Computer Security & Viruses/Windows XP lost functions


I had some viruses.  Did scan and got rid of them but upon rebooting found that I lost the 256 color capability, no standby nor hibernate.  Only shut down or reboot is available.  What do I have to reinstall or repair? Appreciate your advise.

Your biggest problem is that Microsoft no longer supports Windows XP. That means that it is full of vulnerabilities to worms, viruses and all other manner of malicious attacks. So if you want to protect yourself from attack, your best bet is to get a new computer with Windows 10, or if that is too expensive, a used one with at least Windows 7.

Also, whatever security software you were using when you scanned for viruses appears to be unable to protect your computer. You report that you had to scan for viruses before it bothered to detect and try to remove them. A good quality Internet security suite will catch and destroy viruses before they can infect your computer. If your software waits until after infection to do anything about it, or as in your case waits for you to pretty please ask it to do its job by scanning, in the meantime you are in danger of getting your credit card data stolen etc. So whatever you decide to do, I strongly recommend getting a high quality Internet security suite, not free stuff because you will only get what you pay for.

If you decide to take your chances with getting credit card information etc. stolen by continuing to use Windows XP, here is what you can do -- but I strongly recommend against this. This is only an emergency solution until you can afford a more up to date computer.

Do you have installation disks for XP that will restore factory settings? If so, back up all your data and completely reinstall XP.

If you don't, another possible solution is to see whether your computer has a hidden backup partition on the hard drive that will reinstall XP. Be sure to back up first! When booting up, the first screen you see should tell you how to access advanced options and find out whether and how you could do this. Hitting the F8 key while booting might also get you to an advanced options menu. If your computer has an option for repair instead of reinstall, don't uyse it because your computer almost certainly still has viruses that haven't been removed.

Once you reinstall XP, your next step is to install a complete Internet security suite, for example Norton or McAfee. I can't guarantee these will protect you because Microsoft refuses to provide updates any more, but they will work better than any free security software.

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Carolyn Meinel


I cover Windows, Linux, TCP/IP and Ethernet security questions. I do not cover Mac, smart phones, or other networking issues.


Books by Carolyn Meinel: wrote a chapter for The Hacking of America book (see My article Code Red for the Web for Scientific American was reprinted in the book Best American Science Writing 2002 (see My book The Happy Hacker: A Guide to Mostly Harmless Hacking is now in 4th edition with a Japanese edition (see


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MS, Industrial Engineering, The University of Arizona Took a course in computer forensics at the University of Texas at Austin/

Past/Present Clients
DARPA, SAIC, Palmer Labs

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