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system restore/reformatting/recovery


nuposse87

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So about a week back my laptop got a virus, its basically slowed all processes down and I feel like I'm in the dark ages. Certain websites just won't load at times too. I was thinking it was malware, so i downloaded a malware program from microsoft, but it wont open, so my thought is, that whatever this thing is, its prolly waaaay ahead of me and knows how I'm going to go about getting rid of it conventionally. So Aside from music and documents I don't really have anything of massive importance on my laptop. I have microsoft office, but I installed that after I got it, will that get erased if I reformat/system restore/recovery it? Basically I'm trying to figure what will I have left to work with, finals are approaching and I'd like to not have that many problems to deal with :/

If anyone can give me some instructions on how I should go about this I'd appreciate it,

thanks in advanced.

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Are you telling me the Microsoft thing was the first antivirus program you had on your laptop? If so, that's a serious mistake in itself.

I have some norton thing that I let run, it's "found" nothing, so I tried "renewing it" and for reason I can't understand it won't work. I'll just pretend i'm back in 2000.

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i have a back up disc(s) from when i first got the laptop at home in NOVA, it was the first thing i did when i booted it up, maybe just live in the dark ages for 2 weeks, and then deal with it when i go home?

Well if you want to format and don't have an office disc, you can always just use OpenOffice. Same apps as MSOffice and can save in the .doc format.

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i think i have one more installation left on my office disc at home as well, i'll prolly just tough it out until then...I just backed up my video and music files on my ipod though....are they more than likely corrupted?

I wouldn't think so.

Try Avast! antivirus.

It takes a while to scan but is very thorough. It could definitely help you out, it has me.

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Assuming that what you really want is to wipe your system clean and start over:

Assuming that what you have is an HP retail model laptop (as opposed to their commercial models).

The CDs that you made when you got the system will give you the option of restoring the system to the way it was the day you bought it. (On most models, literally, after you run the CDs, it will take you through the "Congratulations on your new HP laptop" again. And it will make you burn another set of CDs, just like it did the first time.

To do so, you boot from the CD. (What it wants you to do is to insert the CD, then turn the computer on. Obviously, you can't open the CD drawer when the laptop is turned off (unless you know about the secret release button), so what you really have to do is turn the thing on, and then try to open the drawer, insert the CD, and close the drawer before the system accesses the hard drive. If you're too slow, and it starts to load Windows, just turn the thing off and back on again.

Once it loads the CD, it will give you two recovery options.

The option you want is
Format
and recover. (Different versions call it different things.)
This option will destroy all information in the system
and restore it to new condition. You will lose everything. (Which can be a lot more annoying than a lot of people realize.) But, it's just about guaranteed to cure any malware problem you've got.

The other option basically allows you to re-install Windows on top of itself. This option will attempt to retain all of the files on the hard drive. Unfortunately, in my experience, it will break a lot of your programs, and I've
never
seen it clean up the malware.

If you can't find your recovery CDs, I think I can get you the phone number at HP to order a factory-made set of recovery CDs. They don't cost much. (Last price I'd heard was like 10 for shipment by snail mail, 20 bucks for overnight. I think their cutoff time for overnight was like 2:00 Eastern.) They will need the exact serial number for your laptop, and the version of Windows it came with. (Why they don't know what it came with, from the serial number, I have no idea.)

I always recommend that my customers order the CDs, just as a precaution. They're cheap, and you never know when you'll want them in a hurry.

There are a lot of advantages of doing the format and re-install. Windows tends to accumulate a LOT of junk and corruption. Afterwards, your system will be leaner, faster, and considerably more reliable.

However, it's a pain in the Philly, too. You'll have to re-install every piece of software you've installed, since you got it. It's not necessarily complicated. Just insert the CD, click "yes" about a dozen times, then watch the computer play with itself. It's Microsoft, so you'll have to reboot your computer 4-5 times for every install you do. :)

But a lot of people don't realize how much they've installed on their system. For example, do you still have the disc that came with your printer? Cause after a format, your computer won't know how to print. All of the emails you've saved will be gone. Same with all of the passwords to all of the web sites you visit that Firefox (you do use Firefox, don't you?) conveniently remembers for you.

Every Windows update that you've downloaded and installed, every Patch Tuesday since you bought it, will have to be done again. It's Microsoft, so you'll have to download, install, reboot, download, install, reboot, download, install, reboot . . .

