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Help! I ran Windows Disk Cleanup and it deleted everything!

by dmorris695 / February 17, 2013 5:08 AM PST

I had Windows XP professional. After running disk cleanup - It wiped out everything. I don't even have windows! I can't boot up - it is asking for the installation disk except I put it in a "safe place" and don't know where it is. My cd drive doesn't work anyway - computer is old. I had a popup that my space was low and it suggested to run the disk cleanup. I clicked ok. After the initial scan - I started it (after looking at the details of each option it suggested). Went to work and when I came home - my desktop was empty except for "my computer" and "recycle bin". Clicked on my computer - there were folders and such but they were all empty. Of course then it got shut-down and now it won't boot up. Could some new virus have done this? What should I do?

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Re: Disk Cleanup
by Kees_B Forum moderator / February 17, 2013 5:19 AM PST

I can assure you that this is a VERY uncommon (if not: unique) happening. So maybe it's some malware (ransomware?) indeed.

What exactly is it asking for now? Please provide all details (a picture of the screen on your favorite photo sharing site would be very nice also) . I've never seen a PC asking for the installation disk.

So it's all very weird. I'd start searching for the Windows and drivers installation disk and another CD drive, because it seems likely you need both of them. But, maybe, this is a good occasion to buy a wonderfully fast and nice new computer.


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Re: Disk Cleanup
by dmorris695 / February 17, 2013 7:13 AM PST
In reply to: Re: Disk Cleanup

Thanks for the response.

It didn't ask specifically for the installation disk. Before I restarted by computer - there was a message that a file could not be found or it was corrupted and it wanted me at that time to insert the disk.

Now upon startup I get the following message:

"Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt:
<Windows root>\system32\hal.dll.
Please re-install a copy of the above file."

I wish I hadn't tried to restart. Somehow my empty desktop made me feel better than now. I wish I had gone to the command prompt to see if any files showed up there.

Thanks again!

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Re: hal missing
by Kees_B Forum moderator / February 17, 2013 4:28 PM PST
In reply to: Re: Disk Cleanup

The common cure, as shown by requires you to have your XP disk and a working cd drive. But any XP disk of the same type (Home, Pro, Media) and the right language should do.

Still, it's not clear what happened with that disk cleanup (it shouldn't delete hal,dll) nor if it maybe is caused by malware.


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Exact same problem cont
by BasilPitt / April 21, 2013 10:22 AM PDT
In reply to: Re: hal missing

Hi, while trying to speed up a friends (old) laptop, the same thing happened.
After copying over the hal.dll from a win xp cd, another file reported as missing.

When I started to track down that file, I found that 95% of the data had been wiped from the drive.
With Windows Recovery I was able to poke around a little but didn't get much further.

Any chance there's a way to recover them?



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After copying over the hal.dll
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 21, 2013 11:41 AM PDT

Ouch. I rarely see that work and it can corrupt the drive royally as XP, XP SP1 and others all differ with the original not supporting drives over 127GB.

For such deep damage I have to give the nod to

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Cont -
by BasilPitt / April 21, 2013 4:21 PM PDT

Hopefully this might help - It's Win XP SP 2.
The drive is quite small (55GB)

Any ideas?


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