On Sun, 19 Jun 2011 10:49:28 +0100, Tim Watts wrote:
You will almost certainly have to go through the Windows Update loop
several times. I reinstalled SWMBO'd Vista machine the other month as
it threw a wobbly with some updates and refused to apply some.
Windows Update support couldn't sort it out and it came down to a
reinstall. Be aware that if the orginal disc/recovery partition is
old the updates will pull down around a Gigabyte of data and it will
take the best part of a day.
Even more annoyingly the first run will find 50 or 60 to apply,
totaling sevral hundred MB, then on the second or third pass through
the loop it will find a Vista Cumulative Update again several hundred
MB. WTF doesn't it find that first! Oh and after that there is
probably a "service pack" again several hundred MB...
Why paid for? Avast! works well enough here (free for home use). AVG
Free seems to have got sensible again after it became slow and
insisted on downloading all pages related to search results.
I've had good results with Microsoft Security Essentials on WinXP and
Win7, it seems to be pretty unobtrusive (why do all AV products have to
turn into bloatware every few years?) it usually get updates several
times a day, and is free.
You could argue it is trusting the poacher to act as the gamekeeper, but
so far, I've no complaints in using it, oh ... except that it won't
update its definitions through a proxy server, but even then Windows
Update seems to fetch the definitions on its behalf, just not so frequently.
You will find that some patches require earlier ones to be installed first
and many more are to correct the new bugs introduced by earlier bug fixes.
You can also use 'Nlite' with your original Windows disk and a downloaded
copy of the most recent service pack to "slipstream" them into a disk that
installs the latest version. That drastically cuts down the updating
http://www.nliteos.com/download.html (ignore the big ad in the middle of the
Having said that, it is worth checking your ISP and/or bank. many now give
away the paid for versions with free licences. E.g. Barclays give out
Kaspersky Internet Security with three free licences to their online
customers and HSBC also have an offering.
Knoppix Linux can also be downloaded for free (on a borrowed computer)
and burnt to a bootable CD, though latest versions need a DVD. When
run from a CD it can't do any further corruption of your HD files but
with a bit of luck will read them off.
Alternatively take HDD out of the computer and plug it into a USB
adaptor gadget, such as Maplin sell, plug this into the USB port of a
borrowed computer, run Windows file recovery program on 2nd computer.
Many of these disk adaptor gadgets only work with SATA drives these
days (even if they do claim IDE compatibility).
Better still, before starting, make a bit image of the whole corrupted
HDD onto a 2nd drive to analyse at leisure with no risk.
Take the hard drive out and connect it to another machine as a secondary
If the drive is working you should be able to recover all the files. It may
only be the operating system that is corrupt and preventing you from
accessing the data.
And if it's a secondary disk on windows you will probably need to run
'Disk Management' (found under administrative tools, computer
management on vista) to make the disk show up. I know of one person
who almost wrote off thier data when one shop pronounced the disk as
dead when it didn't show up under windows initially
There's a lot of technically correct, but practically dubious advice
being given, considering that normal people don't know much about the
workings of a PC ... especially being thrown in at the deep end when
there's already a problem.
Such as if the virus had dropped an autorun.inf file onto the root of
the system volume ... or infected a few .doc files with macros, which
someone then opens to check if they're the ones they want to recover?
You assume the virus protection on the second machine is better than the
original machine ...
I have back ups of most documents. Its the loss of all my music files and
all my e mails and connections thats the problem. Something like going back
to 2008. Its also the loss of the software ( it was a media centre and I
don't have any of the disks for it. As I said it was a one off installation
On the email note - next time, do NOT use POP as your mail conection, use
POP relies on downloading the email to your PC. IMAP keeps it on the server,
nicely organised into folders the way you want. a) You can point a phone or
Pad at the same IMAP server from anywhere and see yoru email; b) When this
happens, you don't lose your email (unless the virus was a nasty one
specifically designed to destroy remote mail via outlook).
Most pop3 email progs allow you to change the location of the storage
folder. I always put mine in a folder within My Documents; that way they
get backed up with everything else. I can also highly recommend this free
backup program written by a guy at Kiel University. I have used it for
some time and find it indispensable. The only point is that, in the task
settings, you should set timeout to zero, otherwise large files will timeout
unnecessarily. Here is a link:
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