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Hello. I am attempting to help my mother-in-law with her computer. She was playing a game online and caught some kind of nasty virus (I suspect) and her computer is in the eternal re-boot mode, but not allowing me to go into any of the safe modes. She didn't have any active AV software running that I know of and she doesn't know about malware. I have tried using her xp cd to go into recovery mode, but she can't remember her administrator password (I tried every configuration, upper and lower case and also just leaving the field blank). Next I tried to just do a fresh install of XP, but she hasn't upgraded her memory and there's no room to install (and also, the system is NOT recognizing any previous version of XP - she has XP Home Edition - she probably never put any of the sp's on there either). She only has 256mb SDRAM in her computer and I can upgrade her to two 512mb memory cards, so we have those on order and they should be here by next Thursday (I'm don't think this will help the memory on her hard drive, but it should help her system performance, correct?). I don't know how to partition XP and I would like to not lose any of her memory (she has a bunch of pics and stuff that are not backed up of course...this is such a disaster!).

I now have her system at my house running right next to my computer that also runs XP. I need help! I don't know what to do next. Should I delete/reconfigure the partitions? (The blue screen shows a - partition1 [FAT] 31MB (29MB free) and C: Partition2[NTFS] 19054 MB (605MB free) and unpartitioned space of 8MB. It tells me that windows XP requires 990mb of free disk space. Can I run DOS without starting XP? Any direction to get me going would be most appreciated!

Jill

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Last Post by caperjack
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You could fit a new hard drive and then slave the old one. Deleting partitions will erase all information.

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Using a Linux Live disk (like Knoppix for size value), you should be able to boot off the disk and transfer all the data onto an external drive. Make sure the external device has nothing else important on it, in case of infected files (you can AV them later on.)

Then you can basically bin the old drives and replace with decent sized HDD's (get the highest write speed compatible with the system, as will give performance boost). This will mean getting a new copy of Windows, as sounds like is an OEM machine, Windows actually being stored on hidden partition on the dead drive. Read below for suggestion.


NOW - if you can upgrade to 1GB RAM (even slip in a GeForce vid-card), take a look at Win7. Unlike Vista, Win7 rivals XP for performance, but ups the security levels a mile higher than XP... may take her a little getting used to. Is free until mid-next year, so if you are going to have to get a new Windows anyhow, at least this is one expense that can be held off on.

Also, get a good AV - Avira and Avast both offer very good free AV's; Comodo's free Internet Security bundles AV & Firewall. DON'T BOTHER WITH AVG!

As an extra suggestion, if your mother-in-law doesn't install many apps, I'd suggest setting things up on an Admin account, but then set up her own Standard user account, for extra security. It sounds like you'll be the one cleaning up any messes in in-law makes (god, this brings a sense of Deja Vu), so make life easier for yourself and bullet-proof as much as possible. Also, install Firefox, and HIDE THAT IE ICON!!

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kanielupus,

I am a newbie a fixing computers and this sounds a little overwhelming to me right now, but I'm going to give it a shot. I have already ordered the extra RAM. It should be here by next Thurs. From what I am reading, I also need to get an external hard drive (we need to get one anyway and she does too) and a new hard drive for the computer. It's a Dell and I have the service tag on it, so I should be able to go to the dell website and find out exactly what will fit with this machine via the service tag. Is that correct? I'm thinking I can probably go down to Best Buy or Fry's and get these today...maybe?

Can I install win7 on a clean hd for free? Sounds like that would be great!

I already told her that she needs to not connect via ie, and I was going to install firefox and opera for her. I also installed Avast on my nephew's computer last winter, so I was going to install on hers as well. What is AVG? What's the GeForce video card for?

Thanks for your help.

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I wouldn't install WIN 7 RC just now. In August 2010 you'll have to scrap it, buy the released version and set all your applications up again. Of course when WIN 7 is properly released you'd have to set everything up again anyway. So why do it twice (if at all)?

