Hardware Failure or Virus
1. While working on my PC, the screen suddenly went black and the machine rebooted by itself. When it came up, there were numerous error messages such as cannot find *.exe and other files. Startup/TSR's could not be located.
2. Once I finally got control of my machine I found that the entire PROGRAM FILES directory was gone. Other directories appeared to be fine. All program previously contained in this directory appeared to be gone... File associations were invalid everywhere.
3. I installed SystemSuite 4.0 by Ontrack and tried to run DISK FIX repeatedly. It showed huge swaths of my harddrive contained lost clusters. The DISK FIX continually restarted...
4. Finally, I just ran Windows SCANDISK. I opened windows explorer and no there was only ONE directory under C:/. My Windowns directory. However, when I clicked on C:... in the right window I could see hundreds of directories (DIR9999) and files (.CHK) and other files. When I clicked on the right on a DIR9999... it would suddenly pop up on the left in the directory tree. Many of the directories contained files with valid extensions (i.e. .wav, .gif, etc.).
5. What I want to save. I realized early that I'd have to save my important data and reformat/reload the Windows OS. I have family pictures (.jpg) on this machine. I'm finding them by renaming files from .chk to .jpg and double-clicking... if they are a true pic--they display--otherwise I get some security error msg. Looks like I'll be spending a couple of weeks renaming files to identify my lost jpgs (unless someone out there can suggest an easier way).
Apart from the pictures, I have other important data that I want to save. Is there an easy way to identify what a .chk file was in it's earlier life? A spreadsheet, Word doc, jpg? Any utilities out there? Help?
6. I figured I could burn these files to CD-Rom. But right now I can't get my CD-burner software re-installed on the machine. It errors out in SETUP. Thankfully, I have a zip drive. Winzip did successfully install so I'll need to buy a bunch of zip disks and start zipping.
7. Does anyone have any idea what these symptoms point to? Virus? Hardware failure?