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Swapping out laptop hard drive?

Discussion in 'Computers' started by kryptonyt, Sep 6, 2011.

  1. kryptonyt

    kryptonyt Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    To prove a point to my GF about using a cell phone to open a locked car when you lose your keys; I got a bug on my computer and trying to get the damn thing off of it has caused it to not boot; it goes around in circles to the safe mode screen but never goes past that black screen.

    I spend about a month with people from computer help forums trying to get it fixed but it is still stuck. The best news is that with one program that was suggested I can still see all of my data but have no way of getting it off onto a jump drive or even to print it.

    I'm thinking of putting in a new hard drive with an updated OS ( open to suggestions about that / it had XP ) and then mounting the old hard drive in a USB case and scanning it and or picking important data off of it with a MAC since MAC's seem to be less vulnerable to Trojan Horse's and Virus's that get PC's.

    Thoughts or feedback?:thinking:

  2. johnlgalt

    johnlgalt Antidisestablishmentarian

    Why not use a Linux live CD so that you can access your files and copy them to a USB key? Saves a lot of hassle of having to remove the drive and such....

    Plus, with XP, depending upon your current OS, you may have issues actually accessing the files since it will be tied to your user account on hte original OS, but with a live CD that should not be an issue.

    Read this for more info: Geek to Live: Rescue files with a boot CD
    9to5cynic and kryptonyt like this.
  3. kryptonyt

    kryptonyt Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    I'm replying before I read your link. Just want to add that one of the programs that was suggested that actually allowed me to view my root directory; had an option for USB connectivity but for whatever reasons we could not get it to work.
    Maybe it is different with Linux but I have zero experience with Linux. So unless it is something that I can pick up easily I need to learn from scratch.

    Will check out your link now.

  4. SUroot

    SUroot Extreme Android User

    I tend to use Ultimate bootcd4win for this kind of thing. I probably would use linux live CD now Im familiar though.

    UBCD for Windows
    kryptonyt likes this.
  5. drdoom

    drdoom Android Expert

    Ubuntu is a very easy OS to learn to use. If you have used Windows at all, you will easily acclimate to basic use of Ubuntu. Use it to copy your files and do a reformat of the hard drive.
    kryptonyt likes this.
  6. johnlgalt

    johnlgalt Antidisestablishmentarian

    It's really the easiest way to do it with a full GUI - Most any 'live' CD will work, but the newest distros tend to contain read and write access to NTFS formatted partitions, which is what XP uses mostly (unless you specify otherwise and / or upgraded from a previous OS like 98 that had no NTFS), and Vista and 7 use by default.

    Any of these suggestions are good, but that guide runs you through with a walkthrough as well, so that's a plus for ya - just have to print it out, download and burn the .ISO and you should be good to go.

    Of course, if the Live CD / DVD manages to get your Ethernet / wireless working so you can get on he Internet, then you have no need to print it....
  7. mattbirk

    mattbirk Well-Known Member

    If you get your hard drive out, and can slave it to another pc, I would try to scan it with malware bytes. Run a full scan, and see how many objects it finds, then try to boot to it again.

    If no luck, then try what the other guys mention, use a Linux live cd.
  8. johnlgalt

    johnlgalt Antidisestablishmentarian

    MBAM can also be run off of rescue disks like Ultimate Boot CD....no drive removal needed.
    mattbirk likes this.
  9. kryptonyt

    kryptonyt Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    Whatever it was/is that caused this problem MBAM was run numerous times while it was still booting. I can give you a list of other programs used all finding things that would get deleted or quarantined. There was always an interesting message that came pop-ed up from Avira which said " autorun on D drive was stopped for your protection " I tried running scans just on the D drive and I was locked out. Avira help forums did not respond in time before the black screen recycling.
    At one point Dr. Web seemed to get into D and found a half dozen problems. It of course suggested deleting them and restarting. I agreed. The screen stayed that way for 6 hours. Nothing worked to end task or get out of that place. Holding down the restart button didn't even work. I took the battery out to turn it off. From that point on it kept trying to restart. Would show for about 10 seconds the windows screen that you see just before it boots to windows. But then it would disappear, the black screen would appear saying that it was turned off improperly and what did i want to do. But none of the choice would work; not even go back to the last good date. It would just repeat the same sequence endlessly.

    Not sure that all of that tells you anything helpful.

    It does sound like the Linux Live CD might be worth a try. Will give it a go this week-end.

    BTW The laptop Gateway purchased new from Staples didn't come with a CD. The D drive was suppose to be the back up. After the fact someone asked me if I made a backup CD from the D drive. Nope. And so it goes....

    Thanks for all of your suggestions.

