Well I have a virus on my Dell laptop. I dont hold any information of importance on there that I dont have on an external hard drive. Last time this happened I took it to Geek Squad and paid close to $200 to "reboot" my computer back to it's original settings when the laptop was brand new. Can I just do this on my own?
Please any help, dont have $$$ to fork in to it right now.
Rebooting XP isn't going to make the virus go away. In theory you could reformat XP but that is an extreme measure that might not be needed. You might be able to get rid of the virus just by using antivirus tools which are free.
I've never heard of rebooting an OS. Like ixcuincle said, try some anti-virus programs. Avast is free, AVG I think is free, Microsoft even offers a free anti-virus program if you have a genuine copy of Windows (aka, non-pirated version). Your ISP might even offer some anti-virus program for free. I know Comcast offers Norton's for free but I still use Microsoft's anti-virus since it's not such a resource hog.
If there's nothing really on your laptop of much importance, you can reformat. I usually reformat when I get a virus because it's just easier than dealing finding the virus and if you can't remove it, you'll have to reformat anyway. Just look up some internet tutorial if you haven't done it, it's easy, it's just time consuming.
Can you open the Task Manager? (Ctrl+Alt+Delete) If so, kill any programs you don't recognize...
When you start your PC, mash F8 or F10(or whatever key it is for your system) before it boots to get into the "choose boot mode" screen, where you should select Safe Mode. Once you startup in Safe Mode, try control panel, add/remove, etc....
After that, try "Safe Mode + Networking", and head over to www.firefox.com, because IE is a virus-attractor like nobody's business..
edit: Since you can obviously get to the Web to post here, download the aforementioned programs(Avast, Firefox, Antivirus, etc) and save em to a Flash drive or disk/cd, that way you can install em on the laptop without using the Net)
yes I am in task manager now using safe mode. When I go to processes, there are about 12 items running, I dont know any of them, but I ended the process on the one that kept popping up on my screen... and .exe file.
right now i am using another computer to type this stuff....
If you still need help fixing your PC you can pm me on HF and I can help you out. I know often times places like bestbuy try to take advantage of people due to their lack of computer knowledge. I can either give you a list of things to try doing or even do a remote in to fix your situation. (You mentioned you didn't have any private info/etc on your PC hence the offer. Normally I wouldn't as for obvious reasons, most people would be a bit worried letting a random HFer do a remote support session with their box )
Either way, you know where to find me if you need help with anything virus or windows related, and I extend that offer to anyone on HF who needs help in the future.