Hard Drive Nearing Failure.Help Needed Please.

  Big L 266 14:51 23 Jan 2011


Thankfully,this isn't my own hard drive failure I ask about.My friend has a computer which it turns out hasn't got any security suites of any kind on it.As a result,the hard drive is barely usable and probably about to fail and there are no backups anywhere to fall back on.I believe it will be possible to get online with it,but presume thats debatable.I suspect the OS to be Windows XP,but thats open to debate.

I have volunteered to try to help fix it.So,in general terms only,what advice in the form of an action plan can you suggest for me to use please?I have succeeded in doing this for him on a previous occassion about two years ago,but this sounds more serious.The main reason for trying is that there are several thousand music tracks plus an album being recorded of which there are several thousand samples.

If I can get online with it,(a big 'if'),I will download a 30 day Norton 360 full trial version, SuperAntiSpyware, MalwareBytes, CCleaner, iolo System Mechanic and Secunia PSI and run them in succession.I will then try a full Windows update followed by a spell of removing any unwanted programmes.

If I can't get online with it,then thats a whole new ball game and one I have to seriously consider.

As I say, any general advice, suggestions, recommendations and ideas would be warmly welcomed, and for that I say thank you very much indeed in advance for any help you can offer.I know this is a really big ask.

Big L 266

  woodchip 15:05 23 Jan 2011

Because he does not have any security does not mean the drive will fail. it means he will lose control off it. meaning he will need to do a System Restore using restore CD he got with computer or some other means

  woodchip 15:07 23 Jan 2011

So Best thing if he does not have any files photos mail he needs to save. Use the above CD to put it back to manufacturers settings

  robin_x 15:12 23 Jan 2011

Make a free anti-virus boot CD on your PC and boot it on his.

Avira do a good one (use the .iso download)
click here

Burn to CD (use ImgBurn if you have probs)
click here;1

  Big L 266 15:14 23 Jan 2011


woodchip....I agree but there is no disc to use as his computer was already second-hand when he got it some years ago. I will try the System Restore route first though.

Thank you for this.

Big L 266

  robin_x 15:14 23 Jan 2011

That's only a scanner.

Then choose Free permanent AV from Microsoft Secuity Essentials or Avira Free or Avast or AVG free.

All can be downloaded from cnet.com

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 15:17 23 Jan 2011

Of course if he restores to factory settings he will loose all his music files.

Remove the drive place in an external caddy or connect directly to another PC with up to date AV and antispyware.

Then scan the drive and see what can be found and "cleaned" or what has to be deleted.

  Big L 266 15:18 23 Jan 2011


robinofloxley....I like this idea but wonder if its possible to make a CD with a copy of Norton 360,SuperAntiSpyware,MalwareBytes,CCleaner to boot on his computer? Is that possible?

Thank you for your help.

Big L 266

  lotvic 15:24 23 Jan 2011

You will need another HDD so that you can copy his documents and music to it.

Need to make a note of the Product Key in use - check if it is the same as the one on the sticker on side of tower. (You haven't told us if it is OEM or Retail install or if it is a 'branded' OS)

Use SIW Freeware (scroll down to Free version SIW Without Installer (English-Only)) click here
and Belarc click here which is also free, to get all the product keys and write them down or print them out. Be aware that SIW free does not save the product keys (under Licences) or passwords (under Passwords) if you choose save log file.

I find it easier to just take a screenshot of each page I need from SIW and save it on a usb memory stick so that I can print it out or read it on another pc.

If possible make an Image of the HDD and save it on a different HDD so that you can always go back to how it was when you got it (I use Acronis True Image)

Once they are safe you can concentrate on cleaning/or reinstalling OS on the original HDD without worries.

  Big L 266 15:27 23 Jan 2011


Fruit Bat....I think he has a second computer but it'll be like the one I write about in that it will also have no security stuff either. I do hope to save his stuff for him if I can though without a factory restore.

Thank you.

Big L 266

  Big L 266 15:42 23 Jan 2011


lotvic....I have no idea if it is OEM or retail install or if it is a 'branded' OS as it was second-hand when he got it some years ago.I believe from looking at it that it was 'home made' by someone some years ago. There are no product keys on this anywhere as I recall. He has no external hard drives, memory sticks or anything else except a second computer most likely to soon be in the same state as this one I write of. I beieve my only option is to try and clean up the hard drive in the hope it does the trick.

Thank you.

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