Will formatting a drive allways get rid of a virus?

Discussion in 'Computer Support' started by Sash, Jan 13, 2005.

  1. Sash

    Sash Guest

    I just had a terrible infection, and I want to know if formatting a hard
    drive will 100% get rid of these viruses.

    Thanks
    Sash, Jan 13, 2005
    #1
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  2. Yes because it totally blanks your harddrive
    "Sash" <> wrote in message
    news:cs5kfi$hib$...
    >I just had a terrible infection, and I want to know if formatting a hard
    >drive will 100% get rid of these viruses.
    >
    > Thanks
    >
    David Hemingsley, Jan 13, 2005
    #2
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  3. Sash

    Lookout Guest

    No because there are boot sector viruses. But chances are it isn't one
    of those. I haven't seen one of those in years. Which virus was it and
    why did/are you doing a format?

    On Thu, 13 Jan 2005 15:49:15 +0000 (UTC), "David Hemingsley"
    <> wrote:

    >Yes because it totally blanks your harddrive
    >"Sash" <> wrote in message
    >news:cs5kfi$hib$...
    >>I just had a terrible infection, and I want to know if formatting a hard
    >>drive will 100% get rid of these viruses.
    >>
    >> Thanks
    >>

    >
    Lookout, Jan 13, 2005
    #3
  4. Sash wrote:

    > I just had a terrible infection, and I want to know if formatting a hard
    > drive will 100% get rid of these viruses.
    >
    > Thanks


    As lookout mentioned, formatting does not remove everything. Chances are
    probably better than 99% that formatting will get rid of your virus, but
    if you want that to be 100% sure then do a wipe of the drive. See the
    link below:

    http://www.digitalissues.co.uk/html/os/misc/ibm-wipe-zap.html
    =?ISO-8859-1?Q?R=F4g=EAr?=, Jan 13, 2005
    #4
  5. Sash

    Richard Guest

    "Rôgêr" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Sash wrote:
    >
    > > I just had a terrible infection, and I want to know if formatting a hard
    > > drive will 100% get rid of these viruses.
    > >
    > > Thanks

    >
    > As lookout mentioned, formatting does not remove everything. Chances are
    > probably better than 99% that formatting will get rid of your virus, but
    > if you want that to be 100% sure then do a wipe of the drive. See the
    > link below:
    >
    > http://www.digitalissues.co.uk/html/os/misc/ibm-wipe-zap.html


    Good idea. Limited to 8 gigs though.
    If it's a maxtor, they have a utility to reset the entire drive back to
    factory settings.
    Including partitions!
    If you really want to clean house, that's the way to do it.
    Richard, Jan 13, 2005
    #5
  6. Sash

    Plato Guest

    Sash wrote:
    >
    > I just had a terrible infection, and I want to know if formatting a hard
    > drive will 100% get rid of these viruses.


    Not if its a boot sector virus.
    Plato, Jan 13, 2005
    #6
  7. Where a computer virus is concerned, I'd want to sterilize the thing.
    Two thoughts come to mind.

    1) cat /dev/zero > hd whichever. After a long time cat complains it
    can no longer write into the drive because it's full. Whatever used
    to be in the drive, is now covered over.

    2) run badblocks -w on all the drive. Badblocks writes then reads
    five cycles of data onto the drive, thereby killing whatever was
    there.

    I like badblocks because it both kills whatever is there, and
    checks-out the drive's health.

    *Be advised!* Both of my suggestions kill what's on the drive. If
    you guess the least possibility you might want to fetch anything off
    the drive, don't do these!

    *And*, I'm an amateur at this stuff: my suggestions here might be
    followed by much better down this thread, once something develops. So
    don't stop here!

    Cheers -- Martha Adams
    Martha H Adams, Jan 13, 2005
    #7
  8. Martha H Adams wrote:
    <snip>

    And what the **** are you telling me that for, eh?
    Kleine Scheefgepoepte, Jan 13, 2005
    #8
  9. wrote:
    > Martha H Adams wrote:
    >> Where a computer virus is concerned, I'd want to sterilize the thing.
    >> Two thoughts come to mind.
    >>
    >> 1) cat /dev/zero > hd whichever. After a long time cat complains it
    >> can no longer write into the drive because it's full. Whatever used
    >> to be in the drive, is now covered over.
    >>
    >> 2) run badblocks -w on all the drive. Badblocks writes then reads
    >> five cycles of data onto the drive, thereby killing whatever was
    >> there.
    >>
    >> I like badblocks because it both kills whatever is there, and
    >> checks-out the drive's health.
    >>
    >> *Be advised!* Both of my suggestions kill what's on the drive. If
    >> you guess the least possibility you might want to fetch anything off
    >> the drive, don't do these!
    >>
    >> *And*, I'm an amateur at this stuff: my suggestions here might be
    >> followed by much better down this thread, once something develops. So
    >> don't stop here!
    >>
    >> Cheers -- Martha Adams

    >
    > I didn't have a fucking clue, either.


