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  1. #1
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    Reformat Problem
    [attachment=88942:Reformat problem.doc]
    Removing seven vulnerabilities found by RU Botted has played havoc with my system. Also an ambiguous message from Avira Rootkit Detection seems to suggest there is a rootkit present, and System Restore is not working. It is possible to create two restore points during the day, which are still there later, but have disappeared the next day .

    So I downloaded from Dell instructions on how to reformat the hard-drive, backed up all my data files and pictures, removed all peripherals other than mouse, keyboard and monitor, gave the PC a Spring Clean inside and out and then inserted the
    XP Home Edition installation disc.

    All went well initially. Lots of files were downloaded, I accepted the license agreement, then when the screen asking which partition to use appeared, I chose the larger, as stated in the instructions, especially as the other was only 8MB in size. Then a pop up stated that two OS can not be used on one partition, referring me to an information source on how to use two OS on a PC.

    This clearly relates to events in January 2009. The DVD writer would not work.
    Removing and reinstalling the software, then the writer itself, as suggested
    by 'Help', did not solve the problem. As the drive was about a month out of warranty I bought another, only to encounter the same problem. So I took the PC to a local shop, who repaired it within a couple of hours.

    The old writer now worked fine, but they had made major changes as several of my programmes had disappeared - most annoyingly Zonealarm - and others had been added, and in addition XP Home Edition SP3 had become XP Pro SP2. I was not especially concerned Ė apart from wondering if MS would refuse to supply updates, on the grounds that it was a pirate PC - as there appeared to be no noticeable difference between the two versions of XP - UNTIL NOW.

    When booting up there is always the choice between starting XP Home and XP Pro, but after 30 seconds it chooses Pro. Out of curiosity I have tried selecting Home Edition, but it is not available.

    So both versions of XP are on the drive somewhere, but how to I get rid of XP Pro so as to be free to install my original system? I am most reluctant to go back to the same shop in view of what happened last year, also he is Chinese and difficult to understand.

    And in view of the warning that proceeding with the installation would erase everything on the drive, why has that not happened?

    Hoping someone can suggest a way to reformat the drive without having to pay
    through the nose for technical support from Dell, which hardly seems
    worthwhile when the PC is 6.5 years old, and likely to fail at any time.

    Many thanks!
    Attached Files Attached Files

  2. #2
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    If you truely want to reformat the partition when the installation program gets to the partition selection screen you should be able to delete the existing partition, then re-create it, format it, and continue with the install.

    Joe
    Joe

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeP View Post
    If you truely want to reformat the partition when the installation program gets to the partition selection screen you should be able to delete the existing partition, then re-create it, format it, and continue with the install.

    Joe

  4. #4
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    Thanks Joe. But I saw no option to delete a partition, and how would I recreate it? The other partition is only 8 MB, which doesn't leave much space to do anything.

    Also, the 8 MB partition presumably contains the XP Home Edition that I need to re-install, so do I need to recreate anything after deleting the larger partition, as one partition was all I thought I had, and presumably all I need. Sorry to be so dumb, but I've never had to deal with partitions before.

    George

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    Which version of XP is on the install CD?

    When the partition screen comes up you should be able to select the partition and then you should be given an option to delete the partition. Once the partition is deleted you should see a part of the disc called unused (or something similar). You should be able to select that and tell the installer to size the partition to the maximum available. Then you should format the partition. I recommend selecting NTFS as the file system.

    Sorry, I can't be more specific. It has been quite a while since I've installed XP.

    Joe
    Joe

  6. #6
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    The installation disk is XP Home Edition Service Pack 2.

    I am pretty busy at the moment and will be unable to have another go until the weekend, after making another back-up to catch the recent additions to my docs.

    As stated, I didn't notice an option to remove a partition, but may have missed it as I wasn't looking for one, expecting the installation disk to remove everything and give me a nice clean start, as stated in the warning from Dell.

    One further question - you write "Then you should format the partition." Is this something specific I need to do, as I understand the installation disk should reformat the entire hard drive? Sorry to be a pain, but I'm scared of doing something catastrophic.

    George

    PS Why is it when I try to upload a reply a 'No file was selected for upload' message appears?

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    See the steps with screen shots at Clean Install Windows XP - How to Perform a Clean Installation of Windows XP - Part 1 of 4.


    Note: when you compose a reply and there are no additional files you need to attach, just scroll down a little and click "Add Reply".

    Joe
    Joe

  8. #8
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    If you have had some nasties, & suspect a rootkit, then I would suggest you "zero fill" the drive before you format it. This overwrites all bits on the drive with 0's, & you can select how many passes you want.

    Ultimate Boot CD has a utility to do that.

