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Can I reinstall Windows Server 2003 SP2 to resolve corrupted system files

Posted on 2015-01-05
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Last Modified: 2015-01-08
I have a Windows Server 2003 R2 with SP 2 which was infected with viruses.  After removal of viruses, several system functions are not working properly.  I am unable to browse to the network, connect to this server from other servers and  workstations, open Windows Firewall, open Network Connections, or install certain programs.  It also disabled several services that I have since enabled manually, but am still unable to do many functions.  Can I just reinstall SP2 to correct these errors?  I tried the reset TCP/IP by using NetShell and also the rundll32 setupapi... netrass.inf commands without success.  Thanks.
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Question by:pwayte
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Author Comment

by:pwayte
ID: 40531795
I forgot, I also attempted to run System File Check utility without success.  Thanks.
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McKnife earned 500 total points
ID: 40531803
First question is, whether you really want to trust that server any further. if you have a current backup, I'd vote for using that, instead. If you don't, you can try a repair installation as follows:

1 aquire a 2003 setup CD with SP2 already included. If not at hand, use nlite to produce it yourself
2 boot from that CD
3 select install
4 setup will not start the installation right away but look for present installations and offer to repair the current installation

Afterwards, all system files and security related settings are reset to SP2 level. You will have to reapply all post SP2 patches. if you need more help, google "2003 server inplace upgrade".
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Expert Comment

by:Mohammed Khawaja
ID: 40531815
Also note that if you have System Restore Point enabled then why don't you just revert to a state prior to the infection.
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Expert Comment

by:Chach DalSanto
ID: 40531850
Both give good advice.  I've had success doing both.  

Afterwards, you should plan for reloading/replacing that install of the server.  Since the system has been seriously traumatized, you'll never be able to 100% trust it again.  It may have started working again, and thats a great short-term goal, but far more often than not as the weeks months and years roll on you'll have anomalous behavior from it.  

There are a couple ways you could do this:  You can transfer the workload, virtualize the server and run it somewhere else while you reload the physical box its on, etc. but the point is it's never going to be 100% right again and it's untrustworthy.

Just my $0.02 from experience.

Thx
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by:noxcho
ID: 40532074
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by:nobus
ID: 40533001
i would not even try to repair it, since the OS seems heavily corrupted
best go for backup + freh instalml here - it will save you time in the end

if you fear the same thing happening later - make an image of the disk after  everything is installed + updated
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Author Closing Comment

by:pwayte
ID: 40538495
Thank you all for help.  I awarded the solution to McKnife because he gave me the answer to my question and also told me to not trust reinstall and do fresh install which I was trying to avoid at all costs and because he answered first.  All comments were excellent - thanks again.  I ended up doing complete re-install after all which will end up being best course of action as the system was really corrupted.
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