Hello, all. I have a system that came in unable to boot fully to the desktop - loaded wallpaper and cursor, but no icons or taskbar. Task Manager was not accessible. Connected the HD externally to one of my own systems and a malware scan revealed 3-4 rootkits and about 4-5 trojans. These were erradicated by my BitDefender (ran several scans until it came up clean). Unfortunately, this didn't resolve the boot problem. Safe Mode - same deal. Desktop not fully loaded. LKGC didn't resolve anything.
Not having the original OEM discs on-hand (the Acer OEM disc being a "restore" disc anyway, as opposed to a "Windows" disc), I slipstreamed a WinXP Pro OEM SP2 install disc I had to SP3 - to match the WinXP version on the system (WinXP Pro, SP3, OEM). This ran through fine, but now I am met with a "you must activate this version of Windows before logging on" message. If I cancel, it shuts down the system. If I accept, nothing happens.
I am guessing not all of the device drivers were installed at this point - mainly the NIC drivers - so the activation is unable to connect anywhere.
Now, my question is, how do I get around, or through this catch-22?
A note, if relevant.... This system has been into me before a few times. First instance was to upgrade the HD (original HD out of space - cloned to new/current HD). Second and third instances were to remove heaps of malware (as this time). I ended up doing either a repair install or full reinstall those times due to the amount of damage incurred by Windows. At last visit, we loaded BitDefender and ZoneAlarm (free) for security, but we suspect *someone* in the household (teenage male) is disabling the security while roaming freely online.
Any and all help would be greatly appreciated... Thanks much in advance!