XP won't boot. I am ready to give up on computers. (Sorta long, and completely boring)

After 32 years working with computers, I have had it. I am at the end of my rope.

I would make more money flipping burgers, with a helluva lot less stress. I can’t even fix my own damn computer, and guys with BA’s in computer science are working for pennies on Craigslist.

I finally seemed to have cleared my computer of various viruses, and upon inspecting my D: drive, I noticed a bunch of directories that I certainly did not create, with long directory names of random looking letters and numbers. I could not delete them by any means. Ok, so I transferred all my data back to C: drive, and tried to format D:. No dice. So, I figured I would just nuke the drive, delete the partition, and start over. No dice. Not allowed under Windoze. So, OK, I booted a linux CD with Dparted and nuked it from there. No problem. Until I tried to reboot. After the message:

Verifying DMI Pool Data…

It just sits there. Back in Dparted, I can still see the partition, with data in it even. So I boot into XP install disk, and run fixmbr. No dice. Partition is still visible with data in Dparted, but won’t boot.

I do a lot of things with computers, PHP, 3d animation, etc. But I give the fuck up. I just redid the goddamn system a month or so ago, and it gets infested right away again. As I stated, I have benn working with computers for 32 years. My first computer was a Super Elf. I have run large Novell and NT networks, I am a greybeard who has been here since the earth cooled, and I have never seen anything like this. I am sick and tired of it, it isn’t worth it anymore.

I prescribe an Islamic punishment for authors of viri. Bury your sorry ass up to the waist, and let anyone who has suffered an infection hurl a stone.

So, rant over, any advice? It takes me a couple of weeks to get my system back to where it needs to be to do productive work, and it seems after a couple of weeks, it is infested again. Why the fuck bother? Is there any chance I can get this damn thing to boot again? If so, how?

Buy a new hard drive to have the ultimate in clean slates to start from. They are not a lot of money anymore.

unplug the old C: drive

insert windows disk and have just the old D: plugged in.

Proceed to nuke partition and reformat drive D:

install windows.

Install virus scanners
Remount old C:

scan for viruses/spyware/clothed pictures of Jeri Ryan

move data to new fresh C:

Nuke old D: now probaly E or F

reinstall Apps to C:

buy a copy of acronis true image and make an image of your now clean and set up primary partition and make a rescue boot CD

sign up for mozy and set it to back up all your work files.

Takes 20-30 min to reload the acronis image if you have a major issue. IF your data is all on the secondary drive, you can do this without worrying about data loss, just make sure you learn how to target the right drive. Test it out with a spare HDD if you have one.

Backup any retrievable data to an external USB drive. Connect the hard disk as a slave on another computer. Delete all partitions and recreate partitions and re-format.

After you have everything back to how you want it, get Acronis True Image, and you’ll never have to deal with any of this ever again.

ETA: Didn’t see drachillix’s post until after I posted.

Sorry, I did not make clear, D: is a partition on the main drive.

And I know how to rebuild the thing from scratch, and my data is backed up, so that is not the problem, what I need it to somehow regain the MBR so that the OS can see the C: bootable partition. mbrfix doesn’t seem to be working. I would appreciate advice from anyone who knows what might have happened with Gparted that made the drive unbootable. I will take the advice about acronis under advisement for future reference, but it does nothing for me now. This really is about the last straw as far as I am concerned. I have Ubuntu on my laptop, and it is fine for web surfing and e-mail, but doesn’t run any of my production software. GIMP just doesn’t cut it. I need Photoshop. Must I run XP off the net and use sneakernet on a CD between that and my linux laptop to exchange data? These days it seems to be the only way. I spent two weeks getting my system up and configured a few months ago, and now it is infested again. I only go to mainstream websites, not .cz or .ru type places. I must be getting these viruses from mainstream sites. I have never seen anything like this. As far as I am concerned, the Internet can go pound salt. I am sick and tired of this. Death penalty for virus authors. :mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad:

do you have any kind of external drives or another drive that can be used temporarily so your data can be moved via something like a bart PE disk?

Try booting from a dos bootable USB drive, and using fdisk /mbr or try using the fixmbr util at the following link:

http://www.ambience.sk/fdisk-master-boot-record-windows-linux-lilo-fixmbr.php

Dos boot disks for USB:

http://www.bootdisk.com/

http://www.marlow.dk/site.php/tech/usbkeys

http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk

Once you have your system up and running again, follow the steps in the sticky thread in GQ to prevent future attacks.

have you tried “bootcfg /rebuild” on recovery console?

Thanks, I will try that. Tomorrow. I have been wrestling with this thing since about 3 am pacific, and I am too fried to trust my brain at this point. I just spent a week and almost got the thing cleared off as far as I can tell, and now this. I have never seen a situation where format of a partition fails, and even worse deleting a partition fails. Gparted nuked the D: partition fine, but why should it screw with the C or the MBR? If this is a virus, it is damn insidious. Or maybe I am being paranoid and this is something that just happens with Gparted.