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    If I understand your situation correctly, you have a PC that shows a single C: partition in Windows XP, and as far as you know, has only a single "version" of Windows XP, namely Pro SP2, installed. However, when you boot, you have the option of choosing two OS's, only one of which actually "works".

    This sounds to me like an inappropriate entry in the Boot.ini file. This is a hidden system file on C: that, among other things, lists all of the bootable operating systems on your machine (and lets you select one of them, if there are more than one, at boot time). To see it, right click My Computer, choose Properties, choose the Advanced tab, choose Startup and Recovery settings, and look at the top section (which controls the OS-to-boot). I'm guessing the drop-down window will show two entries, the "real" one and the "former" OS.

    So far, you have only "looked" at things, and hence haven't done anything "dangerous". If the default OS that the message shows is the correct one, the safest thing to do is to simply uncheck the box that displays the "Choose the OS" options and always take the (correct) default. Otherwise, you could edit the file by clicking the Edit button. The terminology there is slightly unusual, but it basically "points to" a disk, a partition, and an OS (along with a "friendly name" for that OS). If you are certain one entry points to a no-longer-present version of Windows, you could simply remove that entry and you'd never get prompted again. Take care, however, before you do this, as this is a key step in booting the correct OS!

  10. #10
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    Thanks Joe. The detailed instructions are very useful - I will put them on the laptop and have it beside me as I do the installation.

    Even more important, they may have prevented a disaster. When collecting the installation disks, passwords, etc for all the programmes that will need to be reloaded I noticed the XP disk was in a flimsy paper wrapper without any product key. Being unable to find it anywhere in the stuff that came with the PC I tried to ask Dell if it was on the disc, but they charge £19 to answer a simple question, a lot more if they regard it as complicated, and I decided that it must load automatically with the disk, as what use would the disk be without it?

    After reading the instructions from About com I downloaded and used a product key finder, wrote down the number, then noticed it said XP Pro, the pirate version I need to get rid of. Disaster averted, the product key was on the PC along with the tag number, as stated in the online instructions.

    George

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Bogie View Post
    If you have had some nasties, & suspect a rootkit, then I would suggest you "zero fill" the drive before you format it. This overwrites all bits on the drive with 0's, & you can select how many passes you want.

    Ultimate Boot CD has a utility to do that.

    I've had a look, but it seems rather complicated. Presumably one inserts the installation disk to remove the old system, takes the disk out to use the ultimate boot CD, then continues the installation from where one left off. That strikes me as offering too amny chances of a cock up.

    Thanks anyway for the suggestion.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by George Lee View Post
    I've had a look, but it seems rather complicated. Presumably one inserts the installation disk to remove the old system, takes the disk out to use the ultimate boot CD, then continues the installation from where one left off. That strikes me as offering too amny chances of a cock up.

    Thanks anyway for the suggestion.
    Actually you just insert the Ultimate Boot CD and reformat the drive. No need to uninstall the old OS. If your computer automatically boots from the optical drive; just insert the Ultimate Boot CD and you are ready to reformat your drive. Anything on the drive will be over-written (especially with the "Zero fill" option). You can then install XP Home onto your now clean drive.

  13. #13
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    Be aware that formatting your drive doesn't remove nasties from MBR (Master Boot Record). Some information about a rootkit from 2008.

  14. #14
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    Bob,

    No, you have not understood the problem correctly, perhaps you havenít read the original posting.

    I bought the PC almost 7 years ago With XP Home Edition, and thatís the version on the installation disk. In January 2009 I took the PC to a local repair shop to solve a problem, and when I got it home I discovered XP Home and been replaced by XP Pro and various programmes had disappeared and others added.

    It was only during my abortive attempt to reinstall XP that I discovered there are two partitions, C and another which appears to have no name and is only 5 or 6 Mb, presumably containing the Home Edition and all the programmes that disappeared in very condensed form.

    My attempt failed because the system seemed unwilling to install Home Edition on a partition containing Pro, or delete the latter.

    I have looked at the Startup and Recovery settings as you suggested, and both are listed there. As I understand your reply you are suggesting that I could simply choose the Home Edition and just install all the updates of the past 18 months. But 6 MB is hardly enough space, and how would I get rid of XP Pro and recover the then wasted space?

    In any case, I need to reformat because of the many problems at the moment Ė Firefox and IE not working correctly, System Restore creating restore points which disappear the next day, ZoneAlarm constantly changing the scanning schedule from weekly Saturdays at 07.30 to monthly at 12.30 on whichever day it happens to be, no updates received from MS this week, and the suspected rootkit.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by ripley View Post
    Be aware that formatting your drive doesn't remove nasties from MBR (Master Boot Record). Some information about a rootkit from 2008.
    What a disappointment!

    Just as Ron provided what appeared to be the perfect solution to the rootkit issue you have o go and spoil it.

    But I must give it a go.

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