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Unable to Repair Install, Personal Files Lost Forever?


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8 replies to this topic

#1 snowbug

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 03:52 AM

Gosh I hope this is the correct forum for my question and please excuse my not knowing all the proper terms to use in the description of my problem. :blush: If unable to do a successful repair install on a computer displaying a black screen with the error "Loading PDR Descriptor 4 ...done", is there any possible way I might still be able to salvage any of my personal files before making an attempt at a reinstall? Dell Dimension 3000 desktop CPU - unknown Ram - 512MB DDR 8(?) years old Windows XP Home Applications running when problem occurred: FireFox, Outlook Express, Microsoft Securities Essentials. No recent changes to hardware or software. My computer was infected with the File Restore Virus while surfing. Unable to access any cleanup programs, I restarted my computer in safe mode and was able to run a virus scan. A Trojan (I don't recall the actual name) was found and after deleting it, I received a message that my computer needed to be restarted to completely remove the threat. However, when I tried to restart, instead of Windows loading, I received the black screen with the "Loading PDR Descriptor 4 ...done" error. Whenever I attempt a repair install with the CD it goes through with just part of the process, then I eventually end up with the same error again. I have removed and reinstalled the memory sticks, changed the battery and the hard drive seems to be running. I have followed the instructions at Dell to change the USB to No Boot in BIOS and unplugged all USB devices, but still having the same issue. I realize I really need a new computer anyway, but it sure would be nice to be able to save a few things if I could. Slapping my own hand for not saving those few important files on the flash drive I purchased last month just for that purpose.

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#2 Lee

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 10:26 AM

Sorry to hear of your PC problems Snowbug.

You can easily copy and save your docs, photos and music etc with Puppy Linux to a USB flash or hard drive.
Recover files from Windows XP using Puppy Linux

Use ImgBurn to create bootable Puppy Linux disc.
How to burn ISO files to CD/DVD using ImgBurn

Cheers,
Lee

PS edit for added info:

When the computer starts, the computer stops responding (hangs) and an error message appears. The error message reads Loading PBR for Descriptor x ... Done (where x represents a number 1,2 or 4).
This error message means that the computer cannot find a certain partition on the hard drive.
See more and possible solutions here. Please make sure you first saved personal files with Puppy Linux.

Edited by Lee, 14 November 2012 - 02:57 PM.


#3 snowbug

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 08:14 PM

Thank you so very much Lee, I really appreciate your help! I have a few more household chores to finish up before I can get started on the links you provided, but I'll be back as soon as possible to give an update on how things went. Thanks again, Snow Update: Downloaded both, but I'm afraid I don't have a clue as to what I am doing and can't get past "Device Not Ready". Will try again tomorrow.

Edited by snowbug, 15 November 2012 - 03:12 AM.


#4 snowbug

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 03:34 PM

Still no luck getting the ImgBurn to work. I'm using my old Dell Dimension 2400 to try and do this and it only has a CD-Rom. By any chance could that be the problem? Update: After more searching I'm pretty sure burning the CD isn't possible with this computer. I think it's time to just accept the files as lost and move on. Thanks again for your help Lee!

Edited by snowbug, 15 November 2012 - 03:51 PM.


#5 Lee

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 04:25 PM

After more searching I'm pretty sure burning the CD isn't possible with this computer. I think it's time to just accept the files as lost and move on. Thanks again for your help Lee!


I wouldn't give up on saving your personal files so easily. If you can't borrow the use of another computer to burn the Puppy Linux CD, hold onto the computer until you buy a more modern one or at least hold onto the hard drive, which is simple to remove and takes up no space in a draw or somewhere.

It can be connected to another computer as a 'slave' drive and your personal docs on it can then be easily saved without a Puppy Linux disk. So think about connecting it to the computer you now have access to or the next computer you buy. There are two ways to do this.

1. Connect it directly to the motherboard with the computer unplugged (it does not need to be mounted in the computer case).

2. Buy a cheap USB 2.0 to IDE or Serial-ATA Hard Drive Adapter (you probably have an IDE - HD connection, which is a wide flat grey ribbon HD connection to your motherboard).

With either method, the hard drive will be recognized as a storage drive or USB drive. The XP operating system on it will not be recognized or interfere with the computer's own operating system. Just cherry-pick any files you want off it, but you will not be able to rescue programs, as once installed they are 'scrambled egg' and cannot be put back together to re-install on another PC.

Cheers,
Lee

Edited by Lee, 15 November 2012 - 05:31 PM.


#6 snowbug

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 06:02 PM

So glad I popped back in and saw your message before attempting the reinstall. If by chance the virus was not successfully removed from the downed computer, is it possible I could infect this one by connecting the hard drive to it? I ordered a new computer online this morning. Should I maybe wait until it arrives before trying to move the personal files to this old one? Thank you, Snow

#7 Lee

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 08:47 PM

When your old HD is connected to your new computer, click on start / computer. It will show up as a second drive with another drive letter or if connected via a USB adapter, a USB drive. Right-click the drive and choose scan with anti-virus and then with malwarebytes (download and install it). If the anti-virus scan option is not in the right-click menu, just open your anti-virus and run a computer scan.

The full version of malwarebytes is the best spent money you'll ever spend on a PC program, as you will have live web-surfing protection which the free version doesn't have. I use and swear by it :thumbup:

If there is any sort of malware on the old hard drive, it can only infect your computer after you open it, so scan it twice as suggested above before left-clicking on it to open the drive.

If there is some sort of infection and your anti-virus or malwarebytes cannot remove it, you can expand the drive on the left-hand side of the open window and right-click photos, music and docs (do not left-click any of these folders or they will open) while the HD is connected but unopened on the computer. Scan with malwarebytes those folders although it is highly unlikely photos, music or docs would be infected in any way. If uninfected, you can then open these folders or copy and paste the whole folders to somewhere on your new hard drive or to a USB drive which would be preferable.

If there is any infection, please start a thread in the Virus, Spyware & Malware Removal section of this forum for expert instruction on how to proceed. Just don't open the drive or any folders in it.

Cheers,
Lee

Edited by Lee, 16 November 2012 - 11:54 PM.


#8 snowbug

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 02:36 PM

That worked like a charm. First run of Malwarebytes found 2 objects and the 2nd run was clear. I was able to find just about everything I was wanting and save it to my USB drive. I'm so happy! Thank you so very much Lee for all your help, I really appreciate it. Thank you too for wording your instructions in such a way that was easy to understand and follow. I will definitely be buying the full version of Malwarebytes for my new computer. :clap: Snow

#9 Lee

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 04:21 PM

It was my pleasure Snow :) Cheers, Lee

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