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PC problems after reformatting hard drive

I found four viruses and three backdoor Trojans on my PC. Microsoft suggested reformatting hard drive. I backed up only my docs. The PC was working fine, no problems with any devices, etc. I reformatted using Win2K Pro, deleted partitions, though it left the old PC name. I installed Win2K Pro, finished fine, restarted and it hung up at the Windows screen. It's a Dell Optiplex GX110. Dell suggested doing a diagnostics, ran it, came up with IDE failing in 4 tests; re-formatted w/Dell's help right down to wipe out of bios. I reinstalled again and can only run in safe mode. What's wrong with my PC?

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It's hard to diagnose a problem like this remotely, but I think you may have a few ideas. In light of the virus activity, I would try using something other than Windows utilities to delete the partitions. My favorite tool is Partition Zapper (, but others are available. If this doesn't solve the issue, try checking the cable connections between your motherboard and your IDE hard drive. The final solution is of course just replacing your hard drive, which may have failed outright.

This was first published in September 2004

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