You'll have to configure your email program to work with your ISP. All of that incoming and outgoing email server settings and so forth. (Good news is: Call your ISP. They'll have a room full of people wo do nothing, all day long, but walk people through the "click here, go there, type this into that blank" routine, because every new customer they sign up has to go through that procedure. And you're paying for them as part of your monthly charges. So call them up and let them walk you through it.

If you've bought any programs where you paid to download something, then odds are, you're going to have to pay for them again, unless you're a lot more anal than I am, and you still have your product serial number from way back when you bought it the first time.

My usual advice to customers is: Assume you're going to have to spend a day, maybe a weekend, getting things set back up the way you want them, again. It's nothing most users can't accomplish. (After all, you've already done every one of these things once, already.) But there's a lot of "do three things, then wait 15 minutes, then push two more buttons, then wait five minutes, then click two things, then wait 15 minutes, . . . " And six months from now, you'll still be discovering things that used to be on there, but you haven't re-installed them, yet.

One thing to consider: Most of the HP laptops, the same program that you used to burn those CDs when you first got it? They'll also allow you, once you do invest the time to re-install everything back onto your system, to burn another set of CDs, this time with everything set up just the way you like it. Spend the time (and we may be talking 20 CDs, here), and if this happens again, a year from now, you'll be able to restore your system with Office, and your email configuration and your printer driver and Firefox and whatever else you want on your system.

Of course, all this is assuming that what you really want is to wipe and re-install your system.

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Assuming that what you really want is to wipe your system clean and start over:

Assuming that what you have is an HP retail model laptop (as opposed to their commercial models).

The CDs that you made when you got the system will give you the option of restoring the system to the way it was the day you bought it. (On most models, literally, after you run the CDs, it will take you through the "Congratulations on your new HP laptop" again. And it will make you burn another set of CDs, just like it did the first time.

To do so, you boot from the CD. (What it wants you to do is to insert the CD, then turn the computer on. Obviously, you can't open the CD drawer when the laptop is turned off (unless you know about the secret release button), so what you really have to do is turn the thing on, and then try to open the drawer, insert the CD, and close the drawer before the system accesses the hard drive. If you're too slow, and it starts to load Windows, just turn the thing off and back on again.

Once it loads the CD, it will give you two recovery options.

The option you want is
Format
and recover. (Different versions call it different things.)
This option will destroy all information in the system
and restore it to new condition. You will lose everything. (Which can be a lot more annoying than a lot of people realize.) But, it's just about guaranteed to cure any malware problem you've got.

The other option basically allows you to re-install Windows on top of itself. This option will attempt to retain all of the files on the hard drive. Unfortunately, in my experience, it will break a lot of your programs, and I've
never
seen it clean up the malware.

If you can't find your recovery CDs, I think I can get you the phone number at HP to order a factory-made set of recovery CDs. They don't cost much. (Last price I'd heard was like 10 for shipment by snail mail, 20 bucks for overnight. I think their cutoff time for overnight was like 2:00 Eastern.) They will need the exact serial number for your laptop, and the version of Windows it came with. (Why they don't know what it came with, from the serial number, I have no idea.)

I always recommend that my customers order the CDs, just as a precaution. They're cheap, and you never know when you'll want them in a hurry.
There are a lot of advantages of doing the format and re-install. Windows tends to accumulate a LOT of junk and corruption. Afterwards, your system will be leaner, faster, and considerably more reliable.

However, it's a pain in the Philly, too. You'll have to re-install every piece of software you've installed, since you got it. It's not necessarily complicated. Just insert the CD, click "yes" about a dozen times, then watch the computer play with itself. It's Microsoft, so you'll have to reboot your computer 4-5 times for every install you do. :)

But a lot of people don't realize how much they've installed on their system. For example, do you still have the disc that came with your printer? Cause after a format, your computer won't know how to print. All of the emails you've saved will be gone. Same with all of the passwords to all of the web sites you visit that Firefox (you do use Firefox, don't you?) conveniently remembers for you.

Every Windows update that you've downloaded and installed, every Patch Tuesday since you bought it, will have to be done again. It's Microsoft, so you'll have to download, install, reboot, download, install, reboot, download, install, reboot . . .

