NEED TO RESTORE TO SPEED COMPUTER BACK UP BUT CAN'T DUE TO VIRUSEs

DaWalrus

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(GO TO THE UNDERLINED PART FOR THE ACTUAL QUESTION. EVERYTHING ELSE IS BACKGROUND INFO.)

Hi everyone. I have a question about some problems I've been having.
I recently got assaulted by an onslaught of viruses, everything from trojans to adware to spyware. Around 200+ viruses. I upgraded all my drivers with these viruses on my computer. By all my drivers, I mean practically everything. It was all horribly out of date. Anyways, after this my computer became extremely sluggish. For example, it flat out doesn't load "my computer", (it loads for a while then just stops), when I try to look at my pictures it doesn't show the picture preview, only the default picture, and everything is just overall slow. Apps were crashing due to my computer being too slow. I cannot use my computer like this. So I wrote it off as being viruses, and sure enough I had viruses on my computer. I spent so long recovering my computer, but I believe I got rid of all the spam. However, my computer is still super slow. It's not different. So this leads me to believe one of two things:
1. I still have a virus that's causing this.
2. Upgrading my drivers slowed down my computer.
So I need to do a bit of troubleshooting. I want to go from a restore point before I updated my drivers. I have a restore point that would work. However, I am concerned that doing so would restore the viruses as well, and I do not want to do that for sure. I believe I could remove them again, but you have no idea how long it took. And that's assuming if I can actually delete them all again. Anything could go wrong.
So here's my question: Would going back to before I updated my drivers using a restore point while I had viruses on my computer restore the viruses and the old drivers, or just the old drivers?
 

techgeek

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The simplest solution here is to back up your data, hopefully your virus doesn't infect the back up, and nuke your HDD from orbit. Meaning do a complete wipe of your system and re-install Windows.

You can spend more time trying to troubleshoot this problem than it will take you to do the above, and in the end you would have to do it anyway.

If you go this route, when you have everything installed, updated, blah, blah, blah, take an image of it and keep it just in case something like this happens again. Restoring an image is much quicker than re-installing everything.
 

techgeek

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The simplest solution here is to back up your data, hopefully your virus doesn't infect the back up, and nuke your HDD from orbit. Meaning do a complete wipe of your system and re-install Windows.

You can spend more time trying to troubleshoot this problem than it will take you to do the above, and in the end you would have to do it anyway.

If you go this route, when you have everything installed, updated, blah, blah, blah, take an image of it and keep it just in case something like this happens again. Restoring an image is much quicker than re-installing everything.
 

DaWalrus

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I've considered this, but to me it's kind a last resort. I mean, I could back up my documents and pictures and such, but then I would have to redownload all my games and such. And I have really limited internet. Not enough to restore it. It would probably take about a year to completely get back to where I was. And that's not even factoring in the non-game programs that I would need to reinstall. So, like I said, it's a last resort.
However, with Windows 10 coming out soon, it may be a bit nice to just start over new with a shiny new OS. Do you really think this is the right route to go?
 

techgeek

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Well from your first post, it really sounds like your OS could be badly trashed. You might get if "working" but it's never going to be perfect.

As for Windows 10, I was going to mention that. However with the problems you have described, doing the upgrade might do more harm than good. You didn't mention which version of Windows your are using, but if you have Windows 7/ 8.x, then you get a free upgrade. Because of how MicroSoft is distributing Windows 10, you have to go the upgrade route, no option to do a clean install to start.

My plan is make my backups, install the upgrade, download the ISO for Windows 10 and then do a clean install. In my experience it's always better to do a clean install.

So you could take the same route and backup your data (advisable either way), then perform the upgrade, then wipe your drive and do a clean install.
 

techgeek

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The reason I'm suggesting the clean install option is that many viruses will tuck themselves away into the System Volume Information where your restore points are kept. So often viruses will get restored along with your drivers, settings, etc. If your antivirus cleaned the viruses from System Volume Information, then it's likely your system restore points are not complete.
 

DaWalrus

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Well, actually, my OS was really badly trashed. About two or three weeks ago it completely got corrupted and broken. I had to use my installation media to reinstall it. This allowed me to save my old stuff in windows.old, and restore my OS. I have Windows 7 Ultimate. I used to have Windows 7 Home Premium, but I figured why not upgrade while I'm at it? The sad part is that I used to have a 64 bit version and now I have a 32 bit version. I have 4 GB of RAM, but can only use 3 GB of it due to this. It's a real shame. I know this is off topic, but I'm just curious. Would Windows 10 allow me to use all my RAM?
So basically backup whatever I want, go on and format my hard drive, then install 10? Also, would I have to reinstall 7 in order to get 10 first?
I think it may be nice to start over new with my PC too. I plan on upgrading my PSU and graphics card, so just starting over with a great new OS and all these gaming capabilities sounds really nice. I've had so many problems with 7, (fixed most of them but still), and so it does sound good to move on to something new.
 

techgeek

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The issue with upgrading your present OS to Windows 10 is the first install has to be an upgrade, it won't allow you to do a clean install. Since the OS you have right now is 32 bit, it'll upgrade it to Windows 10 32 bit. Which of course will leave you in the same position. So to avoid this, you'll need to install Windows 7 64 bit, so that when you upgrade, you will get upgraded with a 64 bit version of Windows 10.

