[Info] Reformat/reinstall with infected computer?

By fjarhead · 8 replies
Sep 27, 2011
  1. After fighting a computer with various virus and malware infections over the last few days, I read an article on this website that said if I use the computer for banking, etc. it is HIGHLY recommended that I do a complete reformat/reinstall vs. trying to battle the infections through various scans and tech support. My question is how do I go about saving that will be reinstalled after reformatting. 99%of what I'm going to save are MS Word files and I'm wanting to insure that I don't bring over an infected file. Is there a big risk in putting a flash drive in an infected computer and highlighting known MS docs to save to the USB drive?

  2. Broni

    Broni Malware Annihilator Posts: 54,262   +383

    Welcome aboard [​IMG]

    Save you files to USB drive.

    Perform clean Windows installation.

    Install this on your computer....

    Download, and run Flash Disinfector, and save it to your desktop (Windows Vista and Windows 7 users, scroll down)

    *Please disable any AV / ScriptBlockers as they might detect Flash Disinfector to be malicious and block it. Hence, the failure in executing. You can enable them back after the cleaning process*

    • Double-click Flash_Disinfector.exe to run it and follow any prompts that may appear.
    • The utility may ask you to insert your flash drive and/or other removable drives. Please do so and allow the utility to clean up those drives as well.
    • Hold down the Shift key when inserting the drive until Windows detects it to keep autorun.inf from executing if it is present.
    • Wait until it has finished scanning and then exit the program.
    • Reboot your computer when done.
    Note: As part of its routine, Flash_Disinfector will create a hidden folder named autorun.inf in each partition and every USB drive that was plugged in when you ran it. Do not delete this folder...it will help protect your drives from future infection by keeping the autorun file from being installed on the root drive and running other malicious files.

    Windows Vista and Windows 7 users
    Flash Disinfector is not compatible with the above Windows version.
    Please, use Panda USB Vaccine, or BitDefender’s USB Immunizer

    Now you're safe to plug USB drive in and scan it with your AV program.
  3. fjarhead

    fjarhead TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thank you, that sounds good. I need to spend some time collecting up my Windows XP disks, finding my software certificates, etc. before I reformat so it might be a while before I install the files back on.

    I've installed a new HD on this computer before so I'm somewhat familar with the Windows installation process. However, do you have any tips for first time reformatters?

    Also, any points to consider when reformatting an infected machine? Assume worst case infection..

    Thank you for your time...
  4. Broni

    Broni Malware Annihilator Posts: 54,262   +383

    What Windows version is it?
  5. fjarhead

    fjarhead TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Windows XP Media 2002 version Service pack 3
  6. Broni

    Broni Malware Annihilator Posts: 54,262   +383

  7. Bobbye

    Bobbye Helper on the Fringe Posts: 16,334   +36

    I realize this is not the info , but you are basing it on something you read- which may or may not be the case:
    Since the thread is marked Info, perhaps I can make a comment: It is possible that you may not have good security on the system that is allowing malware to return. It is also possible that you have not gotten help cleaning the system properly.

    For instance, you can be infected from the FunWebProducts with will litter the system with MyWebSearch, Hotbar and other adware. That would usually not require a reformat/reinstall.

    So if you do want info I will add that it depends on what malware and security you have on the system. Yes, there are some types of malware like the file infectors which don't respond to cleaning. And if you don't have layered security of antivirus, firewall and a proper selection of antimalware programs, you may pick up some malware every time you access the internet.

    And you have gotten the info you actually asked for- I'm just trying to point out some considerations.
  8. fjarhead

    fjarhead TS Rookie Topic Starter

    i appreciate the info thanks. I had MS Security Essentials and Malwarebytes (run manually a couple times a week). I previously dropped Zone Alarm when a laptop I aquired with Vista would not run with ZA, so I started using MS Security Essentials on the PC and the new laptop. After about a year the PC computer quickly became unusable, all security programs were disabled and would not run. I was able to boot disk a couple new AV programs that found trojans, exploit stuff and others. I was able to run Malwarebytes in safe mode eventually, it found a couple items. Right now the computer takes forever to load on startup, won't connect to the internet without resetting modem etc, and when it does connect most IE addresses are redirected to sites selling software or other computer stuff. I ran scans with the specialty software recommended from this site and had the logs ready to post when I saw the recommendation to reformat rather than continue down the cleaning path. I've been spending today getting the laptop with Vista protected so I don't lose the one functioning computer I've got. I've installed Kapersky Internet Security and have been very happy with how it performs with Vista. I like the "vuneralbilities" scan besides the regular scan. It showed me software, windows settings, etc, that needed updating or were at risk.

    I'm getting ready to remove docs, music and pics off the infected computer for reformatting.

    Thanks for your input. The infected computer in question is 6 years old so I'm also conidering scrapping it, but for what we use it for, I think it still has the necessary performance. Spending a little more time on it may be worth saving $800.
  9. Bobbye

    Bobbye Helper on the Fringe Posts: 16,334   +36

    One more stop with info for you then I'll go away:
    1. Complete System Requirements for ZoneAlarm Products
      Microsoft Windows Vista SP1 or SP2

      All Versions:
      [o] 32-bit / 64-bit, 2 GB RAM
      [o] 2 GHz or faster processor
      [o] 250MB of available hard-disk space (100MB for ZoneAlarm free firewall)
    2. "After about a year the PC computer quickly became unusable">> how do you mean this?
    3. "all security programs were disabled">> common with malware
    4. "new AV programs that found trojans, exploit stuff and others".>> AV programs can show exploits in the Java cache. These usually occur when there is an outdated version of Java on the system. Java needs to be updated, the old version needs to be removed and the Java cache needs to be emptied.
    5. " run Malwarebytes in safe mode eventually".>> means you were making some prograss.
    6. "Right now the computer takes forever to load on startup">> Can be caused by too many unnecessary programs set to start on boot and some Services set to Automatic instead of Manual.
    7. " won't connect to the internet without resetting modem etc",> Some malware infections require a DNS Flush and a reset of the router.
    8. "when it does connect most IE addresses are redirected">> very common in Malware infections
    9. "specialty software recommended from this site and had the logs ready to post">>>> Are they gone already or would you like one of us to take a look at them?
    10. "The infected computer in question is 6 years old so I'm also considering scrapping it" >>scrapping a computer just because of age is shouldn't even be considered!. I have a 10 year old desktop with Windows XP Home. My maintenance has been good, my security is good and although I don't use it as much as the laptop (Win XP) and a mini with Win 7, I will keep it until the wires rust and the screws come out!

    All of the above is based on my experience- personal and what I do here. You may not want to consider any of it now, but keep it in mind in case there is a 'next time.'

    Regarding the Kaspersky Vulnerability Scan: If you can set it to "user invoked", meaning you can run it when you want when you do your maintenance, it could be a good asset. On the other hand, if it is set to run in the background, you will likely tire of the frequent popup alerts.

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