Everyday I receive lots of emails from computer users on the easiest way to restore a virus infected hard disk or a hard disk where Windows 95 or 98 has crashed and Windows will not start. For a computer with crashed Windows, the only option most people know is to reinstall Windows and if this fails, to reformat the hard disk.
Cleaning infected files with an anti-virus program is usually not 100% successful as most viruses will intentionally or unintentionally damage some files. I use Windows 98 on a special hard disk for testing viruses and my Windows will always crash, sometimes many times a night. I have never reinstalled Windows or reformatted my hard disk due to Windows crashing or a viral infection. There is a very easy way to restore Windows without having to reinstall or reinformat the hard disk. I usually take less than 5 minutes to restore my Windows and all the files.
Follow these steps. They are useful if your Windows refuses to start or you have a bad virus infection in your hard disk:-
1. Copy PKZIP.EXE and PKUNZIP.EXE to the ROOT or MAIN directory of your hard disk.
2. Use PKZIP.EXE and zip all the subdirectories in your hard disk. Zipping the files in \WINDOWS and \WINDOWS\SYSTEM subdirectories is usually enough to restart your Windows. To make like easier, zip all the subdirectories in your hard disk. To zip the files in \WINDOWS subdirectory, change to the \WINDOWS subdirectory by typing "CD \WINDOWS". From the \WINDOWS subdirectory type "C:\PKZIP WINDOWS.ZIP". Do the same for the other sudirectories. Do not use WINZIP as WINZIP needs Windows to run. A computer with crashed Windows will not run WINZIP.
3. Run CHKSUM.COM from the VBUSTER subdirectory of your hard disk or from your V-BUSTER diskette and note down all the subdirectories where files have been altered.
4. Windows will not start if any of the Windows files are damaged by a virus or a malfunction by Windows which is a very common thing. If your Windows refuses to start, or your hard disk is infected by a virus, boot up a DOS diskette in drive A, run CHKSUM.COM, and note down all the subdirectories where files have been altered.
5. Use PKUNZIP.EXE to unzip all the subdirectories where files have been altered. You can do this by changing to the subdirectory, like typing "CD \WINDOWS" and then typing "C:\PKUNZIP WINDOWS.ZIP". Repeat this for all the affected subdirectories.
You will find that these steps are better than all the anti-virus programs in the World put together. You should also create a proper BOOT disk for use if your Windows crashes. The Windows Startup disk is NOT a proper BOOT disk. DOS 6.22 will be able to read a hard disk with a 16 bit FAT table.For a hard disk with a 32 bit FAT table you will have to prepare a DOS FOR WINDOWS 98 BOOT disk.
1. Boot up your hard disk
2. Exit to DOS
3. Change to \WINDOWS\COMMAND subdirectory by typing "CD \WINDOWS\COMMAND"
4. Insert a formatted diskette in your disk drive and type "SYS A:"
To be honest, with CHKSUM.COM and the steps outlined above you do not really need any anti-virus program (and I will go bankrupt!). Even Worms will be detected by CHKSUM.COM as it will list out the addtional COM or EXE files added to a subdirectory. They will usually be WORMS or TROJANS unless you have added the files yourself.