Is a full format necessary with SpinRite?

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Offline Truthblade

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Is a full format necessary with SpinRite?
« on: January 11, 2013, 04:05:50 AM »
Hi, everybody.  I'm new here, and this is my very first post.

I've been reading the Rootkits for Dummies book by Larry Stevenson, and what I'd like to know is if it be enough to just run SpinRite and do a full system sweep in order to detect and remove the bad sector rootkits, without having to completely wipe my drive and reinstalling everything.

Can anyone answer that for me?  Thanks.

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Offline Bear

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Re: Is a full format necessary with SpinRite?
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2013, 05:02:23 AM »
Hi Truthblade

Is your system infected?
Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.
- Napoleon Bonaparte

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Offline Hoov

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Re: Is a full format necessary with SpinRite?
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2013, 06:08:13 AM »
Bad idea. No matter what the problem, recovering a drive back onto itself is always a bad idea. You will never write a file back to the exact same location where it was recovered from. And if it is not, then you will be over writing a spot that had another file. Also who is to say that you will not be restoring a file that was previously infected.

The best way to proceed is to give us a chance to help you remove the malware from your system, and then see what has been lost.

If you feel your computer is infected, please follow the instructions in this post, [NEW Instructions!] What Do I Do First?. When you make the post, if you have lost files, make sure to mention that in your description of your problems. There are ways we can deal with missing files depending on the cause.

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Offline Truthblade

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Re: Is a full format necessary with SpinRite?
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2013, 01:21:50 PM »
Hi Truthblade

Is your system infected?

Well, I don't know if it's infected, but I do know that my laptop screen is going white pretty regularly, and although I've been told it's most likely a backlight issue or some other hardware issue because I do get a picture when I connect to an external monitor, I'm worried it might also be some kind of malware that hasn't been detected, despite all the various different software scans I've done.

Also, reading about how software scanners don't even look for bad sector rootkits, has me worried I could have one.

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Offline Truthblade

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Re: Is a full format necessary with SpinRite?
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2013, 01:27:28 PM »
Bad idea. No matter what the problem, recovering a drive back onto itself is always a bad idea. You will never write a file back to the exact same location where it was recovered from. And if it is not, then you will be over writing a spot that had another file. Also who is to say that you will not be restoring a file that was previously infected.

The best way to proceed is to give us a chance to help you remove the malware from your system, and then see what has been lost.

If you feel your computer is infected, please follow the instructions in this post, [NEW Instructions!] What Do I Do First?. When you make the post, if you have lost files, make sure to mention that in your description of your problems. There are ways we can deal with missing files depending on the cause.

No, I don't mean that I would ghost my drive and then reinstall it back onto itself.  When I say reinstall, I mean just pull out what data files and install files I need, and then just completely wipe the drive, reinstall from the factor install disk, do all the software updates, and then ghost THAT for later reinstall -- because I never did that with my current computer.  But if I'm going to have to do all that, I might as well use SpinRite after the wiping.

However, if SpinRite will just remove any "bad sector" rootkits without my having to go through a total wipe and factory reinstall, of course I'd much rather do that.  My whole point here is just to ask if just running SpinRite WITHOUT doing the whole wipe-and-factory-reinstall will get rid of any bad sector rootkits.

That's all my question is.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2013, 01:32:30 PM by Truthblade »

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Offline Bear

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Re: Is a full format necessary with SpinRite?
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2013, 03:35:05 PM »
Hi Truthblade

There really is no one tool that will automatically remove all malware.  The problem is that once a PC gets infected, the malware often starts importing other malware, so you wind up with many infections.  Some of the infections are very, very smart at hiding themselves, even from the more powerful programs that we use.  If the only problem you are having is the display problem which goes away if you use an external monitor, it is "probably" not malware.  We would be glad to check your PC for malware if you would like.  If you want to proceed and check it than please follow the instructions HERE and someone will help you investigate the problem.  In any event, I don't think a reformat and reinstall is called for at this point.
Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.
- Napoleon Bonaparte

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Offline Hoov

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Re: Is a full format necessary with SpinRite?
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2013, 07:51:34 PM »
Well, I don't know if it's infected, but I do know that my laptop screen is going white pretty regularly, and although I've been told it's most likely a backlight issue or some other hardware issue because I do get a picture when I connect to an external monitor, I'm worried it might also be some kind of malware that hasn't been detected, despite all the various different software scans I've done.

I think you should listen to those telling you it is a hardware issue. A Local customer of mine had the same issue. She sent the computer back to Dell, they replaced the video cable and all was well.

Have you ever disassembled your laptop?

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Offline Truthblade

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Re: Is a full format necessary with SpinRite?
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2013, 03:10:06 PM »
I think you should listen to those telling you it is a hardware issue. A Local customer of mine had the same issue. She sent the computer back to Dell, they replaced the video cable and all was well.

Have you ever disassembled your laptop?

No, I've never disassembled it.  I'd be a bit scared about accidentally touching a capacitor and then my eyes explode or something.

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Offline Hoov

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Re: Is a full format necessary with SpinRite?
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2013, 04:52:15 PM »
It is not quite that bad. But you are right to be cautious. I would contact the manifacturer and see if they will look at it under warranty (I am assuming of course that the warranty is still good). If it is not still under warranty, you need to find a good local shop that works on laptops and have them look at the video cable where it goes thru the hinge joint.

Former Consumer Security MVP
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If I am helping you and you don't hear from me for 24Hrs, send me a PM Please!