So Your Computer Has a Virus...

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Your Computer has a Virus, Now What?

Some viruses for Windows computers are low level, meaning they can be easily fixed and removed using a virus scanning software like Malwarebytes. However, there are many viruses, including one called a "rootkit virus" that damages Windows in a way that is difficult/impossible to repair. In these situations, we recommend that users back up their data and reformat their computer, both of which can be done for you at the helpdesk.

Backing up your Data

When someone reformats their computer, all the data is gone and wiped. It is essentially amnesia for the computer because it will remember nothing. By backing up your important data, you can easily move it from your computer, to a hard drive, to your new reformatted computer.

Some users choose to buy external hard drives to hold a back up of their data, these can be purchased at Ram Computers, Staples, Walmart, Amazon, ect. and cost around $30-$50+ (depending on the size). If you do not feel comfortable backing up your hard drive on your own you can set up a Virus clinic here at the helpdesk and a consultant will assist you with it.

When purchasing an external drive you may want to consider what you want to back up, and the size of the files.

  • Music/Itunes library
  • Documents
  • Pictures
  • Game Save Files
  • Videos and Movies
  • Users Folder
  • .pst and Outlook Files

Part of backing up your data is getting the Product Keys from your programs and your Operating System. You can use your backup CDs from home, or choose to use a program like
Belarc Advisor which gives you a print out of all the product keys. These keys will help ensure you don't lose any of your programs. A helpdesk consultant can help you reinstall any programs using these keys.

Reformatting

Reformatting means starting from Ground 0. It's like your computer is brand new. Luckily, this is really easy.

1 Let Windows start normally, and insert the installation disk into the CD drive, and shut down the computer.

2. Restart and use F2 to go to the BIOS menu. In that menu change the computer to boot to the CD/DVD drive first. Save changes and exit.

3. A page should pop up that says "Install Windows" and then click English and then "Next". Here you will be prompted to accept the license terms of Windows. You must accept them in order to reinstall windows.

4. A page will pop up and ask "Which type of installation do you want?" In the scroll down window click "Custom"

5. Next, a page saying "Where do you want to install Windows?" Click "Drive Options (advanced)". Here you want to click the partition you want to reformat. Most likely this will be your C: Drive, click the formatting option you want to preform, then follow the onscreen instructions.

Note. This will completely wipe your drive. If you have any questions at all about which drive to reformat, please come into the Help Desk.

6. Once your drive is finished formatting, click Next, and then follow the onscreen instructions to finish installing Windows. Here you will create your user accounts, and name your computer among other things.

Formatting

Windows Computers Can Format Drives within the operating system itself. This is useful for freeing up space on the drive, or dual booting a second operating system. In Windows you have two main choices of file systems to choose from NTFS and FAT32

  • NTFS: All newer Windows computers will be based on NTFS by default, and it is the preferred file systems for all Windows Operating Systems after Windows 2000.
  • FAT32: Is a type of file system that is used by older windows operating systems, and can be read by Mac OSX. Many users choose to format external hard drives as a FAT32 type, so that both Windows and Mac Computers can read and write files to it.

Formatting a NTFS drive.

1. Right click on Computer and select "Manage". In the left hand pane under "Storage", select "Disk Management".

2. Find the mounted dive in the lower pane. Right click the drive and under the menu click "New Partition". It will ask you for a list of properties for the new partition. You want them to look as follows.

  • Format as NTFS
  • Primary Partition
  • Assign a drive letter ( any unused one of your choice)

3. Right click "Safely Remove Hardware" icon in the taskbar before physically disconnecting the drive. This will prevent any damage to the drive.


Formatting a FAT32 drive
1. Right click on Computer and select "Manage". In the left hand pane under "Storage", select "Disk Management".

2. Find the mounted dive in the lower pane. Right click the drive and under the menu click "New Partition". It will ask you for a list of properties for the new partition. You want them to look as follows.

  • Format as FAT32
  • Primary Partition
  • Assign a drive letter ( any unused one of your choice)

3. Right click "Safely Remove Hardware" icon in the taskbar before physically disconnecting the drive. This will prevent any damage to the drive.

Note. Newer versions of Windows will not format media larger than 32 GB as any other file system than NTFS. Users who wish to format larger drives as FAT32 must either use a different operating system (Mac OSX or Linux) or may use a third-party application for Windows.