    Remember to always back-up and floss after meals:D
  10. johnlgalt

    johnlgalt Antidisestablishmentarian

    it sounds like an MBR infection coupled with some infected programs that specifically targeted that backup partition. You're right - it's time to stop fiddling with the existing OS and get your files off of there so you can format and reinstall. however, you might want to look into the ultimate bootcd4win in this case - b/c if the infection is still there on that partition, it is going to be after you format the C drive - and you really don't want to have to format the D: drive b/c then you cannot restore to factory default conditions, meaning all the crapware 9and some useful stuff) that comes pre-loaded you will not have access to.
  11. kryptonyt

    kryptonyt Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    Not sure that this matter in anyway but thought i would mention it before i dive in with "the ultimate boocd4win". Yesterday while garage sailing i picked up two unopened XP CD's one has service pack 3 included which is what i have on the sick PC. Then, ( what are the chances ) i found a Gateway laptop that must have a bad battery or else it is total toast, but i bought the whole thing with a few perifs AND an installation CD! The laptop look just like mine but I know that there were a few different configurations of that computer; one in particular that came intel processor which came from Gateway instead of Staples like mine did.
    ( BTW Gateway would honor one day of support in the first week when I couldn't get it to connect to the internet. They told me to take it back to Staples who wanted to charge me for help...and so it goes ) In any event i am thinking that the one i just purchased has the intel in it. Will this Gateway CD work to boot from it. Or maybe one of those XP CD's work to boot it? And based on what i told you about the D drive is that something that i want to try. Besides the info that i never backed up that is on the old GW the data is much more important than the PC. Besides i now have two of the same laptops.
    About back up. For the longest time the guys in my PC user group suggested Acronios for backing up. i have an external hard drive that came with a back-up built in and another external with a back-up program that i never heard of. i'd like to find one that i can use on all of my PC including some ancient ones that i just couldn't get rid of.

    Last but not least, on an unrelated subject, a couple months ago i was telling someone that way back when i was in high school suddenly all over the part of NJ that i lived near NYC "Who is John Galt" started poping up in graffiti on building, bridges, and even inside the Lincoln Tunnel that connects NJ to NY. Now it is John Galt to the rescue once again!:D Thanks JLG!
    johnlgalt likes this.
  12. kryptonyt

    kryptonyt Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    John, Went back to the beginning and read every post again. i'm not sure if this is a good link meaning accurate or not but but wiki had this:

    Live CD - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Reading that wiki made me think about all that the forum helpers, senior members, and in particular the malware experts often took charge and often demanded that the person that they are helping "do EXACTLY what they say" i was not offended by their demand because i know what happens when a person you may be trying to help decides to "help" and does something on their own ( males and females do the same thing ) so, in a way it's kinda like being in the military: they want you to do it "their way" and most of the time the reason is sound.
    In any event. Based on the wiki link that i posted, i realized that i used three different ( maybe four different ) Live CD's
    Since this drama started in MAY of this year i have spent several hundred hours trying to first cure the sick PC then getting it to boot.
    i have been a member of both help forums that i used for ten years at least. They are both excellent forums and the members are like members here always ready to help. What would we do without help forums? After numerous suggestions from members i had two experts step in and ask me to follow their instructions the way i mentioned above. Before anyone jumps to thinking that tow different experts from two different forums could be a conflict. Yes that is true. But i used one for almost a month trying numerous moves including using tow different Live CD programs ( i'll need to look at the CD's that i made to boot the Gateway but i am pretty sure none of them are the three mentioned here ) One of the reasons it took so long is that each move is revealed one at a time and then i had to post back what the results were.
    So first thing to know here is that every Live CD that they suggested worked to get me a desktop. However, the desktop was foreign looking in the most obvious way: something things were missing from what my desktop looked like.
    With those Live CD's i was asked to do a variety of things including doing a scan to find and eliminate "the problem" ( malware ) One of the Live CD's was by Avira which is the antivirus program that i used on that PC so it seemed like a logical choice. It indeed found malware and disposed of them. But the computer still wouldn't boot. i ran the program a second time and sure enough the malware was gone. So why wouldn't it start? No one knew. Another program supposedly made a complete report available in a folder that was either associated or in essence a fresh USB drive that was in the computer when i was making the CD ( on a healthy PC using an interesting program that wrote the CD when the program was downloaded. But for whatever reason, and we tried doing the process with a fresh CD three times. The file on the GUI root directory was there but after running the program there was ZERO on the jump drive.
    Another program need to be made with the same CD burner only i had to use a CD RW where the report would be posted. You can guess the result of that. A report was generated ( too long to type out and not copy and pasteable for some reason.
    Then i had to go on a business trip and a 10 day trip turned into a 33 day marathon. Besides coming back to the sick Gateway and over a month of mail i had a new "smartphone" then made me feel like i really didn't know half as much as i thought i knew and if you ever read my first post you might have figured out that i was like a kid who's Dad gives him a Ferrari Daytona as his first car: there's a good chance the car will wind up wrecked.
    Bottom line: are the Live CD that you guys mentioned here basically suppose to do the same thing(s) as the other Live CD's are suppose to do?
    It's great to see that i haven't lost everything. The question is how do i get it off onto a jump drive or better yet an external hard drive.

    Sorry for the lengthy post but honestly i don't know how to deliver a minimalist version of a disaster besides saying: "My computer go Boom.";):rolleyes::eek:

    Seriously, doesn't the details of how we get to where we are tell a more complete story than saying i got a bug of some kind and now my computer won't boot?

