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Well, I’ve done what I said I was going to do. I’ve wiped the hard drive of Hubby’s old laptop. The computer became infected with the Win32/Cryptor virus and every malware remover I tried was disabled by said virus. Very frustrating situation.

Thankfully, most of Hubby’s data had been backed up prior to the infection and the one document he really wanted to keep he was able to print before I began my disinfectant procedure. That’s really the key, you know, making sure to have backups of data so that you don’t lose everything when there’s a computer malfunction. Backups save acres of heartache and also prevent the blue smoke of swearwords from arising.

Yesterday was the day of the fateful hard drive wipe. I call it this – wiping the hard drive – but that’s not the technical term for what I did. It’s more accurately described as restoring the system, or reformatting the hard drive. When you wipe the hard drive, that’s about eliminating any potential access to the data by using a program to over-write it.

Before I started, that’s kind of what I thought I would be doing; wiping everything off the computer and reloading the operating system. It used to be that when you bought a computer, you’d get disks with the operating system and other necessary software on them, which you could use to bring your computer back to a functioning state when it went kaflooey. Not so anymore.

We bought this Old Laptop (that’s what we’re calling it now) waaaaaay back in 2006. Instead of operating system disks, we got a square piece of tagboard with the image of a disk on it and some key instructions:

“Your new computer does not require an operating system CD or drivers CDs. Instead, if you ever need to reinstall your software, use one of the following methods.”

One method was to use the System Restore feature found in the Control Panel of the computer. This was one of the things I had tried in order to get rid of Win32/Cryptor, but it didn’t work. On to method two …

… using Dell PC Restore to return the computer to the original state it was in when we bought it. The instructions for Dell PC Restore were in the Owner’s Manual on the computer.

Accessing Dell PC Restore was a bit tricky. Once I turned on the computer, I had to press <Ctrl> <F11> as soon as I saw the blue bar at the top of the screen that said “dell.com”. I flubbed this operation several times and had to keep shutting down the computer and restarting it in order to do it right. Other than timing, I think the secret was that I had to push <Ctrl> first and then <F11>, not both at the same time.

Then, it was a matter of following the instructions on the screen. This included accepting a terms of use agreement. Everything went off without a hitch and I was presented with a fresh, unadulterated system. Wheeeeee!

Once the computer was virus-free, I had to load the anti-virus software I prefer, download Mozilla Firefox, and re-load Microsoft Office. I also downloaded Spybot Search & Destroy and Malwarebytes and ran scans of the computer just to be sure. Yep. The Old Computer is clean as a whistle (and hopefully contains less spit).

If you’re having computer issues, you may want to take a look at my previous two posts on the subject:

Beware of Win32/Cryptor


Strategy for Tackling a Computer Infection

And, at the risk of sounding like a broken vinyl record, be sure to make regular backups. I know it’s a pain, but if you make it a habit, you’ll suffer so much less stress when your computer gets infected.