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My laptop caught a virus. So I tried to reinstall the whole OS. But it keeps failing, says Windows cannot copy files and the installation is cancelled.

Now I can't even boot the computer. It keeps failing at the Windows logo.

I have another hard drive from my other laptop.

If I connect that to this laptop, will the operating system from that just boot as normal or is the OS and files stored somewhere else in addition to the HD and therefore operating systems cannot be moved?

EDIT

Thanks guys for the responses. When asking this I forgot the fact that the hard drive connector I had worked via a usb, so it would be useless on a computer that wasn't booting. I was in a panic when asking the question so it didn't come to mind.

Anyway I'm glad to report that all is working now. Here's what happened:

  • for the past few weeks I would notice my fans go real loud and my laptop get heated, then there would be a blue screen with the message that the computer was shut down to prevent damage to my system.

I couldn't figure out why this would happen since I wouldn't be doing anything that intensive to cause the cpu to get overworked like that. It was as if someone was using my cpu cycles to power a botnet or something.

  • another thing that would happen was when I searched something on google and clicked a link it would take me to some random ad. I have adblock installed so I would just see a blank page but the url indicated that it was an ad. Then if I googled the same term again and clicked on the link it would take me to the right site.

  • the last straw came when I started to hear auditory ads when there was no running programs on my machine. At that point I knew for sure I had a virus. So I uninstalled AVG and installed Avira and right away Avira started to popup messages saying it blocked this url and that url every 2 seconds. All these urls were ad urls.

When I tried to do scans with Avira my system crashed every time and blue screen. I managed to run scans in safe mode with both Avira and Malwarebytes and removed the infections but when I would start again in regular mode the same crashes happened and Avira telling me it blocked this and that url.

Finally I decided to reinstall and backed up my files on my external hard drive.

Then came a whole new slew of problems. Long story short I was unable to reinstall the OS and couldn't even access safe mode for a while. Finally I was able to install a old copy of windows vista. And from there a copy of Windows 7.

Now here's the funny part, after booting up my brand new copy of Windows 7 which was installed on a formatted HDD FYI, I once again was told by Avira that the same urls were being blocked. Luckily this time there were no crashes.

Then I tried TDSKiller:

http://support.kaspersky.com/faq/?qid=208283363

And did a scan with it. It found the infection and asked me to reboot to complete the cure. And since I rebooted no more alerts from Avira and things are running smooth. I have no idea how this virus survived a formatted hard disk and OS reinstall and keep in mind that I haven't even moved my old files from the external hard drive yet. But the TDSkiller seems to have fixed the issue.

Thanks again for the support.

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It will start to boot however you won't be able to login as depending on the differences in hardware between the 2 laptops, Windows will throw the blue screen of death. Also it depends on the sort of license you have for Windows. I know that volume licenses don't suffer the same fate as single licenses. –  PeanutsMonkey May 23 '12 at 18:59
    
It may help to post some more info about how you have gone about re-installing windows because of the virus issue - it may be easier to resolve that issue than your idea of swapping hard drives. –  BJ292 May 23 '12 at 19:02
    
@JakeRow123 - Hopefully you backed up your files. If you didn't you could attempt to use a Linux LiveCD to boot into the laptop and copy the data across to a USB stick or an external harddrive. I would then run an antivirus across the external medium just to make sure that none of the files are infected. –  PeanutsMonkey May 23 '12 at 19:04
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2 Answers

Actually you will have two problems(that I know) when changing OS HD to another computer:

  1. If your hardware(mainboard, video, network and perpheals) were not exactly the same(or exactly compatible :D) your Windows drivers will try to open with the older one already installed and will return a error saying that you must install a driver for a specific component. The worst case here is a BSOD(blue screen of death) because some driver malfunctioning or even because IDE/AHCI Bios configuration problem(if your old machine was with IDE and the new one is AHCI your system will not boot-up unless you change a windows registry key on it).
  2. Your Windows license will be "invalidated" on the new machine. When windows detects you drastically changed your hardware(and BIOS mainly) it will ask you to re-enter the activation key. The worst case here is getting the message "your Windows is not autentical"(on my case even inserting my authentic activation key it keeps asking intermittently).

On your specific case I reccomend you using another computer with another SO booted(Windows or Linux), copy and backup all your personal data on another device(could be an external HDD, flash drive or DVD) then reinstall Windows on your machine, I mean, you would need to erase all your HDD, format and the reinstall another clean instalation of Windows on it.

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If that is your only hd in the other laptop, then everything should be there.

However, unless the hw is identical, you will run into several problems.

  1. hw drivers may not be installed or configured properly.

  2. windows license may get invalidated

  3. sometimes it will even blue screen of death.

except for 3, the other problems are mostly fixable. you can try it. the closer the 2 laptops are the better chance you have. otherwise reinstall os is cleaner in your case.

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