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what is the most effective way to clean a severely infected laptop

Posted on 2014-09-25
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Last Modified: 2014-10-26
Toshiba laptop with W7 Home.  System appears to be severely (or deeply) infected.  Have already tried the normal steps and it remains a problem.  Examples, MS clone firms calling to say that the system in infected and to call MS.  Music playing in the background....sometimes etc. etc.  I can remove the drive from the laptop and connect to a clean system.  Is that the most "EFFECTIVE" way to clean the system?
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Question by:tonyadam
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40345050
The honest and effective answer to this question is usually the same: Back up the system, format the hard drive and reinstall Windows. In the state it is in, you will find yourself in a black hole trying to clean it up. Such damage is rare in my client machines, but reimage is what we do in such cases.
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by:Larry Struckmeyer MVP
ID: 40345054
The most effective way is fdisk/restore from backup or system recovery from hidden partition.   Scanning from a bootable AV DVD is sometimes effective, as might be removing and scanning while attached as a not booted drive from another computer.  But the most effective is to wipe and reinstall.

Pay no attention to unsolicited phone calls... that is a scam.  They don't know anything about your computer until you allow them to connect to it, at which point they will clean not your computer but your bank account.
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by:jcimarron
ID: 40345105
John Hurst--
For my education.  Wouldn't using an image after formatting reintroduce the malware?
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40345109
I used Reimage is as a shorthand.  I said before that:  Back up, format and reinstall Windows.

I would not use an old image (made from the machine) unless I knew for a certainty that is was virus free. We have such images at clients and so we use those as well.
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by:jcimarron
ID: 40345120
John Hurst--
Thanks.
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by:noxcho
ID: 40345124
If you connect the drive to clean system then it will infect the clean system as well. What is your goal? Repair the current system or get rid of virus problems from the drive? The most effective way is wiping the HDD, not simply formatting it. But is this exactly what you want?
Have you scanned the drive with Malwarebytes? With Kaspersky and other antiviruses? A teial version must be ok for your needs.
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by:tonyadam
ID: 40345184
John Hurst....what is "Reimage is"?  My challenge is that this Toshiba system does not have a factory image.  I suppose I could down load a W7 from somewhere and then fight with MS to get it activated as "legal".
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40345186
You can run into problems trying to use a retail Windows 7 DVD with an OEM key. Drivers can be another issue.

Best to get recovery media from Toshiba.
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by:tonyadam
ID: 40345213
Unfortunately, there doesn't appear to a way to download a recovery disk from Toshiba.  I agree that it would be best.  I don't mind working thru the driver's issue even though it is a pain.  Many functions on retail systems are unnecessary for a "standard" system install.  However, I don't know where to get a W7 64 bit version to download.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40345220
You can try New Egg, Tiger Direct, Software King and such places but you have to pay for the license. Microsoft does not appear to be distributing it any more.

Another possibility is to upgrade to Windows 8 if you have to purchase anyway.
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by:tonyadam
ID: 40345226
Do you know of any discounted W8 64 bit version upgrades?  Interesting idea.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40345234
Try the sources above including Software King. I have used them before.

My ThinkPad X230 is Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit and I have it working quite well (Desktop only, No Metro). Windows 7 is now at end of life, although it will get security upgrades until 2020.
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by:nobus
ID: 40345478
>>  Do you know of any discounted W8 64 bit version upgrades?  Interesting idea  <<  then you must have a running OS that is ok first - which you don't have.
ARe you sure there is no factory reset partition ?  it is often hidden
you can start it by holding the ZERO key during boot; here's the complete description :
http://en.kioskea.net/faq/4811-toshiba-laptop-reset-to-factory-settings
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by:noxcho
ID: 40345549
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by:Larry Struckmeyer MVP
ID: 40345871
Call Toshiba for restore media.

If there is a Windows Key sticker on the bottom of the box, any Windows DVD of the same version will accept that key.  Borrow one from a friend or find one from a highly reliable seller on Ebay.  What is not allowed is to move that key to a different computer.
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by:tonyadam
ID: 40345950
Nobus...I should have mentioned that the original HD in this laptop failed.  I had fortunately made an image of the OS when new and used it to re create the OS when I replaced the drive.  Unfortunately, I no longer have that image.  I've ordered the Toshiba factory DVD ($30) which isn't a bad price and will go that route to bring the system back to current.   As a clarification question though....wouldn't I see the factory recovery partition by looking at Disk Management?
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by:noxcho
ID: 40346053
Yes, usually it is visible there but has no drive letter. And you are not able to assign a drive letter to it.
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nobus earned 500 total points
ID: 40346152
that seems the best solution for now.
once the factory restore is done, verify that the restore partition is there.
**in some cases, the factory restore needs the same disk -  in some a bigger one; and some even perform on a smaller one
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by:nattygreg
ID: 40348150
take the hard disk out of the laptop and put it into an enclosure and connect it to another company and back up your files into a folder, then format the hard disk. replace hard disk into the laptop and reinstall the windows on your laptop.
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by:nobus
ID: 40348269
and once fully installed and configured - best take an image of the whole drive
you can use the fre paragon software for thsi :  http://www.paragon-software.com/home/br-free/download.html
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Author Comment

by:tonyadam
ID: 40358508
I did a full format of both the OS partition and the data partition and then attempted the restore utilizing the Toshiba restore CDs which arrived yesterday.  Unfortunately, disk 2 of the 3 set volume is corrupted.  I'm now awaiting another shipment from Toshiba.  I would prefer to have a successful restore, new image and the creation of a restore factory image partition which I assume the CDs will create before closing this question.  I'm assuming that this will not be possible until about Monday, Oct. 6.  Thank you for your patience.
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by:nobus
ID: 40358790
no problem; i'll be 'round
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by:LeeTutor
ID: 40405289
I've requested that this question be deleted for the following reason:

Not enough information to confirm an answer.
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by:nobus
ID: 40405058
tonyadam - we are waiting for your reaction !
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Author Closing Comment

by:tonyadam
ID: 40405290
My apologies for the delay in my response. The Toshiba Recovery CDs (second shipment) finally did arrive 12 days after they were ordered.  I personally think this is unsatisfactory.  Regardless, after restoring the system and doing well over 200 MS updates, the system is up and running OK.  Thanks again for everyone's help.
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by:Larry Struckmeyer MVP
ID: 40405321
You are certainly free to award points to whomever you wish.  But as far as I can see, the person awarded said "do what John Hurst and Larry said".    I think you should have at least split them.

But your call.  Next time, give some thought to the awarding of points.
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Author Comment

by:tonyadam
ID: 40405439
OK...but I don't know how to change it now.  I'll make it up to John Hurst next time.
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by:jcimarron
ID: 40405485
tonyadam--
You click the Request Attention button at the bottom right of your first post and request an adjustment.
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