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Help! Hard drive is a mess! -------

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  • Hard Drives
  • Storage
Last response: in Storage
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February 6, 2005 6:08:25 AM

My mother's PC is completely over-run by viruses and malware. It's to the point she can't even use it. And I really mean that. After boot up, 3 or 4 popups come up before you can even do anything. Try to click on IE.... wait like literally 15 minutes, it try’s to come up. Then a few more popups... then just kinda freezes. Or shuts down. Or something different every time. We have tried running Norton on it and it freezes. Bought Spysweeper. Don't think it helped much. Used SpyBot S&D and Ad aware. Little change. All this, plus the fact my little bother basically crammed it full of junk (various cr@p programs, some not even complete). He's P2P fan.

Now then. My brother has just moved out and my mom lives in a different state then I do. I want her to remove the hard drive and mail it to me. I can wipe it, load it up correctly with everything she needs and mail it back to her. She can install it and be MUCH MUCH better off. Now, I'm pretty much still a noob with PCs. Can virus's or malware hide anywhere else on the PC other than the hard drive? I don't think so, but I wanna be sure. Next, if I format the hard drive can ANYTHING live through it? Again I don't think so, but everyone keeps telling me to just buy a new hard drive. If I format this one, it should be like new....right? Next, if I connect this hard drive to my PC along with my hard drive, can it spread onto my PC? Even if I don't open it up? Just right click it and select format right? This forum is great. Thanks for all your help guys!

AMD XP 3200+ (Barton Core)
Asus A7N8X Ver2.0
2 X 512MB Mushkin RAM
Sapphire ATI 9800PRO

More about : hard drive mess

February 6, 2005 10:51:47 AM

If you install an operating system to her drive with your computer it will most likely not work when she installs it in her machine.

The drive needs to be reformatted and a clean OS install and this should be done while it is installed in her machine. Perhaps your nerd brother can do his mom a favor and do this for her...

....WW (5.0)
February 6, 2005 11:40:52 AM

Like the above poster said - installing an OS on a PC it will not be used on is not a good idea. It will work if you have the same chipset on each motherboard, but as you said - you're a n00b, and so I doubt you know.

Additioally, mailing an harddrive is a bad idea - It's bound to get knocked and bumped. Chances are the harddrive will die in transit.

______________
OK it's your choice:
You can have the boat, or you can have the Mystery Box!
...Hey wait a minute! A boat's a boat, but a Mystery Box could be anything. It could even be a boat
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February 6, 2005 4:51:46 PM

I know my brother won't do it. He's 16 and doesn't care about anything right now. He might say OK, and then a month later he hasn't touched it.

Well fudge. This kinda sucks now. My biggest issue is that I have no idea what mobo she is using. I seriously doubt it's using the NF2 Ultra400 chipset. The PC was bought with OS and some sofware already installed from best buy. It came with some CD that supposedly has all that on it and you can use it to reinstall everything. I tried it. It said it was re-formatting. After like an hour, it starts "re-installing" everything, boots up..... exactly the same as before I touched it. It didn't do s#it. I was pissed. (did all this while I was there for Christmas) So I want to use a REAL copy of Win XP and Office. Damn man. Now what? I'm one step away from just buying her a new mobo and HD. >:-| But that isin't really an option either seeing as how she isin't going to put it together. She could mail me the entire PC and I could mail it back. But, as you said it would probably die in transit...not to mention be way expensive.

AMD XP 3200+ (Barton Core)
Asus A7N8X Ver2.0
2 X 512MB Mushkin RAM
Sapphire ATI 9800PRO
February 6, 2005 5:56:34 PM

If there is no important data on the drive I'd say, joust boot into dos

Type: format c:

This formats the entire drive, then run WinXP installation

Afterwards, upgrade to SP2, install Adware, warez ZoneAlarm or some other firewall, and reinstall anything you need. But this could be hard if your not there to show her what to do.

______________
OK it's your choice:
You can have the boat, or you can have the Mystery Box!
...Hey wait a minute! A boat's a boat, but a Mystery Box could be anything. It could even be a boat
February 6, 2005 7:04:17 PM

First of all you should have made a complete backup of your mother's system while it was still working. Then you would just have to talk her thought the steps needed to boot from a Norton Ghost 2003 floopy an restore her OS partion.

If you don't like Ghost there are other alternatives, there is just no excuse!

That being said it doesn't help you now.

Make your brother an unattended Windows XP SP2 CD. Its a lot easier that it looks at first. All he has to do is put is to boot from the CD and sit back.