    Thanks again for coping with this situation.
  13. johnlgalt

    johnlgalt Antidisestablishmentarian

    No worries, m8. I appreciate detailed information as it definitely assists in the troubleshooting process.

    Armed with the info from your last two posts, and in particular the fact that you've already been through the troubleshooting process using liveCDs/DVs already, it's a safe bet to say that you probably should go ahead with the replacing the HD method.

    With regards of the laptop you [picked up - look it up at gateway's home page via the serial and / or service tag number to get the exact configuration - and do the same for your own laptop as well. just be sure that the configurations are pretty close to identical.

    And, something else that I foolishly forgot about - you can install Windows XP over itself, which should give you a working copy of XP, along with access to your files, but without all of the programs actually working (b/c registry entries have been reset to default OOB settings, so all the customizations that programs make as far as their setting sand such will be gone - the programs may physically run sometimes, but sometimes will not, b/c it does not know where to look for particular .DLL files, etc....)

    however, it does not matter - b/c if you install XP over itself, hopefully you'll be able to copy the file sot an external drive / thumb drive and then you can proceed with the format and restore.

    To do this, you'll be installing XP in the same folder as before (it may ask you to move the folder and / or create a new one instead to preserve to old one) and, most importantly, do not format the hard drive, or even parts (partitions) at all - this is extremely critical.

    Let me go looking for some more info, I've written about this in the past, but it has been a few years since I even booted XP, so I want to be sure I have the exact procedure correct before attempting this.

    Also, another thing to think about - if this infection is still on the other partition, it may come right back and / or it may be infecting all your data files as well. I'd highly recommend that on another PC you have a bevy of anti virus and anti-malware apps ready for scanning these external drives once you've finished transferring data.
  14. kryptonyt

    kryptonyt Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    Now i'm glad that i told you the details of what's been going on since May.

    i looked up the info on the Gateway's and it is a very close match! It also turns out that it wasn't the battery on the garage sale computer it was the power cord. So i haven't started it yet but it should be interesting what i see.

    Two other facts when you mentioned the XP installation over itself; going on to mention the .dll files; it reminded me that with those other LIVE CD's one of them mentioned a missing or "can't find" a .dll file.

    The other thing i remembered was a virus that was on my Dad's computer that hid a replicator in the D drive. Every time the virus protection would find and remove the virus from the C drive and then reboot, upon rebooting the virus would reappear on the C drive and somehow it would bypass detection ( my guess was that once it got into D drive it protected itself from being detected by turning off the ability to scan that drive. That was when i decided to change out the hard drive. My Dad's Dell came with a half dozen CD's two with MS authentication numbers on them. So after doing heart surgery on it i got this idea to mount the infected hard drive in a USB/FireWire external case and to scan it with my MAC ( thinking that the MAC was not vulnerable to the same virus's that PC's are. i scanned it a dozen different ways but found the virus in the D drive on the first scan. But after running all of the MAC versions of Norton and Malwarebytes, i did a remote scan from Kaspersky. When i was positive that the drive was free of bugs i put it back into the computer it came out of and made it bootable as an alternative drive and updated the new drive to Vista which i am not a big fan of. Probably should have made that new drive a Linux OS.
    In any event, the labor involved in swapping out the drive and scanning it with a different OS, finding and removing the bug was all worth it when i considered all of the time spent trying to fix it the other ways.

    If the garage sale Gateway turns out to be the same or close enough i shouldn't need to install XP over itself right? Of course i need to get into that D drive, scan it, and remove the bug.

    If i get that far i may need your advise on how to get into it (D). Before that last Dr.WEB crash. But as far as i know the D drive has turned into Fort Knox.

    I have a 3 hour block of time that i am setting aside just for that task.

    As soon as i get the info on the new to me Gateway i'll post it here

    Once again i want to thank you for taking the time to analyze all of information about an OS that you haven't used in years. Which is your OS of choice?
  15. johnlgalt

    johnlgalt Antidisestablishmentarian

    Correct, if it is a close enough match, then you can just use it to scan your first drive - as long as the laptop has either 1) a second drive bay, and you have the necessary hardware, or 2) you have a way to connect, by, say, USB, to the laptop to scan.

    As for how to get into D: - the scanner that you use you'll need to change to scan the other 'drives' that it finds (typically, windows will report different partitions as drives, so the 'new' one that you bought probably has a similar setup on its HD, namely a C and D, plus probably an E for the DVD, which would make the partitions on your drive show up when you connect it as F and G.

    As for my OS of choice - toss-up - I love Windows 7 as a M$ OS for the first time in many many years, but I also am in love with the customization ability of *nix. I like Gentoo Linux (you have to be pretty hardcore about customizing to go that route) and Xubuntu for a self- installed *nix).

    Right now, though, I run W7 primarily b/c I haven't had the time to install and configure Linux on this machine in any way, and being a master's student means I probably won't have that time any time soon lol.
  16. If you are going with linux, I would recommend linux mint
  17. kryptonyt

    kryptonyt Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter


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