Question How to reinstall Windows on corrupted PC with no safe mode/advanced boot option

Apr 7, 2020
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Hi,

I had an infection of ransomware that ultimately caused my PC to shutdown. I can't boot in safe or any other mode. When I power on, the screen remains blank.

I'd appreciate a recommended protocol for how I could reinstall Windows on this system. I made a USB installation drive, but it did not automatically detect it, and I don't seem to be able to manually boot from it, unless I've overlooked an option.

Ideally, I'd like to reinstall Windows while retaining the data on my hard drive, so I can back it up, then do a clean install. My best guess is to get an external hard drive reader to access the corrupted drive, but I welcome any suggestions.

Thanks
 
First, unless you pay the ransom, you'll not get your data back, consider it lost. You will need an uninfected computer to burn a bootable anti-virus DVD. https://www.lifewire.com/free-bootable-antivirus-tools-2625785 It's best to burn a closed DVD so it it is no longer writable unless you have access to a USB with a write-protection switch. Unless things have changed, the Ransomware virus itself is easy to remove, but your data will still be encrypted.. Some of the bootable antivrus contain command prompt program dispart; if not use a the Microsoft Windows Media Creator to download a Windows 10 install .iso, and burn it to a DVD (see clean install link below) Boot the DVD and choose repair over install. Once in the repair mode, go to a command prompt and run diskpart https://www.windowscentral.com/how-clean-and-format-storage-drive-using-diskpart-windows-10 to clean and format your hard drive, then do a clean install. https://forums.tomshardware.com/faq/how-to-do-a-clean-installation-of-windows-10.3170366/
 

QwerkyPengwen

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or you can use the Media Creation Tool to make a bootable flash drive instead of burning a DVD, especially since you'll need a DVD that can hold about 6GB of data, and a DVD burner drive lol. Not to mention your current system that has an issue would need a DVD reader drive in it to read the DVD. So just don't bother with that old and outdated technological method please. (common DVD's are 4.7GB with dual layer discs being 8.5GB)

Just make things easy on yourself and use a flash drive that is at least 8GB in size on another working system and create a bootable installer using Media Creation Tool from Microsoft
 
or you can use the Media Creation Tool to make a bootable flash drive instead of burning a DVD, especially since you'll need a DVD that can hold about 6GB of data, and a DVD burner drive lol. Not to mention your current system that has an issue would need a DVD reader drive in it to read the DVD. So just don't bother with that old and outdated technological method please. (common DVD's are 4.7GB with dual layer discs being 8.5GB)

Just make things easy on yourself and use a flash drive that is at least 8GB in size on another working system and create a bootable installer using Media Creation Tool from Microsoft
A windows 10 ISO is 4.2 GB and is specifically designed to fit on a 4.7GB DVD. Further there are viruses that are designed to invade install media in the event someone tries to reinstall Windows after an infestation. Unless the OP uses the outmoded technical method of a DVD or a write protected USB, he/she is in danger of reinfesting their system drive. LOL
 
Not really sure how the ransomware would go about making your splash screen not come up.

First thing I would do would be to unplug all the drives (power and data) inside the computer and (then power up to) see if you get a boot/splash/BIOS. Even without a disk it should post or show a no drive detected error.

If it passes that part. You will need a known uninfected computer to download and create a USB tool.

Ideally you should be able to use the installer to wipe and reformat your disks. I cannot truly say whether there would be a danger from simply plugging these in to another computer to format in a drive caddy or the like. Some virus are very good at propagating to other systems. At the same time it very well could infect the installation USB when you plug it in...a DVD would avoid that aspects possibility.
 

USAFRet

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Mar 16, 2013
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A windows 10 ISO is 4.2 GB and is specifically designed to fit on a 4.7GB DVD. Further there are viruses that are designed to invade install media in the event someone tries to reinstall Windows after an infestation. Unless the OP uses the outmoded technical method of a DVD or a write protected USB, he/she is in danger of reinfesting their system drive. LOL
Even though it does fit on a 4GB USB (as least as of 2 versions ago), MS currently recommends an 8GB.

But yes...doing it from this currently infected system is a big no no.
 
Even though it does fit on a 4GB USB (as least as of 2 versions ago), MS currently recommends an 8GB.

But yes...doing it from this currently infected system is a big no no.
Aren't we talking apples and oranges here. The 8GB is for a USB, not a DVD. The MSMC Windows 10 1909 created a USB with 4.309 GB of data (after I was upgraded to Windows10 from Windows 7, I used a DVD I created from the ISO I downloaded form the MSMC, to do a clean install of version 1809 which worked without issue), while the ISO created a DVD with 4.288 GB of data. Further we are taking Windows 7, where the retail DVD contains 3.320 GB of data and a rufus created USB contains 3.387 GB of data.

The point being, unless the OP invests in a write protected USB, using a DVD install media, for either Windows 7 or 10 is a viable alternative, and should be encouraged considering he/she is dealing with a virus.
 

USAFRet

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Do you not think there is a difference between the requirements of the data size for creating a USB install media for Windows and the creating of a Windows 10 install DVD?
Yes there is.
For 10, they used to recommend a 4GB USB. Then 5GB or larger. Now they state 8GB.

It WILL fit in a 4GB as of a couple of versions ago.

I will try it on a 4GB in a bit with v1909. I have a sacrifical one laying around.
 

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