    Well at least you've got the balls to admit it.
    Kleine Scheefgepoepte, Jan 13, 2005
    #9
  10. Sash

    Peter Guest

    On Thu, 13 Jan 2005 20:03:19 +0000 (UTC), (Martha H
    Adams) wrote:

    >Where a computer virus is concerned, I'd want to sterilize the thing.
    >Two thoughts come to mind.
    >
    >*Be advised!* Both of my suggestions kill what's on the drive. If
    >you guess the least possibility you might want to fetch anything off
    >the drive, don't do these!
    >

    Two other ideas:

    Using the 'rescue' floppy or similar:
    fdisk /MBR

    This will re-write the master boot code taking any viruses with it.

    Reboot then using fdisk, remove all partitions, this will clear the
    boot records.
    Then re-format.

    A quicker way in Linux (after loading a Linux system off floppy or
    CD), and one that is 'reversible' if you know how:
    dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hda bs=512 count=100

    This will wipe the first 100 sectors and will 'clean' the first
    partition (whether FAT16 or FAT32. The second copy of the FAT remains
    intact enabling 100% reconstruction if need be.

    Remember that MS's FORMAT has a nasty habit of not writing a fresh
    boot sector at the start of the partition if one exists already. This
    applies even if the partition length defined in the boot sector is
    longer than that defined in the Partition Table (this being a recipie
    for disaster if not immediately then later).
    Peter, Jan 13, 2005
    #10
  11. Sash

    Barry OGrady Guest

    On Thu, 13 Jan 2005 11:02:10 -0000, "Sash" <> wrote:

    >I just had a terrible infection, and I want to know if formatting a hard
    >drive will 100% get rid of these viruses.


    Yes.

    >Thanks



    -Barry
    ========
    "I see only with deep regret that God punishes so many of His children for
    their numerous stupidities, for which only He Himself can be held responsible;
    in my opinion, only His nonexistence could excuse Him."
    [A. Einstein (Letter to Edgar Meyer, Jan. 2, 1915)]

    Web page: http://members.iinet.net.au/~barry.og
    Atheist, radio scanner, LIPD information.
    Barry OGrady, Jan 13, 2005
    #11
  12. Sash

    Lookout Guest

    On Thu, 13 Jan 2005 21:05:20 GMT, (Peter)
    wrote:

    >On Thu, 13 Jan 2005 20:03:19 +0000 (UTC), (Martha H
    >Adams) wrote:
    >
    >>Where a computer virus is concerned, I'd want to sterilize the thing.
    >>Two thoughts come to mind.
    >>
    >>*Be advised!* Both of my suggestions kill what's on the drive. If
    >>you guess the least possibility you might want to fetch anything off
    >>the drive, don't do these!
    >>

    >Two other ideas:
    >
    >Using the 'rescue' floppy or similar:
    >fdisk /MBR
    >
    >This will re-write the master boot code taking any viruses with it.
    >
    >Reboot then using fdisk, remove all partitions, this will clear the
    >boot records.
    >Then re-format.
    >
    >A quicker way in Linux (after loading a Linux system off floppy or
    >CD), and one that is 'reversible' if you know how:
    >dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hda bs=512 count=100
    >
    >This will wipe the first 100 sectors and will 'clean' the first
    >partition (whether FAT16 or FAT32. The second copy of the FAT remains
    >intact enabling 100% reconstruction if need be.
    >
    >Remember that MS's FORMAT has a nasty habit of not writing a fresh
    >boot sector at the start of the partition if one exists already. This
    >applies even if the partition length defined in the boot sector is
    >longer than that defined in the Partition Table (this being a recipie
    >for disaster if not immediately then later).



    That's called a low level format. Calling/emailing the manufacturer
    will get you instructions on how to do that.
    Lookout, Jan 14, 2005
    #12
  13. Sash

    gb Guest

    "Barry OGrady" <> wrote in message
    news:...

    > Yes.

