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Mega-Virus meltdown: do I have to replace the hard drive?

2868 Views 4 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  systemErr
So. I have been given the opportunity to acquire a very nice Alienware laptop for free from my brother. It's less than a year old, and works swimmingly except for the tiny little problem of a virus that has rendered the computer completely inoperable. And I mean completely.

If you turn it on, it just brings you to a screen that tells to insert a non-existent CD and ends that statement with a nice and instructive "alrutwbikavclglglblargoarbirjab;aorejboabre..." ad infinitum. My brother has talked to many computer "experts" who all claim that this virus has no cure at this moment in time.

Now, I would like to know if this is an overstatement that doesn't consider all the options. Since I would be getting this computer from my brother, I have no attachment to any of the files or memory banks of this computer, especially since it will be an indefinite amount of time before anyone can access them again. In that case, shouldn't there be some method to just completely clear all data from the computer and start again, completely factory sealed fresh? Or at least couldn't I replace the hard drive? I've also read about a risk that the virus can be stored in the RAM or other parts of the computer too, is there some way to clear those? I know that will cost money, but really anything beats having a $2400 paperweight sitting around the house.

Thank you for any help.
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Welcome to TSF. :wave:

RAM is cleared when the computer is shut down - so a virus can't be stored there.
Format the HDD and reinstall Windows.
How do I format the hard drive and reinstall Windows if I apparently can't access any aspect of the computer?
Start the computer with the Windows disc.
The installation will ask if you want to format the HDD.
Formatting is your cure-all, however, there are other methods you may want to consider:

Remove the hard disk from the computer and put in another. Scan the hell out of it with Antivirus/AntiSpyware software etc. Once "cleaned" put it back.

The lazy man fix: Remove the disk and discard it. Purchase a new one and windows xp/ vista / whatever OS. Have some store install it for you.

Some tips:

If you care about the contents of the disk, then back it up. I.E. copy the entire contents to another disk.

If you have one virus, there's likely alot more. However, mention the name(s) if you know them and perhaps some people ont his forum can help you out with the specifics.

Facts: Viruses are created every day. This is the reason companies are constantly providing updates to their software (daily downloads of virus definitions). Yes, it's entirely possible a virus can have "no cure;" this can be for numerous reasons, but just because something has no cure today doesn't mean it wont tomorrow. Although I've never seen this happen, I've heard of a virus that can infect your BIOS, which is kinda like RAM, but keeps computer information/settings in it when the computer is turned off. Other parts of the computer like the CPU/RAM/capacitors/Cards/etc. cannot be infected, just disks.
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