This just keeps getting more complicated. Viruses, I'd say a more conservative approach to using the internet is required in the future.

If you are starting fresh with a new system, that gives you the most options I guess. However technically then you will have to buy Windows 10 assuming you have an OEM version of Windows 7 due to the licensing agreement which ties it to your motherboard.
 

DaWalrus

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The weird part about the viruses was their origins. I had an issue on my computer that my friend, who's a professional tech guy, said he could fix with this one program. Except, he sent me a link to a website that hosted the program, but unbeknownst to him it was infested with viruses. So I downloaded it like he said to and look what happened. So basically, my point is that it wasn't my fault when I got them. He sent me an infected program on accident. I've only had one virus before aside from all these, and that was a level one threat adware or something. AVG removed it almost instantly. I'm careful on the web, believe me.
I'm not sure what you mean about "Buying windows 10". It's free, but you say I have to buy it. I'm a bit confused.
And one more thing. Good news, my computer's sped way up. I think it's like it was before. So I don't think I'll have to restore after all.

 

DaWalrus

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Okay, so I decided to go through with what you suggested. I'm working on backing up everything and such. Thanks for your help.
 

techgeek

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No problem.

Had this been a single virus, or even just a few, we could have probably salvaged your install. However from you description, even if we were able to get rid of all the viruses, I think you'd have been left with a very slow, compromised OS.

Going this route should give your system a new lease on life. Most systems will never be as fast as they are immediately following a fresh Windows install. Good luck and let us know how you made out.
 

DaWalrus

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Yeah, I'll let you know how it turns out. It's gonna' be a bit before I actually get everything prepared and set up. But in the meantime let's hope it works. Thanks again.
 

DaWalrus

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Hey, just wanted to tell you I finally reinstalled Windows. I wiped my hard drive and reinstalled Windows 7 64-Bit. I didn't do Windows 10 because I've heard there's a lot of bugs and privacy issues. I know they can be turned off but still. Also, I don't believe my RAM is quite up to par with Windows 10. As a gamer too, there's been a lot of people talking about how they've had their games not work after upgrading. My plan is to just wait until they iron out the bad bugs. Anyways though, I've got no viruses and it's working great. I still have some nasty bugs that I've had for a while, (working on getting those fixed on another thread). I think my RAM may be messed up... Ohhh man, I have such a love/hate relationship with my PC... XD
Anyways, thanks for your help. Your persuasion I guess you could say "helped me see the light" to put it dramatically. Thanks!
 

techgeek

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It's good to hear that you managed to get you system sorted out.

You think your RAM is messed up? How so? Are you getting random BSOD'ing? Lockups, etc?

Have you tried to run Memtest?
 

DaWalrus

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Well, for a long time I've had random BSODs, restarts, freezes, all sorts of things of that ilk. The weird part about it is that it's completely inconsistent. I can't say that "When I do this, it freezes". It just does it absolutely at random. Even worse is the fact that the BSOD error messages seem inconsistent as well. What leads me to believe that my RAM is likely the cause is that error messages including stuff about my RAM seem to be a recurring trend in the BSODs. I opened up my PC to take a peek at it, and they physically look OK, nothing out of the ordinary. I didn't touch them since I wasn't grounded at the time, so they may not have been fully in... Now that I think of it, I should probably make sure those are fully in first... Genius! XD
On my other thread that I told you about, the guy I was talking to mentioned Memtest and told me to run it. I'm working on getting it on a USB. The only issue is that I don't have a blank USB, which is required. I tried putting it on a disk but failed miserably, so I'm just gonna deal with a USB. I used all my USBs for backup on my computer, so I need to remove that stuff, put Memtest on, then put those things back on.
I'm honestly hoping it's my RAM kind of. I mean, it is a bad computer part, which is never fun, but it'd give me an excuse to upgrade it. I have 2 slots with RAM cards totaling up to 4 GB of RAM, which isn't exactly sufficient for what I'm looking to do with my computer. I'm looking into building a good gaming rig, so 4 GB is the bare minimum for stuff like this. It's also pretty easy and cheap to replace I've heard.
 

techgeek

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Can you provide a link to the other thread you have going? I wouldn't mind poking in there.

As in general, random crashing, BSOD's with various codes are often RAM related. Memtest should suss those sort of issues out. I've had a few cases where I had a bad stick of RAM that was causing issues and Memtest was able to find the problem. Just make sure that you run it for a few hours at least. In one instance I had to run it overnight, the bad stick didn't start producing errors until after 4 hours of testing. Once it did start producing errors, it was consistent. Once I RMA'd the RAM, my problems with random lockups, reboots, and BSOD's were gone.

