Virus infection & Formatting WinXP HDD

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by mgookin, Jul 20, 2009.

  1. Friend came to me with a laptop with an apparent virus or other defect on it. Attempts to use System Restore in both regular and Safe Mode were unsucessful after hours of attempts. It will boot but not do anything. It does not respond to commands other then I can get Task Mgr going which shows no abnormal demand on the system. I asked if there was anything critical on it and the answer was no so we're using the Dell reinstall disc to reinstall the OS.

    Here's a problem which arose...

    At the install page where it asks which partition we want to format and install the OS on, it listed three partitions.

    The first partition is named "-" and that's it, just a dash. The size is like 47 mb with 7 mb free.

    The second partition is named "C:" and it's the 80gb or whatever size it is.

    The third partition is named "D:" and it's another tiny partition of something like 50mb or so with a few mb free.

    We told it to format (long not quick) the C: drive and we left to go get some nice ribeyes. We came back an hour later and it was at 19% formatted; seemed normal to us. We spent about 2 hours having a nice meal and came back to the pc. Still at 19%. So I went through the same process again and turned on a movie. After the movie it was at 19%. I gave it another hour and it was at 19% so I said let's let it sit like that overnight and see where it is in the am. It's now at 38%. This is very abnormal.

    Sure it's possible the HDD is toast.

    But how about those weird partitions? Any chance the "-" partition is a virus? What on earth could that "-" partition be?

    And what would that "D" partition be? It does not show up under My Computer.

    Thanks in advance for opinions on this.
  2. If you haven't already, suggest you "delete all partitions".. one at a time. Then establish a new partition.

    I use only 1 partition on my HDDs. The Dell disk sets aside an 8GB space... I believe it's for a "restoration partition" if one is to be used. I disregard it and just consider it wasted space on the HDD.

    If the partition process hangs for a long time, it likely means the sytem is having a difficult time reading something... which could mean that the HDD needs to be replaced.

    Wouln't worry about a virus during format. A virus usually needs an OS to run, and you don't have one installed.
  3. Great advice. I was going to delete the "-" partition but I like your idea better.

  4. GTS


  5. gfacap_jg


    Before you delete the partions consider that they could hold system software. Certainly this is the case on my Sony VAIO. Certain critical drivers are stored ready for installation following a clean install.
  6. After many failed attempts to format and reinstall I have discovered via a system diagnostic that the HDD is failed. We'll be installing a new HDD and getting underway soon. Seems there never was a virus.

    Many thanks to all who contributed.
  7. nkhoi

    nkhoi Moderator