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seema165 (Programmer) (OP)
9 Jan 06 5:00
Hello,

I have a Dell Inspiron laptop which, I've been told, has spyware/malware on it.  I rang up Dell and they told me the only way to remove it is to re-format my laptop.  They told me that if I let them do it then it will cost quite a lot to fix it, so the person on the phone told me to look it up on the net.  I've tried searching but I'm not sure if I've found the right solution as I keep finding different answers.

I have been told to try a format command which is:

     format/p

Is this correct?  Please can somebody help me?
Thanks in advance :)
Helpful Member!  Rick998 (IS/IT--Management)
9 Jan 06 5:11
Did the Dell come with a 'Restore' CD\DVD? If so, this is usually auto-booting and will wipe out the current configuration, overwriting it with a 'factory fresh' clean install.

(Remember to get your personal data off first.)
seema165 (Programmer) (OP)
9 Jan 06 5:15
I'm not sure, I'll have to check if I got it with the laptop.  I know I've got all the drivers and software CDs with it.  I'm in the process of saving all my data, some of it is infected with spyware/malware, which I cannot remove.

If I don't have that 'Restore' CD, do you know how I can re-format the laptop?
Helpful Member!  cyberspace (TechnicalUser)
9 Jan 06 5:53
Having to reformat due to spyware/malware seems very extreme, it may not be necessary.

What software have you used to try to clean the infections?

All you need is either the Dell restore CD, or the Operating System disk that should have came with your laptop.

Either one will let you perform a fresh format.

But I reccommend you seek further advice on trying to remove the spyware first, it's certainly the easier option.

What are the symptoms you are experiencing?

'When all else fails.......read the manual'

seema165 (Programmer) (OP)
9 Jan 06 6:06
I have tried removing the spyware/malware with Adaware, Microsoft Antispyware, Symantec Antivirus, Search & Destroy, McAfee Antivirus and none of them seem to have worked.  I called up Dell who told me it was spyware/malware.

The problems I have is that my laptop is really slow and I cannot access some websites like www.snapfish.com

It was Dell who told me to format my laptop and they told me to look on the net to figure out how to do it.

I should have the Operating System CD given to me by Dell, so I'll give that a go.

Any other ideas are welcome.
Thanks
Rick998 (IS/IT--Management)
9 Jan 06 6:18
I'm not familiar with Dell systems specifically but companies usually provide the means to re-store a CD to its 'as supplied' state using either CD's or a DVD or a 'restore' partition on the hard disk (which is usually 'hidden').

I don't advise you to try a manual re-installation first because you will need to identify and download the hardware device drivers.

Instead, read the documentation that came with the laptop. Somewhere it should mention how you carry out a 'factory restore' and tell you how to go about it, i.e. whether it's done from the hard disk (using a special keyboard entry at bootup) or from the optical drive (i.e. CD's or DVD).

The 'factory restore' will be either 'integrated' (meaning that the specific hardware device drivers will be included as part of the restore operation) or 'OS-only' (in which case there should also be a seperate 'Drivers and Utilities' CD included).

Alternatively, see the Dell link below for re-installing 'All Microsoft Windows XP Reinstall Guide [ All Desktops and Portables ]'.

http://support.dell.com/support/topics/global.aspx/support/dsn/en/tree?c=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs&treeid=FFA33DA99941FEDFE030030ABD62041A&journalid=4C9C6FBF80FE11DA8062EFD8BF369C56

If you do decide to go on and carry out a manual re-installation then use the Dell site and the serial no. of the laptop to identify the specific model of Inspiron laptop then download all the hardware drivers (and burn them to CD, if possible).

You can re-install Windows XP without these device drivers but, if the laptop doesn't use hardware device drivers built-in to XP, it will be limited in operation (e.g. only 16 colours, no sound, no modem, no wireless, etc.) until the proper drivers are installed.

It goes without saying that, if you decide on a manual re-installation, then you will need an original Windows XP CD too. The manual/documentation that came with the laptop should provide you with the information about how you change the laptop to boot from CD/DVD, if it doesn't do so automatically.

Finally, if you run into any further problems then the 'Windows XP Pro' forum on this site will probably be a better forum for information than this 'hardware' one. (I only stumbled across your post accidentally as I tend to  frequent the 'Windows XP Pro' forum.)

Hope all of this helps...
seema165 (Programmer) (OP)
9 Jan 06 6:34
ok, thanks all for your help. I'll give it a go.

Hopefully I should have the Restore CD.

If I get into any problems, then I'll give the other methods a go.

Cheers :)

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