Helping someone fix their Windows computer?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by RedCroissant, Feb 1, 2013.

  1. RedCroissant Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    Hi everyone. I am trying to help someone fix their Windows computer(it's a Dell de051 tower) and according to them, they got a virus which caused the computer to crash. They also claim that it is the fbi virus and their machine does not boot up.

    Now, they do have a usb port and I would like to help them but not sure if I am able to do so.

    What I have to help:

    1. XP SP2 installation disc(retail version)
    2. external HDD docking station
    3. iBook G4
    4. 8GB flash drive

    Does anyone know if I can boot that old PC into a form of TDM to reformat the HDD, boot the machine from the 8GB usb, then load the OS onto the original HDD to save the computer? Thank you in advance for any assistance.
  2. Intell macrumors P6


    Jan 24, 2010
    Pull the drive, backup the data, put the drive back in, wipe the drive, reinstall XP, put on some form of antivirus. Windows machines lack Target Disk Mode.
  3. Stooby Mcdoobie macrumors 6502a

    Stooby Mcdoobie

    Jun 26, 2012
    You can boot from the installation disc by entering the boot menu (should be one of the F keys during boot up) or changing the boot order in the BIOS. From there, you can erase the HDD and reinstall Windows.
  4. RedCroissant thread starter Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    So I guess using the external HDD docking station would be good for that. Should I back up the data if there's a virus on the drive? I know that they lack TDM, but I was hoping for something similar

    Yeah, the only problem with that that I forgot to mention was the fact that their ODD isn't working either.

    So what I was planning to do was burn the DVD into a bootable .iso file to boot the machine via usb. Or does that just not make sense?
  5. WhiteIphone5 macrumors 65816


    May 27, 2011
    Lima, Peru
    F2 for Bios, change order using +,- boot from USB and it may ask to press any key to boot from USB then proceed with installation i believe.
  6. Stooby Mcdoobie macrumors 6502a

    Stooby Mcdoobie

    Jun 26, 2012
    You could back up his/her data to a separate drive if there are important files, then scan its contents for malware later on (I would do this in safe mode).

    Microsoft has a bootable Windows USB creation tool, but I'm not sure it will work with an XP disc image. I've used WintoFlash a few times and it works wonderfully. Only problem is you'll need a separate Windows machine (physical or virtual) to use it.
  7. carbonmotion macrumors 6502a


    Jan 28, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    You can try using a linux based bootable USB anti-virus cleaner to clean out the computer. You might be able to avoid a reformat, there might even be a free version of this genre of boot disk somewhere out there.
  8. RedCroissant thread starter Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    What if the person had an external dvd burner?
  9. Stooby Mcdoobie macrumors 6502a

    Stooby Mcdoobie

    Jun 26, 2012
    I'm honestly not sure. I've personally never tried to install Windows from an external disc drive, but it's worth a try if you've got one lying around.
  10. RedCroissant thread starter Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    Well I've decided that I don't have the right tools to help them, so I let them know and that's that.

    I'll tell you what though, even discussing this at all has made me realize again how great it is to have a Mac.
  11. hallux macrumors 68020


    Apr 25, 2012
    Don't have all the tools you need? Boot the machine to Safe Mode (press F8 after the BIOS but before the Windows splash screen) and copy all the files needed. Once all the files are backed up, put in the XP CD and boot to it to reinstall Windows.

    Where did you get the idea you needed to put the Windows installation onto the flash drive? Sure, it may save time during the installation but that time gets consumed with turning it into a bootable USB flash drive.
  12. g4 powerbookboy macrumors regular

    Aug 10, 2010
    try malware bytes, it is a decent virus removal software for windows crap boxes, if that doesnt work convince them to get a Mac
  13. RedCroissant thread starter Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    The reason I needed to put it on a flash drive is because the ODD is broken. They also don't have a copy of XP(so I would have had to relinquish mine which I still need for the occasional IE requirement for school).


    I would consider that if they weren't already reliant on an 8 year-old PC and could afford a Mac of any kind. And I am in no position to give them one(even though I would if it would help).
  14. malman89 macrumors 68000

    May 29, 2011
    Might not be applicable for this situation, but due to an incredibly pesky set of trojans my father got on his Windows computer, I settled on Avast due to its nifty boot scan.

    That feature alone made me switch by Bootcamp antivirus from AVG Free to Avast.
  15. RedCroissant thread starter Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    The main "trick" that I use to prevent trojans(even though I don't know where they are) is that I limit the sites that I visit while using XP. For IE, I only visit websites associated with school. Otherwise, I use firefox for finding and downloading programs/applications. And even then I stick to very well-known and reputable sites(CNET, MacUpdate, Macworld...etc).

    This way, AVG is still good, and doesn't take up too many resources.

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