    <snip>

    "I see only with deep regret that God punishes so many of His children for
    their numerous stupidities
    <snip>

    How is God punishing you for yours? :)
    gb, Jan 14, 2005
    #13
  14. Sash

    Sash Guest

    "Martha H Adams" <> wrote in message
    news:cs6k67$ol$...
    > Where a computer virus is concerned, I'd want to sterilize the thing.
    > Two thoughts come to mind.
    >
    > 1) cat /dev/zero > hd whichever. After a long time cat complains it
    > can no longer write into the drive because it's full. Whatever used
    > to be in the drive, is now covered over.
    >
    > 2) run badblocks -w on all the drive. Badblocks writes then reads
    > five cycles of data onto the drive, thereby killing whatever was
    > there.
    >
    > I like badblocks because it both kills whatever is there, and
    > checks-out the drive's health.
    >
    > *Be advised!* Both of my suggestions kill what's on the drive. If
    > you guess the least possibility you might want to fetch anything off
    > the drive, don't do these!
    >
    > *And*, I'm an amateur at this stuff: my suggestions here might be
    > followed by much better down this thread, once something develops. So
    > don't stop here!
    >
    > Cheers -- Martha Adams


    Thanks very much Martha for your reply.
    You actually put the question in a much better way, I should really have
    rephrased the question to say as you have put:
    Does just formatting a disc have a different effect than "killing the disc,
    eg by writting to it" as in the way you have described. Excellent point!!
    Thanks
    >
    Sash, Jan 14, 2005
    #14
  15. Sash

    Sash Guest

    "Peter" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > On Thu, 13 Jan 2005 20:03:19 +0000 (UTC), (Martha H
    > Adams) wrote:
    >
    >>Where a computer virus is concerned, I'd want to sterilize the thing.
    >>Two thoughts come to mind.
    >>
    >>*Be advised!* Both of my suggestions kill what's on the drive. If
    >>you guess the least possibility you might want to fetch anything off
    >>the drive, don't do these!
    >>

    > Two other ideas:
    >
    > Using the 'rescue' floppy or similar:
    > fdisk /MBR


    Can you do this with xp?

    >
    > This will re-write the master boot code taking any viruses with it.
    > Reboot then using fdisk, remove all partitions, this will clear the
    > boot records. Then re-format.


    So then would this rewrite absolutely any possible area that a virus can
    possible get, so as a super last resort would this absolutely without any
    shadow of a doubt
    get rid of any possible virus that could ever conceivable possible remotely
    have become spread to some nether regions of the system?


    >
    > A quicker way in Linux (after loading a Linux system off floppy or
    > CD), and one that is 'reversible' if you know how:
    > dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hda bs=512 count=100


    I wouldn't know linux from a pineapple.
    >
    > This will wipe the first 100 sectors and will 'clean' the first
    > partition (whether FAT16 or FAT32. The second copy of the FAT remains
    > intact enabling 100% reconstruction if need be.
    >
    > Remember that MS's FORMAT has a nasty habit of not writing a fresh
    > boot sector at the start of the partition if one exists already. This
    > applies even if the partition length defined in the boot sector is
    > longer than that defined in the Partition Table (this being a recipie
    > for disaster if not immediately then later)


    So are you saying a "format" does not actually completely destroy
    everything? Is it possible to still get a virus back after a "format"?

    Thanks for your reply, its appreciated, you can't believe the trouble I have
    had today..
    Sash, Jan 14, 2005
    #15
  16. Sash

    Sash Guest

    "Lookout" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > No because there are boot sector viruses. But chances are it isn't one
    > of those. I haven't seen one of those in years. Which virus was it and
    > why did/are you doing a format?
    >
    > On Thu, 13 Jan 2005 15:49:15 +0000 (UTC), "David Hemingsley"
    > <> wrote:
    >
    >>Yes because it totally blanks your harddrive
    >>"Sash" <> wrote in message
    >>news:cs5kfi$hib$...
    >>>I just had a terrible infection, and I want to know if formatting a hard
    >>>drive will 100% get rid of these viruses.
    >>>
    >>> Thanks


    Two reasons.

    1. I ran every single updated virus definition that I had, which meant the
    online trend house call one that along with macafe online viral scan, avg
    antivirus and the new etrust from computer associates all day I ran those
    plus in safe mode, and spybot and adaware, it didn't pick up anything, still
    the virus was there it was a virus I think that was athe tick virus they
    call it, it was comming from some system file or similar I can't remember
    the exact name but it was something tick and it was a disguising itself as a
    windows system file.

    Then for some strange reason Zone Alarm was giving a problem, it was making
    my computer freeze up, I blame zone alarm becuase after three fresh installs
    the freezing up activity was still there, after reading about zone alarm I
    discovered that this activity has been noted by users of zone alarm, it does
    exactly the same thing as I described.

    Freezing up wihtout the ability to switch it on and off, now that was too
    much of a coincidence, plus given the fact that now I have deleted zone
    alarm and done a fresh install the system is back to being perfect
    again..........