I am not sure how you will get him to install the drivers and other software.

If you both have high speed internet I would suggest you use remote assistance to take over her computer and finish the job yourself.

Or maybe you can talk your mother through installing enought to get her by until your next visit?

I am also assuming that you have patiently explained to your mother everything she needs to know/do to keep her computer safe, but that she hasn't taken it seriously?

Rather than try to convince her to make changes for the health of her computer, explain to her how much you value your time and how difficult and frustrating it is to provide technical support via long distance phonecalls.

That almost worked for me, but it took threatening to make her talk her computer to a shop for repairs the next time it broke unless she made some changes.

Now she uses Mozilla for browsing/email, she doesn't install every free screen saver she comes across and she doesn't let 8-10 year old grandchildren spend hours on her PC unsupervised.

Its been over a year since I used remote assistance for anything other than running a backup, or showing her how to do something. :) 

PS If they can't reinstall windows XP and you are their free tech support, BACKUP their PC everytime you visit!
February 6, 2005 7:40:08 PM

Wow. Thanks for your help guys!:-) My mother said there is nothing important on there that she wants. So wipe away! Norton Ghost floopy? Sorry, still new. What's is that and how does it work? Oh and her HD is not partioned. How would I go about making an unattended Win XP disk? I thought I would just install XP, then virus scan/firewall, then turn on auto update and allow it to find and install SP2 by itself....no? Yes, we both have cable internet. What's remote assistance? That would be great! And it's mainly my brother who hasn't taken anything seriously. Downloading and sharing any and everything. Free playground. There will be no more of that though. I won't be visiting again until next Christmas probably. Work sucks.:-(

P.S. What's a low level format?

AMD XP 3200+ (Barton Core)
Asus A7N8X Ver2.0
2 X 512MB Mushkin RAM
Sapphire ATI 9800PRO<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by firebirdude on 02/06/05 04:49 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
February 6, 2005 7:44:45 PM

If the computer came from Best Buy have her take it and all the CDs that it came with to the Best Buy geek squad and have them do it for her...will probably cost but cheaper than a plane ticket.

....WW (5.0)
February 6, 2005 7:56:41 PM

Sweet. I'll read up on it. One question. None of her virus's and malware can be transfered to my PC through this can it? And we're trying to prevent taking it to best buy. The warrenty is up and they'll no doubt charge her 100 plus bucks.

AMD XP 3200+ (Barton Core)
Asus A7N8X Ver2.0
2 X 512MB Mushkin RAM
Sapphire ATI 9800PRO
February 6, 2005 8:09:36 PM

I don't think so. But use a firewall just incase.

______________
OK it's your choice:
You can have the boat, or you can have the Mystery Box!
...Hey wait a minute! A boat's a boat, but a Mystery Box could be anything. It could even be a boat
February 6, 2005 8:22:30 PM

Norton Ghost 2003 records the exact structure and content of a partion/hard drive and stores it on CD/DVD or another partion/network drive.

Remote Desktop let you log on to another Windows XP system if its enabled and you have the right name and password. On thier end the screen goes blank and if their internet connection cuts out when users are switched it won't work.

Asking for remote assistance (Windows Messenger is the easiest route) allows an expert to see your desktop and take control over your mouse and keyboard input.

Anyway this is way to much for one thread and its probably been explained in detail already.

First I would use the search function to see if your all your questions have already been answered.

If you still have unanswerd questions I would start a new thread here re backup software, and two in the windows XP section re remote assistance/remote desktop and unattended install CDs.


PS if you don't patch versions prior to SP2 prior to connecting to the internet you will get hacked before you finish downloading your first update!

Temporarily enabling Windows XP's firewall would help, but it would probably block remote assistance and remote desktop.

Anyway installing directly to SP2 or SP1a is faster and safer than installing the original version and then updating.

Updating your CD to SP1a or SP2 is much easier than it sounds.

Creating an answer file for unattended installs is also much easier than it sounds.

Making quick changes to a answer file (usually just the admin password and CD Key) and burning a custom unattened install CD easier and faster than manually installing XP.

<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Codesmith on 02/06/05 05:27 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
February 6, 2005 8:34:38 PM

Quote:
if you don't patch versions prior to SP2 prior to connecting to the internet you will get hacked before you finish downloading your first update!


CAN'T STRESS THAT FACT ENOUGH!!! (Sorry I forgot to mention it)

______________
OK it's your choice:
You can have the boat, or you can have the Mystery Box!
...Hey wait a minute! A boat's a boat, but a Mystery Box could be anything. It could even be a boat
!