Hope it doesn't sound patronising, but XP should be all right for the level of use you prose for your mother-in-law. A decent Anti-Virus program is at the core of protection and I always recommend paying for McAfee rather than using the free software.

Using the Windows XP CD, you can run DOS as one of the boot options. When you've got your stuff off, the Windows CD provides all you need to reset Windows from scratch.

Another thing you could do do keep your data is to take the hard disk out, put it onto another machine via a USB enclosure and do the bizzo that way.

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What's the GeForce video card for?

It's what output's the picture to the monitor.

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7 [manufactures]will not have driver for the old machine ,i have tried it on a few different older machines now! my ATI 9200 agp drivers would install but not work ,my soundblaste audigy and wireless device would not function !AVG and Avast would install but not run

also you could slave the mother in-laws hard drive into your computer to copy here pictures and other valuables to your drive and then replace it into here's and format and reload windows xp.
http://free-tips-tricks.blogspot.com/2009/01/how-to-reinstall-windows-xp.html

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7 [manufactures]will not have driver for the old machine ,i have tried it on a few different older machines now! my ATI 9200 agp drivers would install but not work ,my soundblaster audigy and wireless device would not function !AVG and Avast would install but not run

Then why are many successfully running on 7-8 year old machines that Vista couldn't run on?? Just don't rely on the OEM's to supply the drivers.

Soundblaster card - Creative has always been slack in supporting pre-release OS's, but is very possible to get the card functioning in Win7. Follow this guide - proven to work.
ATI - AMD have only recently released drivers for Win7. ATI drivers are another headache for pre-release Windows OS users, but at least this time around they have gotten their act together a little more. These drivers did not exist when Win7 RC1 was first released, but are now ready to roll.
Antivirus - Avast and AVG BOTH work just fine in Win7, but make sure you get the latest releases. For a list of AV's certified by Microsoft as Win7 ready, see here.
Wireless - most of us are seeing wireless out of the box. Now I've already responded to that complaint of yours elsewhere, and advised to make sure you have the latest drivers from manufacturer not the OEM. Also, do not rely on OEM Wireless utilities to be without bugs... best to use Win7 native utilities for that.

I wouldn't install WIN 7 RC just now. In August 2010 you'll have to scrap it, buy the released version and set all your applications up again. Of course when WIN 7 is properly released you'd have to set everything up again anyway. So why do it twice (if at all)?

Which is why I said "at least this is one expense that can be held off on." So why install Win7 first? As mentioned, it saves the cost of buying an OS on top of other expenses. If the mother-in-law doesn't like it, then he can look to buying an XP disk.

Also, it sounds like the in-law doesn't have a clue when it comes to keeping system secure and clean, so Win7 is the better choice from that point of view.

"So why do it twice". No matter what install he uses, he's going to have to re-install EVERYTHING. Also, if virus is at the root of all this, slaving the drive is NOT a good idea. An external drive is easier to isolate till ready to AV scan.

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Then why are many successfully running on 7-8 year old machines that Vista couldn't run on?? Just don't rely on the OEM's to supply the drivers.

Soundblaster card - Creative has always been slack in supporting pre-release OS's, but is very possible to get the card functioning in Win7. Follow this guide - proven to work.
ATI - AMD have only recently released drivers for Win7. ATI drivers are another headache for pre-release Windows OS users, but at least this time around they have gotten their act together a little more. These drivers did not exist when Win7 RC1 was first released, but are now ready to roll.
Antivirus - Avast and AVG BOTH work just fine in Win7, but make sure you get the latest releases. For a list of AV's certified by Microsoft as Win7 ready, see here.
Wireless - most of us are seeing wireless out of the box. Now I've already responded to that complaint of yours elsewhere, and advised to make sure you have the latest drivers from manufacturer not the OEM. Also, do not rely on OEM Wireless utilities to be without bugs... best to use Win7 native utilities for that.

thank you ,will look into links and maybe take more time to get it right ,thanks again

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