Let’s get some legislation going whereby authors of these viruses face prolonged medieval style punishments. We need to bring back the rack. Let them die over a week or two of agony, like they inflict on us. Televise it. Let everyone who ever got a virus get to twist the wheel a little. :smiley: We might not catch very many, but the ones who are caught would serve as a nice example for anyone thinking about unleashing their little “creations” on the rest of us. Yes, I am furious. I have work to do. I face the real possibility of losing my livelihood and becoming a goddamn street person over this shit.

As a good first step, let’s amputate the major countries responsible from the internet entirely. Goodbye .ru, .ck, etc. From Nigeria? Run your goddamn scams with carrier pigeons. You are no longer allowed on the internet.

I don’t know anything about this “Gparted” program that the OP mentioned, but I agree that a new hard drive is probably the simplest way to correct the problem.

And in the future, run some sort of anti-virus program. (I know that a lot of people here hate Norton software but I run it on several systems, and I’m not particularly careful about which sites I visit.)

For those who don’t know, gparted is Gnome’s disk partition editor. IIRC, it’s the front end to the parted command-line open source partition editor; there’s also qtparted. It’s very similar to…gah, what was that Windows utility…Partition Magic?

I’ve never had a problem with gparted; in fact, I use it to fix things that Windows breaks. And I find it hard to believe that it changed something you didn’t tell it to. That is, it queues up actions as you select them, but doesn’t actually execute them until you hit “Apply”. So there’s that.

One question: did you set the partition’s flags? You may need to set the disk bootable (you didn’t mention whether it was or wasn’t). Of course, now that you’ve mucked around with it, there may be no telling if that was the issue.

Also, if Linux doesn’t scare you, you don’t need Acronis. I use the tools available on the SystemRescue LiveCD, notably partimage. In fact, I just restored an XP disk the other day over the office LAN after it failed. Still had to babysit the machine for at least half a day, doing the download/install/reboot cycle just to catch it up from the past 6 month period. Yes, I reimaged again right after the computer was up to date.

Those long randomly-named folders were leftover temporary folders from installation of Windows updates that weren’t properly deleted by the update installer. They don’t have to be removed, it’s just a cosmetic issue. You couldn’t delete them because your account didn’t have ownership rights on them.

So when you see them again (and you will), don’t panic.

Computers dont "get infested.’ YOU infest them. I suggest you learn how to run as user, not admin, and only install what you need from trusted sources. No torrents or borrowing software from someone. Run Windows updates. Install a virus scanner like Microsoft Security Essentials.

If you are getting an infection early after install then you are doing something very, very wrong.

I have run antivirus software from both McAfee and Norton, although, lately, I have moved away from them due to performance issues. On my daughter’s computer, Norton (2007, I think it may have been) was such a CPU hog that her processor hit 90% utilization every 2-3 minutes for 30 seconds at a time.

Recently, I have switched to either AVG or Avast. I run AVG on my computers at home, and have installed Avast on my daughter’s computer.

I have AVG on a USB drive, and when I install a new computer, AVG goes on before I install any other software.

Pick something like AVG or Avast, or even McAfee or Norton, install it, update it, and don’t turn it off.

Disclaimer: I do not have any connection to the companies that manufacture AVG or Avast, except as a satisfied user. I do not have any connection to the companies that manufacture McAfee or Norton, except as a former user.

I second this.

Disclaimer: I am an AVG authorized Reseller :cool:

AVG is a bloaty app that has caused several high profile false positives, broken IE, some of which have resorted into unbootable machines. Microsoft’s own FREE Security Essentials is the only AV you need now. Its much lighter weight than AVG or Avast.

Are you saying that prior to a specific patch being released, that there are never any exploits of that vulnerability? Really?

And that there are no exploits that are triggered merely by visiting a web page?

Lots of good advice already so my couple of cents worth may be redundant, but it may help.

I gather that your drive “C” and “D” are just partitions of the same physical drive. Save all your personal date to another drive or CD?.

Go to the website of your Hard Drive manufacturer and download their disk management program, all manufacturers have them. You will need to copy the program to floppy or burn to CD.

Boot! with the floppy or CD and follow instructions to wipe/clean/format and check your HD. This will give you a clean dive without any bits like “unallocated” left on it.

Now you will be ready to make a new clean install of Windows.

As for protection I use Free Avira Anti Virus and Windows Firewall. Avira picks up anything dubious as it is downloading and has kept my system clean. I also regularly run Spy-Bot and Ad-Aware and CClleaner all free. I also run Microsoft “RegClean” regularly.

Good luck :slight_smile:

No snark intended, but is this at all common with PCs?

I have a Mac, and have never experienced anything like the OP has posted. I haven’t even used anti-virus software since I upgraded to OS X in 2002.