how to fix a pc disaster

Norton GoBack Review

If you're thinking about putting a new product on your computer called Norton GoBack, I would urge you to reconsider. I've read some documentation on the web that would suggest that this product will save your system when it crashes; however, I just went through an ordeal this weekend that included a friend's computer, Norton GoBack and several hours of stress and agony.

My friend (we'll call him "Ralph") recently put Norton System Works (which included a nice bonus called Norton GoBack) on his computer. After some time having this on his computer, he began to experience slow downs, lockups and general loss of resources. Hubby and I and one more friend, (we'll call him "Fonzie", cuz he's COOL ) all volunteered to help him fix it.

Hubby took a look at it and found out that Ralph's computer had almost 50 processes running in the background (Task Manager) and all but 7 of them were associated with Norton System Works. After some assessment, Ralph decided to uninstall Norton from his computer. He tried to uninstall through Add/Remove Programs in Control Panel and was unable to do so, we thought due to all of the processes running in the background. So, we decided to restart the computer in Safe Mode to shut down everything running in the background. Ah, success (we thought). We were able to uninstall only 2 components, and there were yet 3 more that would not be uninstalled. So we did some Googling, and found a blog who had posted a method to manually uninstall this big monster from the PC. We deleted all the folders from Program Files, then proceeded to clean out the keys in the Registry.

Keep in mind, this was not the first time Fonzie and I had done similar processes to our own computers for other reasons, similar to this (programs that were rather difficult to remove due to damaged parts, etc).

After about 3 hours at it, time to reboot. The computer would NOT REBOOT. It got stuck in a loop at the Safe Mode Boot Screen. We were unable to load to previous known working spot, or in safe mode, or boot normally, etc.


So, after mulling it over for a bit, Fonzie and I suggested that we bring Ralph's computer back to my place where we could hook it up as a slave to my PC, to retrieve his files (hindsight - should have backed these up to start with ). This was something Fonzie and I had also previously done successfully due to a crashed system. We're thinking "no sweat". WRONG AGAIN.

We hooked the slave up to my PC and low and behold, we opened File Explorer and the drive wasn't there. "Bad connection," you're thinking...we didn't plug it in, right?. WRONG again. We checked the Device Manager, and the drive was being recognized, but it was grayed and all change options were disabled. WHY? WHY? WHY?

So, then we're thinking, use the install disk to repair Windows, except our friend Ralph, has Windows XP Media Center Edition. The master operating system disk does not allow a non-destructive repair. It will only reformat over the top of everything, systematically, wiping out any and all saved and important data. So, next idea, we'll use a plain XP disk (Fonzie had one for his PC) to repair it. This disk was also unable to recognize the hard drive. It labeled it as Operating System "Unknown". AAAAACK!

Keep in mind we started this little escapade at about 3pm at Ralph's house. We are now at my house and approaching the wee hours of morning all ragged and almost out of ideas. So, we finally decide to take an extra blank hard drive I had on hand and put it in Ralph's computer. We loaded the Media Center op system onto this hard drive in hopes of finding another idea and direction to take. We finally decided that GoBack was the reason for all of the chaos. Evidently, GoBack is designed to hide your hard drive from any software based on the idea that if a virus can't see the drive, it cannot infect it. However, it also makes it impossible to do anything else with it either. Finally after some tinkering, Fonzie and I were maxed and went to bed.

Based on this new discovery, hubby and Ralph decided to get GoBack and put it on the test Blank Drive now loaded in Ralph's computer. They wiped out before they got it done. Ralph went home. Next morning, we get started again and hubby and Ralph got this program reloaded. We then plugged the broken drive back into the new drive as a slave and low and behold - it was now ABLE to read it, because we now had a drive with GoBack that could recognize the hidden drive.

SUCCESS - FOR REAL THIS TIME. We dragged all of Ralph's files to an external hard drive for safe keeping. Then we unplugged the new drive and replaced Ralph's broken drive into the tower. Then we reformatted and reloaded the op system without the Norton System Works. Then we dragged the files back to Ralph's computer from the external hard drive and all is well.

Time elapsed from beginning to fix: 34 1/2 hours.

I share this in hopes to help someone else save their precious files. We saved 40 GIG worth of personal files, photographs, videos and college papers. After doing some searching on the web, I found reviews on Norton GoBack where several people were disappointed because they went through the same process, but were not nearly as blessed as we, and lost everything on their computers.

Now if you already have Norton System Works and/or Norton GoBack on your computer and you are experiencing some troubles and wish to uninstall, I recommend the following steps.

1. BACK UP YOUR FILES to an external hard drive, floppy disks or another computer.

2. Attempt to uninstall if you wish, but we don't see this as being a successful venture. If you'd like more opinions on this, check CNET and Amazon for more user reviews on this product.

3. If your uninstall is successful, then you're one ahead of us. Good for you.

If not, then at this point, if you have saved your files - you can fdisk, or reformat or reinstall the op system the best way you know how. Then you can replace your files and you're done.

4. If you have already tried the uninstall and you DID NOT SAVE YOUR FILES, all is not lost yet.

Get another hard drive that nobody is using. Replace your broken drive with this hard drive and load your op system.

Then plug the broken drive into this PC as a slave and install Norton System Works (including GoBack).

At this point, you should be able to retrieve your files.

If you've followed all of these steps and are unable to fix your problem and retrieve your files, you may have to give up or hire a pro.

I hope this helps.


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disclaimer:  caution must be taken when reading my blog.  i'm a new creature and the Lord continues to mold and shape me through his will.  older entries may seem to contradict the newer ones.  there's a pretty good chance that they do for two reasons.  first, because of my nature, as i strive for perfection, i will continue to fall short of the mark and should therefore be thankful for his grace and should seek his (and your) forgiveness for having been so foolish in the past.   second, i continue to grow in him; and as changes are made, i have made attempts to change my blog to reflect those changes. in this event, please refer to #1.   if you're interested in perfection, my blog isn't the place to be.  pick up a king james bible (yup, i'm one of THOSE people) and read his PERFECT word.