot S&D all of them found additional malware but none of them solved the issue.
I decided the virus probably damaged the boot sector and put in an XP cd and booted from it. The problem is I never get the option to run the recovery console. It goes straight to the next window which is to pick a partition to install windows too. This window shows that I have a partition, but there is no Windows OS installed at this time. So even a repair install is out since there needs to be a visible OS in order to do that.
While the drive is slaved on USB I can read all the files just fine. I can open documents, play MP3s, copy and move files. As a slave drive it works perfectly.
I had assumed I could resolve this with a simple fixboot from recovery console but since I can't run the recovery console I seem to be stuck.
I even went so far as create a boot CD using UBCD4win to boot from and use its repair tools to fix the partition but even that fails to start, and just reboots like the rest of them.
sorry this is so long I just wanted to get all the info I had into the message.
So what can I do to fix this without formatting and reinstalling?
your hdd is it in the exact slot that you had before? You didn't swap controllers? If its on a different controller then put it back to its old place like you had it before.
Did you try the repair install. It will boot till where you can select the drive. Just choose your windows it will take you to another screen with the options if you want to repair, delete etc etc. Press the one for repair
Yes it is in the exact same location, connected at the exact same sata connection on the motherboard. I tired both connections. different cables, etc. I have repeatedly tried to get to the recovery console on its original location. I even have 5 copies of windows XP pro. three of them are OEM, one is full retail and one came with a dell computer. They all do the same thing.
As for a repair install. That is actually sort of the problem. When you boot from the XP CD you would normally get the option to press R to enter recovery console or continue to install a fresh copy of XP. I never see this window. It just skips directly to the next window where I can manage the drive partition format it, create, it or install XP. Now normally you have the option to Hit R on this screen as well to do the Repair install. However the windows CD fails to detect an operating system on my drive and the repair install option is not there.
I would say format it and reload at this point except for the fact that if I slave this drive to a good pc and boot I can use the drive perfectly. I can play songs directly off it. Copy data to and from it. Install programs to it. It functions perfectly as a hard drive.
Ok I think I should ask a more pointed direct question.
Windows XP has been out for a long time now and I know this problem must have plagued somebody before me.
Is there a way to repair the bad drives boot sector while I have it slaved to a good XP computer. Since I have perfect access to it while it is a slave can't I just copy the boot files like ntldr and boot.ini and such from the good copy to the bad copy? and shouldn't somebody have written a program to look at and fix a boot partition by now? I have googled it for hours but I am not sure I am using the right key words.
I have figured out how to load the remote drives registry. I could fix some of that, but I can't find a "fix the drives boot sector while its slaved and from inside windows" type program.
I wish I had read that and used Hiron bootcd. I downloaded a a program called autostreamer and created a slip streamed windows xp pro sp2 cd. I used this to boot from and finally I had the hit r to enter the recovery console message.
I have no idea why this worked, but I am glad it did. A few quick commands latter and I was in business.
Autostreamer was very hard to use. It failed to create an ISO file a good dozen times before I managed to get it to work right. It never worked right on windows 7 no matter how I set the compatibility settings. It barely worked on windows XP and only when I finally started saving the ISO to the desktop. It would not save to my documents for some reason. It never threw an error message of any kind, it simply showed that it had completed successfully but there was no ISO file.
So if anybody has an issue along these lines it may be worth it to download Hiron or another boot CD program that gives you a recovery console and use that. I would avoid autostreamer unless you like having two problems to solve.