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Virus or just a dying hard drive ?

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Virus or just a dying hard drive ?

Is it possible that even after formatting a hard drive, a virus can remain on it. I mean is the MBR over written with forrmatting, or could something hide in there or in a hidden partition that does not show up with fdisk.
A friend brought his PC round for to see if I could do anything with it, but after a full format and a XP re-install, porn site pop unders kept appearing straight away along with Active X files making themselves at home. Also randon restarts happen about once a minute. I managed to keep it going just long enough to get AVG on it, but that finds nothing on the hard drive..
Maybe the hd is knackered and doesn't format correctly
Any thoughts, anyone?
13 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,983
Thanks: 8
Registered: 10-04-2007

Virus or just a dying hard drive ?

Yes the virus could be in the "boot sector" of the hard drive and you can format to your hearts content and not shift it.

You would need to delete the partition and recreate and Im not sure if that would remove it.
Last time I encountered this was ages ago and a program I had called "Magic bullet" on a floppy shifted it.

Must be other programs out there though that can check the boot sector and remove a virus if need be.
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,983
Thanks: 8
Registered: 10-04-2007

Virus or just a dying hard drive ?

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Virus or just a dying hard drive ?

Any AV worth its salt will scan both MBR and Boot record. What is more likely is if you have installed windows from a original cd it doesnt have SP2 or security fixes and it being infected when you connect to the net.

You need to make a cd with sp2 installed or get sp2 and reinstall and put sp2 on before connecting to the net. download an AV. If you have a win98 boot disk boot from that delete all the partitions run fdisk /mbr to redo the MBR create a c drive with fdisk then run sys c: which will clear the boot record. Install xp deleting the parition dont let it connect to the net and install sp2 and AV.

Then connect and do windows and AV update
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Virus or just a dying hard drive ?

Quote
Install xp deleting the parition dont let it connect to the net and install sp2 and AV.



Not sure what you mean by that mright, you seem to be saying delete the C: partition that has just had XP put on it, I'm sure you dont mean that.
Yes it is an original upgrade XP disc. So yes, I could have picked up a virus in the first instance of connecting. But after trying for the second time the same thing happened so I have a feeling that John is correct, it just sounds more plausible
Will try again tomorrow with the advice from John's link.
Thanks both of you
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Virus or just a dying hard drive ?

As I said to make super sure there is no virus in the boot sector or the master boot sector you run the fdisk /mbr delete the windows partion and create a dos one then format it in dos and sys c: you will then have a new MBR and a new boot record and can be sure its all clean.

To install XP you can format the partion again ntfs when you install or let xp delete the new partion and install. It depends on your drive size as you may not be able to create a partion the size of the drive in dos if its a big drive.

Its a bit extreme but should take very long to do and will ensure its clean before you start just make sure you have SP2 and AV on BEFORE you connect to the net. To be safe before you connect to the net create a restoe point so you can roll back if anything happens
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Virus or just a dying hard drive ?

Just a thought,
I am not sure that you can use the xp upgrade disk if you have fdisked the partition
holdtight
Grafter
Posts: 1,634
Registered: 15-06-2007

Virus or just a dying hard drive ?

Yes you can bluebellhouse i do it a fair bit when fdisk is needed xp will still start from CD where you can reformat to NTFS then it will ask for a previous version for verification as usual
for an old program fdisk is still incredibly useful
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Virus or just a dying hard drive ?

can you tell me what to do so that I don't have to install windows 98 before the xp upgrade please?
holdtight
Grafter
Posts: 1,634
Registered: 15-06-2007

Virus or just a dying hard drive ?

If you only have 98 upgrade disk you wont be able to as xp asks for a full version

if you do have the full 98 disk or can borrow one when you have deleted the partition with fdisk you can either create a new one while still in fdisk or from the xp disk i would recommend using the xp disk

Reboot with the disk in the CD drive and make sure it is set to boot from CD in the bios
xp will start with a screen asking you if you want to install now press enter then F8 to agree to the T&C`s
create a new partion then format it with NTFS using the on screen tools (xp makes this really easy) then hit enter to install onto the partion youve just made
you might want to partition your drive into two or more partitions if its big enough and i would recommend at least two so you can use one for windows and one for data

xp will ask you to insert your 98 disk to verify that you have a full version once done reinsert your xp disk and it will install itself after you hit enter one more time
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Virus or just a dying hard drive ?

Thanks for that,
Nicky
holdtight
Grafter
Posts: 1,634
Registered: 15-06-2007

Virus or just a dying hard drive ?

No probs Nicky hope it all goes well, its fairly straightforward
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Virus or just a dying hard drive ?

Just for the record, a simple fdisk/mbr and yet another install seems to have solved it.
It's not crashed since, fingers crossed.
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Virus or just a dying hard drive ?

Then do a system restore point while you have a working copy