Compromised by viruses, how to go about reinstalling windows?


  1. Posts : 83
    Windows 10
       #1

    Compromised by viruses, how to go about reinstalling windows?


    I downloaded a shady torrent out of desperation. I know big mistake. A few days later even after scanning with malwarebytes and hitmanpro (which removed a lot of stuff), I got my gmail and paypal hacked. Even after changing my gmail password it got hacked again. I suspect I have a keylogger or something so I'm just gonna reinstall windows to clean everything. I just have a single hard drive.

    Will reinstalling windows on my hard drive get rid of any viruses left? I also have some documents to back up onto a USB (mostly office documents and pictures), if I copy them back onto the new install will it bring back the virus? Thanks.
      My Computer


  2. Posts : 42,531
    Win 10 Pro (22H2) (2nd PC is 22H2)
       #2

    When you clean install, you can format the whole drive to be sure- perhaps best to do that using a live boot disk before you do anything to associate your Windows boot medium with your infected disk.

    When you have completed your clean install, the very first thing you then do before configuring anything is, as early as possible, to create a disk image e.g. with Macrium Reflect (free), saving your image files to an external disk.

    If you had had a disk image of your system, created before the virus infection, you could have used those images to restore your PC to 'as was' condition.

    If you copy files off your original disk to a second disk, you can scan them in various ways to gain confidence they are virus free before copying them to your new system.

    Beware of any files in the cloud- anything that might have been synced or uploaded to, say, Onedrive - and even shared with other devices, if you have that configured.

    Even after changing my gmail password it got hacked again.
    Unsure what's going on there...
      My Computers


  3. Posts : 83
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #3

    dalchina said:
    When you clean install, you can format the whole drive to be sure.

    When you have completed your clean install, the very first thing you then do before configuring anything is asa early as possible to create a disk image e.g. with Macrium Reflect (free), saving your image files to an external disk.

    If you had had a disk image of your system, created before the virus infection, you could have used those images to restore your PC to 'as was' condition.

    If you copy files off your original disk to a second disk, you can scan them in various ways to gain confidence they are virus free before copying them to your new system.

    Beware of any files in the cloud- anything that might have been synced or uploaded to, say, Onedrive - and even shared with other devices, if you have that configured.


    Unsure what's going on there...
    Thanks, the thing is I don't have a second hard drive to back up windows install.

    For the gmail, after I ran a bunch of scans I changed my password, and today I find out the hacker changed the password for my gmail somehow. But apparently he wasn't able to log in.
      My Computer


  4. Posts : 42,531
    Win 10 Pro (22H2) (2nd PC is 22H2)
       #4

    USB flash drive for the bootable Windows install (or DVD if you have a DVD drive)

    Large enough external drive (think 100s of Gb for future proofing) for disk image sets. It you're going to buy one, get larger rather than smaller so you can image data partitions and disks too.

    Can you see the benefit of imaging just from what I said, and how much time it would have saved you? Many other benefits.

    In your case, format the drive rather than simply deleting partitions. Beware of rootkits.
    Clean Install Windows 10 | Windows 10 Tutorials
      My Computers


  5. Posts : 30,005
    Windows 11 Pro x64 Version 22H2
       #5

    Here is the Clean Install tutorial. One of the steps is deleting all partitions which is one step above formatting. If Linux is installed it will also be deleted.

    Clean Install Windows 10

    Before copying your data back into machine scan the storage with two tools.

    If you reuse passwords I would change at those sites immediately to contain damage.

    If you have cell phone I would also consider turning on two factor authentication. Keeps hackers out even when then steal passwords.
      My Computer


  6. Posts : 83
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #6

    So to clarify when I'm reinstalling windows, I should format each drive THEN delete it, before proceeding to install windows?

    I guess I'm having trouble distinguishing between the two. I just want to completely wipe windows to get rid of the viruses and start over again.
      My Computer


  7. Posts : 30,005
    Windows 11 Pro x64 Version 22H2
       #7

    Follow the tutorial.

    Delete the partitions, allow Windows to create what it needs and it will install. (Formatting will be handled.)

    I know there are a lot of pages in tutorial, most are screen prints. It goes very fast.
      My Computer


  8. Posts : 83
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #8

    Caledon Ken said:
    Follow the tutorial.

    Delete the partitions, allow Windows to create what it needs and it will install. (Formatting will be handled.)

    I know there are a lot of pages in tutorial, most are screen prints. It goes very fast.
    Ok, I just got a bit confused when dalchina said "In your case, format the drive rather than simply deleting partitions. "
      My Computer


  9. Posts : 41,325
    windows 10 professional version 1607 build 14393.969 64 bit
       #9

    1) Update the specs in the "My Computer" section:

    System Specs - Fill in at Ten Forums | Windows 10 Tutorials
    In the left corner below in your post you find 'My System Specs'.
    After clicking it you can find a link a little below that says 'Update your System Spec', click on this link to get to the page where you can fill in your system specs.
    System Info - See Your System Specs - Windows 7 Help Forums
    Include PSU. cooler, case, peripherals and anything attached to the computer by wired or wireless (mouse, keyboard, headset, printer, xbox, USB wireless network card, etc.)

    2) Once the operating system, computer manufacturer drivers, applications, etc. are installed you can make a backup image using Macrium (free edition) as dalchina posted earlier.
    Macrium by default can update images.
    If there is an incremental update when there is malware installed there will no longer be a safe backup image as the image will become compromised.
    So for the best safety make two backup images. One image can get you backup and running within an hour incase the incremental image was compromised.
    An additional method to backup files is to copy and paste the USERS folder to another drive or to the cloud. This may take substantial time and a lot can be performed overnight. This can be done every three months or as often as needed.

    3) Files can be backed up to the cloud. Each website may have both a fee and/or a free partition.

    4) Be careful if you are considering saving some files:
    Help: I Got Hacked. Now What Do I Do?
      My Computer


  10. Posts : 42,531
    Win 10 Pro (22H2) (2nd PC is 22H2)
       #10

    As I said, your absolute safest approach is to format the entire drive before starting the clean install. Think about it.
      My Computers


 

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