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PC boot issue.... Help needed.

Discussion in 'PC/Windows/Linux' started by Spectre, Sep 4, 2008.

  1. Spectre


    Feb 20, 2008
    So I have a question for anybody that may have the answer....

    The other day my son was using the home desk top, nothing special just a Frankensteined IBM compatable running XP.... so anyway, just after he got done downloading something ( I really don't know what) the PC crashed. Upon reboot, it defaulted to the Safe Mode option.... so far so good.

    I chose to boot in Safe Mode, however, the PC ran through the Motherboard Bios Screen then hung on a black scrieen with a horizontal cursor blinking. There it sat. When I rebooted it again, it gave me an invalid drive error.

    I rebooted again, and entered the MB bios setup screen.... It was still recognizing the hard drive. Once again, reboot... now it came up with an error something to the effect of "cannot enumerate files on hard disk..."

    I decided that my son may have down loaded some kind of boot sector virus.... although I am running McAffee AV (with a current update on the virus profiles).

    I changed the bios to boot from the CD drive and inserted my XP disk.... thinking I may have to try and reinstall windows.... and it booted up just fine, everything appeared normal. Strange thing is that it didn't even give me the option to install or repair windows.... it just booted.

    I am thinking that since it allowing me to get to all of my documents and things, I will move all of them to an external drive and wipe the drive and reload windows.... or setup and smaller hard drive that I have as the master with the OS on it.... and use the current drive as a slave.

    Is this how a boot sector virus typically manifests? Does anybody have any suggestions on how to proceed.... any input would be greatly appreciated.
  2. LRogers


    Sep 3, 2008
    Delaware, US
    There are many boot sector viruses out in the wild. Assuming you have a different non infected working computer, I would recommend going to McAfee website and searching for Boot Sector viruses, I'd make sure the infected computer is not connected to any home network. Other good sites are Symantec, but because you are running McAfee, I'd start there. I'd also recommend you get Hijack this to help you find and possibly remove unwanted from the PC. Not surprised that XP did not want to reinstall, if you are booting from CD, the version of XP on the CD is fine.... Your data and everything should be intact on the hard drive. Nature of most boot sectors viruses is that they destroy or modify the boot sector preventing the ability to boot from that drive....Again, there are so many variants out there, you really should get reputable help. Be wary of the host of malware removal stuff on the web. Stick with the main anti virus providers. Good luck on this.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 4, 2008
  3. exitnine


    Jun 5, 2008
    Boston, MA
    have you try to boot to the command mode, and try the fix mbr command, forgot the detail, but did try it long time ago when my computer have booting problem, what it does is reset the master boot record, may work, maybe not, google it little more and see...

    sorry, hope this help
  4. As exitnine said, it may have infected your MBR and is corrupted. If you can boot using your XP install disk to get to the Command prompt, you can run fixmbr, and this should at least fix the MBR.

    But anyway, moving your data to an external disk should be you first priority and then repairing it, second. But partitioning the drive is is the wisest thing, giving "C" drive about 50-70Gb will usually be ample for your OS and loaded programs, and put all your data on "D". This way is you have a problem with the OS, you can just format "C" partition and your Data is safe on "D"...

    But it always pays to run some sort of back up (I use "Second Copy" and Microsofts "Sync" [free download]) as any HDD can fail at any time. I use several External HHD that are only turned ON when backing up, otherwise they are kept turn off so if the worst happens, either virus or even a voltage spike (even though I run a protector) happens I have a full back up.
    I also do a disk image of the OS (stored on another HDD) using Acronis Software. This way I can easily reinstall a good version of the OS and all my loaded programs if I either have a bad virus or HDD failure.
    Good luck on finding your problem, but please post on what you find and what you end up doing to fix the problem....
  5. pirahnah3


    Feb 22, 2008
    I agree that the boot sector may be cooked however, depending on how many documents you have i might back them up to a CD in case any one of them has been infected with somthing, this way you will not infect anything else and can scan the cd for viruses and whatnot. Woud hate to see you go thru all the work and then find out your backup HD got cooked too.

    As far as running a second partition on the drive i wouldnt because of the fact that hard drives themselves often fail the boot sector failures are not always a major problem nor does this solve the issue of a Master boot record failure. I would instead use an external HD as the prices have come way done in the last few months and just have those for backups. Very reliable and safer rom viruses as you dont have to have the malways connected or even turned on.
  6. I agree...

    I have just the OS on my 'C' drive and moved 'My Documents' to my 'D' drive and save all music. photos, dopcauments, etc to there ( or another external drive ). If I need to wipe the OS, no REALLY important files are on the OS disk.

    Norton and McAfee have become nothing more than bloatware these days and I don't recommend them to anyone. I switched awhile back to NOD32 and have been very happy with it. I am cleaning up a PC for someone, as I type this, that is loaded with spyware and four really nasty trojans. and Norton 360 is running fat and happy on it with a green "Eveything is OK' checkmark.

    I'd recommend looking for some new antivirus and spyware programs. I use Spy Sweeper and PC Tools Disk Doctor for spyware control.

  7. Spectre


    Feb 20, 2008
    Thank you for your reply.

    Thanks for the suggestion.


    Thanks for the response....

    Good advice.....Thanks

    So, here is the current status.....

    I went in and fixed the MBR... seems to have worked, at least to the point that the computer will boot from the hard drive instead of having to boot from the disk.

    What I have decided to do, when I have time in the next few days is this...

    Transfer all of my documents, photos, music etc... onto an external hard drive. (I have a 500GB Maxtor USB) After I get what I need, I am going to wipe and repartition the drive, then reinstall the OS.... That way I have a clean install and will be working from ground zero.

    Thanks for all of the input, I appreciate it.
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