    I am now seeing viruses in a completely different light, I thought that if I
    had my free copy of AVG bubbling away in the background I was safe, I didn't
    even ever bother with a firewall, it is only thanks to the firewall that I
    even knew of the viruses existence. How awful these are.
    >>>

    >>

    >
    Sash, Jan 14, 2005
    #16
  17. Sash

    Sash Guest

    "Rôgêr" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Sash wrote:
    >
    >> I just had a terrible infection, and I want to know if formatting a hard
    >> drive will 100% get rid of these viruses.
    >>
    >> Thanks

    >
    > As lookout mentioned, formatting does not remove everything. Chances are
    > probably better than 99% that formatting will get rid of your virus, but
    > if you want that to be 100% sure then do a wipe of the drive. See the link
    > below:
    >
    > http://www.digitalissues.co.uk/html/os/misc/ibm-wipe-zap.htm


    So if you completely wipe the drive meaning you wipe it with writting to it,
    then will that definitely destroy any virus that can possible have gotten
    into it?
    Sash, Jan 14, 2005
    #17
  18. Sash

    Sash Guest

    "Richard" <Anonymous@127.001> wrote in message
    news:...
    >
    > "Rôgêr" <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    >> Sash wrote:
    >>
    >> > I just had a terrible infection, and I want to know if formatting a
    >> > hard
    >> > drive will 100% get rid of these viruses.
    >> >
    >> > Thanks

    >>
    >> As lookout mentioned, formatting does not remove everything. Chances are
    >> probably better than 99% that formatting will get rid of your virus, but
    >> if you want that to be 100% sure then do a wipe of the drive. See the
    >> link below:
    >>
    >> http://www.digitalissues.co.uk/html/os/misc/ibm-wipe-zap.html

    >
    > Good idea. Limited to 8 gigs though.
    > If it's a maxtor, they have a utility to reset the entire drive back to
    > factory settings.
    > Including partitions!
    > If you really want to clean house, that's the way to do it.


    Mine is a Dell.

    I have come away from todays episode with a totally knew understanding of
    how difficult these viruses can be to actually get rid of.
    >
    >
    Sash, Jan 14, 2005
    #18
  19. Sash

    Sash Guest

    "Plato" <|@|.|> wrote in message
    news:41e6ae0b$1$67899$...
    > Sash wrote:
    >>
    >> I just had a terrible infection, and I want to know if formatting a hard
    >> drive will 100% get rid of these viruses.

    >
    > Not if its a boot sector virus.


    How can I wipe the boot out, so that if there is anyting in it I know it is
    destroyed. The same thing happened with my main drive, nothing at all picked
    up this virus, nothing, and so the same thing could possibly have happened
    with a boot sector virus, eg. it might not get picked up. So I want to make
    sure I have wiped everything off the face of my computer planet before
    reinstalling again. (If I have another need in the future)
    >
    >
    Sash, Jan 14, 2005
    #19
  20. Sash

    GreyCloud Guest

    Lookout wrote:
    >
    > On Thu, 13 Jan 2005 21:05:20 GMT, (Peter)
    > wrote:
    >
    > >On Thu, 13 Jan 2005 20:03:19 +0000 (UTC), (Martha H
    > >Adams) wrote:
    > >
    > >>Where a computer virus is concerned, I'd want to sterilize the thing.
    > >>Two thoughts come to mind.
    > >>
    > >>*Be advised!* Both of my suggestions kill what's on the drive. If
    > >>you guess the least possibility you might want to fetch anything off
    > >>the drive, don't do these!
    > >>

    > >Two other ideas:
    > >
    > >Using the 'rescue' floppy or similar:
    > >fdisk /MBR
    > >
    > >This will re-write the master boot code taking any viruses with it.
    > >
    > >Reboot then using fdisk, remove all partitions, this will clear the
    > >boot records.
    > >Then re-format.
    > >
    > >A quicker way in Linux (after loading a Linux system off floppy or
    > >CD), and one that is 'reversible' if you know how:
    > >dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hda bs=512 count=100
    > >
    > >This will wipe the first 100 sectors and will 'clean' the first
    > >partition (whether FAT16 or FAT32. The second copy of the FAT remains
    > >intact enabling 100% reconstruction if need be.
    > >
    > >Remember that MS's FORMAT has a nasty habit of not writing a fresh
    > >boot sector at the start of the partition if one exists already. This
    > >applies even if the partition length defined in the boot sector is
    > >longer than that defined in the Partition Table (this being a recipie
    > >for disaster if not immediately then later).

    >
    > That's called a low level format. Calling/emailing the manufacturer
    > will get you instructions on how to do that.


    I used to just use an old Slackware fdisk to correct a
    screwed up MBR. Works everytime and nothing is lost.
    GreyCloud, Jan 14, 2005
    #20
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