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    hard disk problem caused by malware?

      I apologize if this is not the right forum to address my problems.



      Disclaimer: I am a Mac user without much technical knowledge. I use a PC at work and we have a couple at home.


      We bought a Toshiba laptop a few months ago with Windows 7 and put McAfee Plus on it. We have been buying McAfee for the past 5-6 years since we felt Norton was bogging down the PCs.


      We got a message saying Windows detected a hard disk problem and it told us to backup our files and contact the manufacturer to see if it needed repair or replacement. My wife backed up and called Toshiba. They walked through it with her, took over the computer, ran some program and said there were serious registry problems caused by a rogue virus. We said we had McAfee and they said they had a large increase in problems with computers protected by McAfee. They recommended we sign up with Microsoft for some type of Windows protector? for $170 and then $80 a year and if we did we could then delve further into the problem with the technical people. I asked if doing a fresh reinstallation of Windows or just replacing the hard drive would fix the problems and they said neither would be a sure fix because the virus had screwed up the registry throughout the computer. (this may not be verbatim since it was translated through my wife who was on the phone with them)


      I went on your website and learned more about the differences between viruses and malware. I admit we have gotten the fake alerts before but I had thought that if I did not click them, I was safe. Did not realize that meant I was already infected. Tried to find Singer but could not access the McAfee website. Finally found it on CNet. I ran stinger in the safe mode, restarted and got the same hard drive warning so I ran it again as suggested. It left a text message indicating the number of clean files. There is also a .opt file but couldn't open that. Restarted and still get the same warning.


      Could someone answer a few questions based on this info?



      Hard drive damaged or not? If so, caused by virus/malware?


      Are the registry issues fixable by me or a professional? Would a reinstall of Windows 7 or changing the hard drive fix the issues?


      Since we never saw these type problems running XP; is Windows 7 more vulnerable to either malware & viruses or more prone to registry problems?


      The more I read on the net the more I wonder if our old PC was bogging down because of registry problems and could I have dealt with that rather than buy another computer. Once this is dealt with; is there something I should run on a regular basis to keep things aligned?



      Any help would be appreciated. Words with one syllable are not necessary but...

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