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Virus / Spyware remaining after Clean Vista Reinstall

Last Modified: 2013-11-15
Hi all. I have a machine (Dell XPS 730) infected with some kind of virus or spyware that has taken over all web browsing and URL directing (constant redirects to bogus spyware removal sites with pornographic ads etc...). My McAfee which was up to date can no longer access McAfee's virus definition updater site to update itself and similar benevolent sites like http://v4.windowsupdate.microsoft.com are completely inaccessible. A full system scan with McAfee did not return any detected malware or infected files. This being the case, I decided to do a clean install of Vista using Dell's reinstallation CD that came with the machine. During the process I kept my network cable disconnected, no USB drives attached and created a new single partition which I formatted. I was surprised at how fast the format took place (less then a minute) as well as the OS install (maybe 20 minutes).

After the install completed, the first thing I did was plug the network cable back in and hopped in internet explorer and was horrified to see the same malicious activity still taking place!! I had not copied anything back onto the machine nor had I reattached any other devices. The virus / spyware was simply still there. I am thinking that possibly (especially since the install seemed so fast) that the install wasn't really completely clean - that is no low level format really ever took place?? Is this possible? Has anyone seen anything like this before and if so, how do I fully, totally and completely wipe this drive clean?
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