You'll have to configure your email program to work with your ISP. All of that incoming and outgoing email server settings and so forth. (Good news is: Call your ISP. They'll have a room full of people wo do nothing, all day long, but walk people through the "click here, go there, type this into that blank" routine, because every new customer they sign up has to go through that procedure. And you're paying for them as part of your monthly charges. So call them up and let them walk you through it.

If you've bought any programs where you paid to download something, then odds are, you're going to have to pay for them again, unless you're a lot more anal than I am, and you still have your product serial number from way back when you bought it the first time.

My usual advice to customers is: Assume you're going to have to spend a day, maybe a weekend, getting things set back up the way you want them, again. It's nothing most users can't accomplish. (After all, you've already done every one of these things once, already.) But there's a lot of "do three things, then wait 15 minutes, then push two more buttons, then wait five minutes, then click two things, then wait 15 minutes, . . . " And six months from now, you'll still be discovering things that used to be on there, but you haven't re-installed them, yet.

One thing to consider: Most of the HP laptops, the same program that you used to burn those CDs when you first got it? They'll also allow you, once you do invest the time to re-install everything back onto your system, to burn another set of CDs, this time with everything set up just the way you like it. Spend the time (and we may be talking 20 CDs, here), and if this happens again, a year from now, you'll be able to restore your system with Office, and your email configuration and your printer driver and Firefox and whatever else you want on your system.

Of course, all this is assuming that what you really want is to wipe and re-install your system.

well i just finished running the malwarebyte program pokerpacker mentioned...im pretty computer illiterate and im just looking at this list of virsus it found, bout 60 of em. Most of them are either some "register" program of "windows/system" program...I haven't deleted anything yet...mostly because im afaid if any of this **** is actually vital to my computers well being. Most of them are "vendored" as "trojan.vundo.H or V" I'm guessin I just go ahead and erase them? If this doesn't work I might take you up on those factory discs.

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well i just finished running the malwarebyte program pokerpacker mentioned...im pretty computer illiterate and im just looking at this list of virsus it found, bout 60 of em. Most of them are either some "register" program of "windows/system" program...I haven't deleted anything yet...mostly because im afaid if any of this **** is actually vital to my computers well being. Most of them are "vendored" as "trojan.vundo.H or V" I'm guessin I just go ahead and erase them? If this doesn't work I might take you up on those factory discs.

Never used malwarebytes. (But I've heard it recommended, here. Normally, I'm nervous about any program that claims to do cleanup unless it's on my very short "trusted" list, but I think this one's good enough.)

That style of naming implies that the files you're talking about are infected. Depending on the virus, they may be infected, or they may have already been destroyed.

If your system is working well enough for you to do this, backing up, at least, your "My Documents" folder (which may be HUGE, since it contains "My Pictures" and "My Music") to CDs might be a really good idea.

The warning is that you may be backing up the virus when you do it. If you do this, then make damned sure you don't put those possibly infected CD's back into your system, after cleaning, without a really good anti-virus program installed, first. (Otherwise, you may just re-install the virus onto your system.)

If you've decided that wiping it clean is your next step, then why not attempt letting malwarebytes clean things up, first?

Nice thing about reformating your system: Once you decide you're going to do it, then all kinds of risky things become safe. Go ahead and let malwarebytes try to clean things. Worst thing that can happen is you'll have to reformat, and you were planning on doing that, anyway. Similarly, if you decide to do the restore, and there's a problem part way through? Then you just do it again. (In fact, doing it again is your only option, at that point.)

(Backing up My Documents may save you a lot of lost data, though.) Not every program saves it's data in My Documents, (most email programs don't), but almost everything does. Another good target is the "Favorites" folder.)

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well i just finished running the malwarebyte program pokerpacker mentioned...im pretty computer illiterate and im just looking at this list of virsus it found, bout 60 of em. Most of them are either some "register" program of "windows/system" program...I haven't deleted anything yet...mostly because im afaid if any of this **** is actually vital to my computers well being. Most of them are "vendored" as "trojan.vundo.H or V" I'm guessin I just go ahead and erase them? If this doesn't work I might take you up on those factory discs.

If you have vundo, then you can clean it out. malwarebytes is very good. run that and it will clean it out but not mess with your OS. You can also try combo fix. But bear in mind, part of the process with combo fix is to change your time zone when cleaning. ( don't know why it does that. combo fix is my last resort before wiping a hard drive if I spend to much time on it but it's very effective)

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