Windows Legacy OS forum


I have 2 active Partitions, what can i do?

by roondog / May 4, 2012 6:42 AM PDT

I am in desperate need of help. I have a Dell tower system running on Windows XP. I have kept it updated, over the years. I was on-line and got a popup from S.M.A.R.T. it just started running and told me I had problems with my computer. I didn't think it would be the problem and cause harm to my computer. While doing some research found this to be a Trojan virus. I restarted my computer and was able to launch Ad-Aware before the S.M.A.R.T. file blocked it. I ran a full scan; Ad-Aware warned me I have a Trojan virus on my computer. I used Ad-Aware to remove the virus. Now when I start my computer the first thing that comes up is 2 active partitions. When I press enter then I see No boot device available - strike F1 to retry boot, F2 for setup utility. I'm afraid when I removed the virus it took the hard drive with it. Is there anything I can do? The computer is old but has serviced me well. I use it to pay bills, read e-mails and surf the internet. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I don't have a restore disk or created a boot disk. Please help.
I have read many forums in the past; this is the first time I ever posted on one. Also this is my first virus. I have had to do a full restore in the past because something has gotten on my computer, but nothing ever like this before.

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All Answers

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It doesn't look hopeful.
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / May 4, 2012 6:54 AM PDT

That S.M.A.R.T. error message was telling you it had detected problems with your hard drive.

What are the exact messages you see when you now boot up?

I would say that the BIOS cannot find a hard drive, but you saying something about 2 active partitions is confusing. The BIOS POST does not recognise partitions, only hard drives.

When you press F2 to enter the BIOS Setup, does it show any hard drives present? If so, does it show the hard drive under Boot Priority, (Boot order or similar)?

If the BIOS does not pick up the hard drive then it looks like the drive has failed.


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by Jimmy Greystone / May 4, 2012 7:04 AM PDT

Well, first off SMART is a function built into HDDs that is designed to predict when they are about to fail and give you some warning. At least that's the theory. Having worked as a hardware tech for a few years, I can probably still count on fingers and toes the number of times a drive failed SMART testing that I replaced out of probably hundreds of drives replaced.

So it's not out of the question that what happened is you suffered a HDD failure, and the malware was just coincidental. Indeed the error message you see is not one saying you have two active partitions (which is impossible), it is saying it cannot find the files needed to boot the OS, and so do you want to try again or fiddle with BIOS settings. It would be perfectly consistent with a failed HDD.

It would also be helpful if you knew what it was AdAware said you had, but boot sector viruses are exceedingly rare these days. One of the hidden benefits, long-term anyway, with XP being from the NT family of Windows, is that only a very select few programs can access the hardware directly. That makes it much harder for someone to write an effective MBR virus. The more work required the lower the reward is relative to the amount of work, so fewer people bother when they can practically sneeze out some malware for IE that'll infect thousands of people a day. So while it's not out of the question, it's unusual for malware to take out the boot sector of a drive.

Based on your description of events, I'd say the far more likely scenario is that your HDD died. The fact that it's an older system just makes it all the more likely. If you still have the blue drivers and applications CD that came with your computer, put that in. There's a diagnostic program on there as well you can boot from. I'll bet if you run the express tests (takes 10-15 minutes tops) it'll tell you you have a bad HDD.

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Adaware is pretty dated.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 4, 2012 7:24 AM PDT

While the SMART failure is something to deal with on its own, I think the cheap exit is to pop in a new drive, take the old one into some USB case if you forgot to backup.

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