Hard drive failure or virus? Unable to boot up computer

  Armchair 19:47 07 Sep 2011
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Answered

I was online earlier, when a warning message from (I assumed) Microsoft Security Essentials popped up, something about a threat being detected, I clicked on it, and about a minute later my PC switched itself off. I haven't been able to get back on again. It gets to the screen listing all the hard drives, CD-ROM drives etc., and won't go any further.

I've had to remove the hard drive, and install my old slow one. I'm updating everything on it now (but I haven't been able to get a download for XP service pack 3, just the multiple computer one. Does that matter if I install it on one PC?). All the other components are working alright.

If it is a virus, any idea how to get the hard drive working again?

  Armchair 20:22 08 Sep 2011

Update:- No further forward. I cannot boot from, or gain access to, the hard drive. As I said, the Bitdefender rescue disc scanned and removed the virus/trojans that are PROBABLY the cause, but the hard drive still won't work.

If it is the kazy virus to blame, maybe I need another way to get rid of it. There is supposed to be a removal tool available, but I don't know how to actually get it to the hard drive.

Btw, is there any way I can just format the hard drive? I wouldn't mind wiping it and starting from scratch. Unfortunately, whatever the Administrator Password was is long gone, so I haven't been able to use the Windows XP product recovery CD-ROM.

I actually comtemplated buying a new desktop PC earlier on, but I've decided to stick with this one.

  letsgetrdy 20:31 08 Sep 2011

The hard drive isn't physically damaged at all, no new one is needed. It sounds like your bootrecord has been messed with, or some other critical configuration. HIRENS BOOT CD has a lot of tools for changing administrative passwords, etc.

A normal solution would be to run a recovery disk with a command option, then you could run system restore from that, recovering any broken configurations stopping the drive from booting.

  Armchair 20:46 08 Sep 2011

Like I say, I can't run the recovery disc, because I asks for a password I no longer have (I don't even remember setting a password! It would have been set about seven or eight years ago, whatver it is). It gives me three chances to enter the correct password, and that's it.

Hirens boot CD, eh? Is it fairly easy to use? I'm really getting out of my depth here. Then again, I am learning quite a bit of PC stuff that I wouldn't normally have encountered, so I'll think of this as an educational exercise.

  robin_x 21:31 08 Sep 2011

Can you connect the duff HDD as a 2nd drive while having the 5400rpm as boot drive?

Partition Wizard is on Hiren's. You can format the drive then copy the partitions over (and resize if necessary)

Have a look if you have a Recovery Partition too. Don't lose it if you have one.

What make and model PC?

  Armchair 15:07 09 Sep 2011

Can you connect the duff HDD as a 2nd drive while having the 5400rpm as boot drive?

Yes, I could do that. It's an ancient Medion desktop PC. The 5400 RPM drive is still configured the same as it was when I got it (partitions C, D and E). The newer drive is configured differently, and I'd rather recover it (if I can!).

Booted from Hirens (thanks letsgetrdy) and removed the administrator password. I booted from the recovery disc, and I can get to the recovery console, but I don't really know what I'm doing. HELP brings up a list of commands:-

http://www.microsoft.com/resources/documentation/windows/xp/all/proddocs/en-us/recoveryconsolecmds.mspx?mfr=true

Can someone in the know please advise me on exactly what to do next (ie I need to access Windows and run a system restore)?

  Armchair 15:12 09 Sep 2011
  Armchair 15:15 09 Sep 2011

...and neither does that one.

http://commandwindows.com/recovery.htm

  Armchair 18:34 09 Sep 2011
Answer

Success......... I couldn't access system restore from the recovery console, so I ran Fixmbr, and that allowed me to access safe mode. Then I was able to carry out a system restore. All back to normal again.

This has taken up a lot of my time, but at least it hasn't cost me anything, and my spare hard drive is up to date.

Cheers to everyone who posted advice.

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