Can't get Into Windows XP, not even in Safe Mode

By italianrock72 ยท 5 replies
Feb 15, 2009
  1. So my computer was working fine about until about 2 weeks ago. Then it got some viruses. I cleared them. Then they came back somehow. It shut down Microsoft Office. I reinstalled Office and I got my Word Documents to open. But I when I open the internet, I could not get on, so I can only get on the internet up here. Then my computer started going crazy again, couldn't get into Microsoft Office again. I restarted my computer. This time when it came on, it wanted me to Log On Windows. Usually I have those little Icons, one was Administrator and one was Family. There was no set password, it was just hit either one of them or hit enter, and I would get into my computer, now this Log On comes up with
    User Name : New User
    I erase New User and put in Administrator and then hit Enter because I don't have a password and it will pretend like it's loading, then say logging off, saving settings.
    I've tried to get into my Computer, because all I want are some Word documents, (i.e. Resumes, other documents that a relative of mine uses for teaching little schoolchildren) she never backed them up. I can't even get into my computer to get these files for the little kids.
    And then I do the F8 thing, and get into every kind of Safe Mode there is and the Log On thing comes up and I still can't get into the computer.

    Please if anyone could help me figure out how to get into my computer so I can get these Word Documents so the little kiddos can get their learning materials back and to help save my siblings job before the day after Presidents day, I'd be greatly appreciated. I've spent most of Valentine's Day trying to figure this out, no luck. And don't send me those links to the 8 steps or whatever, because I already had all those things, (i.e. Malwarebytes..etc. to get rid of viruses) plus I can't even get into the computer to run them.

    I have a Windows XP CD but don't know how to boot from it. If someone could explain that also.

  2. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,002   +15

    to do a system restore from the CD, go into your bios, ensure your bios is set for boot from CD first. then boot from CD and reformat, reinstall your system.

    viri can come back if system restore is enabled. You must turn it off before cleaning the system.

    in the future, I suggest using a program like GOBACK that will clone your system you can restore to a previous state without viri.
  3. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,431   +77

    Do NOT reformat - guaranteed to loose everything you want to KEEP.

    You first step is save the data. The easiest way to do this is to mount your hard drive in another PC in place of a DV drive or whatever is on a primary channel. Then you can see your data and copy it off onto say a CD or the donor hard drive. The main problem is to avoid executing anything on YOUR hard drive, which could install this nasty on your donor PC.

    Now, having recovered your data, there ARE ways of decontaminating your existing PC, but they require booting from an uninfected and hopefully read-only drive, whilst still having the capability to run many, many special programs (take a look at for example). as things are, it is impossible to boot your PC without there being an infective agent already running.

    From your post, I must assume you dont have the necessary experience to do that (despite what you say about 'having the 8 steps stuff ' already), leaving you with three options
    (a) as above mount your HDD in a highly technically-savvy friends PC, who might be able to decontaminate it for you.
    (b) using the OS CD you apparently have, completely clear the HDD and reinstall Windows. Note a virus can be in the root partition sectors)
    (c) pay for the complete restoration by experts.

    After you are going again, your have some reviewing to do, about firewalls, anti-virus packages, anti-spyware, infections clearing, routine backups and drive imaging. Sorry about this, but there probably never were any times when you could cheerfully use the internet without any real idea about protecting yourself from various catastrophic problems. Certainly you cannot today.
  4. italianrock72

    italianrock72 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 30

    How much do you think it will cost to have it done by experts?
    Just wanted to know what you think it will cost me in U.S. dollars, as I'm economically stretched, and the kiddies need to eat, and it's not even my computer, my parents but i will end up paying for it.
  5. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    Tech repair in the US runs from $35 an hour to $85 an hour. If working on professional equipment, that rate can go up to $135 an hour in most locales.

    Do it yourself. It is fun to learn and possible to do.
  6. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,431   +77

    One expense that is certainly worthwhile is a USB memory stick drive. This needs to be 4-8Gb and should be around the $10 mark - being from England, I cannot advise prices at all... but with a flash drive you have some essential backup of sorts.

    Now you can download a single-CD type of Linux OS - I recommend Ubuntu 7 - make sure it can go on one CD and is a bootable CD image. Burn this to a CD following the instructions supplied.

    Then you go into the bios on your PC by pressing a key - usually delete or F2 on Dells - there are less common boot keys and your PC will usually tell you what it is during the POST (power-on self-test). Maybe you know this process but for completeness....bang away merrily on that key immediately after switching on. Catch it quickly enough and your bios starts instead of a Windows boot. Poke about to find where the BOOT ORDER is set, and make the CD or DVD the top one. This is also how you boot from a Windows install CD to do a reinstall or a repair install.

    Restart the PC after setting the boot in this way, but with Ubuntu in the drive. Ubuntu will start, recognise your hardware usually with complete accuracy, and then you are running an OS which allows read and write to your own hard disk, but is itself (being on a CD) completely immune from infection. You can add your flash drive and simply drag and drop all that kiddy and relatives stuff onto it. Major problem solved.

    Hopefully someone will jump in here with suggestions on how you might recover your PC by deleting obvious nasties on your hard drive from Ubuntu, and / or booting off the Windows CD to try repair install, or failing that, a full reformat and install. But of course, dont try that until you have the data you want safe. By the way, don't forget the possibility that the data files (word and others) can themselves carry the infection. They need to be scanned with an anti-virus package.

    Bear in mind you will find Ubuntu from a CD will usually give you all the facilities you already had under Windows - you will be able to connect to the internet (if on broadband at any rate) and you might like it so much you can install Ubuntu to your hard drive, download open Office and find yourself able to read and write Word files in something so like Word you might not be conscious of the difference.

    Another thing you could do pretty inexpensively, yet having huge advantages - is take your existing hard drive out completely, and buy another. Put the new drive in and install Windows on it, updated to all the service packs etc etc, and with all firewalls, anti-virus etc. When happy, ADD the old drive as a slave, and after reformatting it to empty, use it as a backup drive for both routine backups and drive images.
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