Spyware, Viruses, & Security

Alert

Email phishing scam seems to have killed my computer

by boatmonkey / November 2, 2011 12:30 AM PDT

I have a Dell 3000 computer about 5 years old, 35GB hard drive, CD-rom, over 2 gb memory, running Windows XP with all of the service packs and other updates installed. I believe a fake "Hotmail Update notification" that I opened, which was a phishing scam, also contained a virus that wiped out the "boot.ini" and "HAL.DLL" files on my computer hard drive and made it impossible to boot my computer without re-installing Windows. IT GOT PAST 3 SEPARATE ANTI-VIRUS AND ANTI-MALWARE programs on my computer. They are AVAST! (updated minutes before the computer crashed), Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and Windows Security Essentials Anti-virus.The computer absolutely will not boot "normally". I can get to Safe mode, but nothing that is offered (except booting from a CD) works on this problem. It seems that these two files are the first two accessed by the computer when it boots and, of course, I can't get past them. I was able to use another computer and Windows XP-SP2 install disks to build a bootable CD using a program called BartPE. I can boot with this from my CD, but have limited access. I can copy some files, but cannot change anything in Windows and cannot get to the Windows Restore to try it. I can't find any "BOOT.INI" file, and tried copying HAL.DLL from the Windows/i386 file to the Windows/system32 file, but had no luck. It looks like I am facing either re-installing Windows (and losing all my files) or buying another hard drive and trying to transfer at least some of my files. I am buying another, larger hard drive, but if anyone has any ideas how else to get around this, I need to know ASAP. This computer is critical to my business..

Post a reply
Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: Email phishing scam seems to have killed my computer
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: Email phishing scam seems to have killed my computer
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Collapse -
If You've Got A Windows XP CD...
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / November 2, 2011 1:29 AM PDT
Collapse -
Thanks
by boatmonkey / November 2, 2011 3:04 AM PDT

I'll try what you suggest and let you know how it turns out.

Collapse -
An added note worth considering when the dust settles..
by Carol~ Forum moderator / November 2, 2011 3:35 AM PDT

Only an added note, worth considering when the dust settles.

With both Avast and Microsoft Security Essentials installed (and both competing for exclusivity), you run the risk of conflicts which may cause crashes, slow performance, wasted resources, false positives and over all instability.

I would highly recommend uninstalling one of the two. More is not better, in the case of A/V software. If you should choose to keep MSE, read what Microsoft has to say about the above (#3).

"Checklist for installing Microsoft Security Essentials"

Best of luck..
Carol

Popular Forums
icon
Computer Help 47,885 discussions
icon
Computer Newbies 10,322 discussions
icon
iPhones, iPods, & iPads 3,188 discussions
icon
Security 30,333 discussions
icon
TVs & Home Theaters 20,177 discussions
icon
HDTV Picture Setting 1,932 discussions
icon
Phones 15,713 discussions
icon
Windows 7 6,210 discussions
icon
Networking & Wireless 14,510 discussions

Tech Tip

Tired of your tricky Wi-Fi password?

Stop trying to memorize a complicated sequence of numbers and letters. Learn how to change the default password.