Computer Security & Viruses/how to ensure the hacker is gone


I'm pretty sure that I was recently hacked and I want to regain my computers security and my own peace of mind.  Some background -

I think I was hacked because somebody charged a bunch of computer equipment to my credit card in a country that I've never been to, and because just prior to this my computer was acting strangely (for example, it would say that I wasn't connected to the internet when I really was, and occasionally a message would pop up saying that my IP address was being used by another computer.)  

To regain security and peace of mind I've purchased an inexpensive computer that I've been using ever since, I changed internet services, and I've signed up for an identity protection service, however I haven't yet reconnected my computer which was hacked to the internet because presumably the hacker still will have a way to get into it even though I'm connecting through a new internet service.  My computer which was hacked is a very expensive computer and I would like to be able to use it again. Also, it has files on it that I don't want to delete.  A friend has advised me that I should replace my hard drives and that, though this will effectively delete all of my files, this is the only way to be 100% certain that the hacker can't get back into my computer.  So I have two questions that I'd really appreciate your input on:

Is there a way to save the files that are on my computer while still rendering it "hacker-free"?

If I take out my old hard drives and replace them with new hard drives will this ensure that the hacker can't get back into my computer, or is there still somewhere in my computer that the hacker can store whatever it is that allows them to get access to my computer (such as a built-in piece storage in the motherboard or something)?

Any advice is appreciated, thank so much!

In most cases the computer may still be used, or at least the files can be retrieved safely.


and, "What-To-Do-Unable-Clean-Computer..."  (same site).

There's also information and instructions from Search Engine results using words like " how to - clean infected computers" more or less.

If possible, use engines that support free services like in the results to stay clear of possibly unsafe sites, services and information.

As far as "hacker free", you must be vigilant and continue learning about how to keep your computer secure. The biggest companies in the world aren't hacker-free, but you're not likely attacked like them.

On the other hand, the wrong people now have info on you, so you must proceed with more caution, focus and determination in keeping your system and network as "hacker-free" as possible. And, be sure to install updates for all applications and services as quickly as possible after release.  

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James Filmer


Viruses, Spam, hacking, Rootkits, Trojans, Keyloggers, all other forms of Malware, Internet access problems, slow systems, application and system instability, network abuse, Firewalls, layered security configurations, system maintenance support and general troubleshooting.


System, network and website administrator



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