I've also seen stuff like you are describing as a result of bad motherboards, or more specifically older motherboards with failing electrolytic capacitors. As the caps fail, power on the motherboard is less stable.

Also PSU's can cause issues, though those are more likely to cause random shutdowns and reboots. However if the power supply is borderline, and you are stressing your system, it can cause BSOD's as well.
 

DaWalrus

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Sorry for the long wait before I responded. Something came up that ended taking up a few days...
Anyways, I'll run Memtest in a day or so. I'll be away from my PC for a long time, like a couple of days, so I'll just let it run. That should give it ample time to detect issues.
Also, what does "RMA" mean?
I hope it's not my motherboard. That would be absolutely horrible to replace. Not that I couldn't, but to replace it you have to pull out everything else as well. that and I've heard that they're pretty expensive.
Oh, and here's the other forum page. It's pretty much what you told me, run memtest for a while to check your ram:

http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/answers/id-2770172/restar...

Oh, and thanks for helping me out beyond my initial question. Most people just abandon the thread once their starting problem was fixed. Yet you continue helping me. Thanks for that.
 

techgeek

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Yeah no problem. If you keep posting, I'll keep getting updates, so I'll help out as best I can. Also no problem on the length of time to respond, I assume that people have lives outside of their computer problems, so they get to it when they get to it.

As for RMA, it stands for Returned Merchandise Authorization. Any time you return something to the manufacturer or reseller under warranty, they will give you an RMA number. This is how they track returned products. If it is your RAM, then you will likely be able to RMA it since most manufacturers cover their RAM with a lifetime warranty.

I certainly hope that it's the RAM as well, mostly because like I said above, the manufacturer will likely replace it free of charge, well you'll likely have to ship it to them on your dime. Changing out a motherboard can be a real hassle unless you get the exact same model. It will force you to reinstall Windows (the preferred practice) and will likely cause an activation problem when you re-install it. The physical act of changing it isn't that big a deal though, it's everything afterwards that's the pain. As for expensive, well that all depends on how much you want to spend. You didn't give any system specs, so it's hard to give you a price range. We can get to that if it starts to look like you motherboard.

As for the link you supplied, it returns a 404 error, so I wasn't able to look at it.




 

DaWalrus

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Jul 5, 2015
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Hm, that's odd. I see what you mean... It cuts off the URL. I tried copying it back in but it does the same thing. Sorry for this here, but I think this is the only way to do this. Combine these two bits of the URL:

http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/answers/id-2770172/
restarts-freezes-bsods-idea.html#xtor=EPR-8809

You also said that you didn't have my system specs here they are:

Gateway GT5678 Computer
ATI Radeon HD 2400XT Graphics Card
400 W PSU
Intel Core 2 Q6600 Quad-Core Processor
Windows 7 Ultimate Service Pack 1

It's not very new... I'm not surprised it's messing up now, to be honest. But hey, it's mine. I'd get a new one if I could afford it, but the best thing I can do for now is try and fix it.
I'm thinking that if it is the RAM that I'm just gonna get some better cards. This of course would make me purchase it, but it'd be a good investment I think... I only have 4 GB of RAM total, so two 2 GB RAM cards I believe, so it'd be very good to upgrade the RAM. Especially considering how I'm planning on upgrading my PC. A friend of mine told me that 8 GB of RAM is pretty good for today. Is he right?
EDIT: Well, that is, 8 GB is good for a good gaming PC, right?
Oh, and something that I need cleared up. RAM isn't dependent on anything but your motherboard, right? Like, how many slots the motherboard has. The amount of RAM you can have is only affected by your budget and amount of motherboard slots, am I right?
 

DaWalrus

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Okay, I'm about to start running the test. Just wondering, do I have to set it to run for a certain time or will it just go until you stop it?
 

DaWalrus

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Okay, so I ran MemTest. It came out with 645 errors by the time I stopped it. I ran it overnight and for most of the next day. I was curious if that was a lot, so I looked it up. Some people said that they had hundreds of thousands of errors turn up. So mine must not be THAT busted. However, I also read from a lot of people that one error is too many and that there shouldn't be any errors with RAM at all. So I researched into ram. There's a website, crucial.com, that has a scanner that will tell you any and all compatible RAM updates. All the ones they listed are sure to work. So I compared them all, all around the same price, and I finally found one that seemed to be the best for me. Sadly, 4 GB is my RAM max, but my RAM is slow. Very slow. I wasn't sure what the average was, but it turns out that mine clocks in at like 300 MHz, (I believe that is the correct abbreviation). So compared to all these ones that are the standard stuff that clock in at like 600 or 800 MHz, mine is terrible. So I found one RAM kit, very high ratings, 4 GB 800 MHz. It should fix my errors and speed up my PC. It's coming in the mail. So thanks again for leading me in the right direction!
 
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