From: Victoria, Australia
ORIGINAL: Andy Mac
Houston we have a problem
John had a similar problem. There is a very vicious virus out there that looked like killing John's laptop and desktop. Same symptoms as yours. There is a fix to this, but it needs some executables on a DVD; and it has an app that restores file structures and the desktop, but it is not simple.
It blanks out your desktop; kills every toolbar; and acts just like a disk crash (and often like a program crash).
If you think you have this, shoot John a PM. He has addressed this particular virus and knows how to medicate it.
It wasn't that damn "System Fix" Trojan was it??
My teenage daughter used to go to her school friends for IT advice (such as peer to peer music download sites are were perfectly safe...) rather than go to her fuddy duddy dad with a software engineering degree who told her lots of things she didn't want to hear.
Three weeks ago she picked up the "System Fix" Trojan which totally incapacitated her machine as you describe. Fortunately for me it was a school loan netbook which was due to be returned a week later anyway. We just gave it back early to the school for their IT department to format and re-image!!! (though she did lose everything on it - fortunately the important stuff had been backed up).
Thank goodness she didn't infect the home PC with thousands of dollars worth of applications and heaps of irreplaceable data which I would have had to painfully recover. Hopefully she has learned a valuable lesson about IT security and that I was not raving on about nothing. It was cruel but I did use the opportunity to rub it in.
If this trojan is what you have, my reading of the internet indicates your data is recoverable but it is finicky to do and you may be better off engaging professional assistance if you are unsure what you are doing.
(One day I will learn to spell - or check before posting....)
Uh oh, Firefox has a spell checker!! What excuse can I use now!!!