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Not sure where to post this, so if made a mistake, sorry, and please re-post it in the proper forum. My laptop(Windows 10) was fine when I closed it down the other night, then the next day, trouble. Saw the following message on my screen: "Boot Device Not Found.  Please install an operating system on your hard disk. HARD DISK (3FO)." "SMART Hard Disk Error--The SMART hard disk check has detected an imminent failure. To ensure no data loss, please back up the content immediately and run the hard disk test in System Diagnostics(F2)." "No hard drive installed. Please check power and data cables are connected properly". 

I cannot do ANYTHING with the machine. Cannot log in, sign in, nothing. This is only my opinion, but I believe I have been seriously hacked and my hard drive was either removed or taken over. Unfortunately, I do not have a backup made of my system, but after this,  it will be the FIRST thing I do.

Do you think this is fixable? It is way over my head. Haven't called the shop yet about it...wanted to see what you guys think first and maybe something to try and help me with this, but it sounds very bad to me.

I did nothing "unusual" prior to this happening, such as downloading anything, etc. It just greeted me first thing the next day. I am quite upset.

Please tell me what you think. If I have been hacked and need to get a new machine, I am going to invest heavily in security. I am SICK of being hacked over the years and I follow security precautions, have downloaded highly recommended products to catch malware, etc. and yet it still keeps happening to me.

Thank you in advance.

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46 minutes ago, jek1234 said:

Thank you in advance.

You have not been hacked most likely. Hard drives can die either slow or bam its dead.

You might look into a local repair shop if you do not have the skills to physically replace a drive and install Windows.

What brand and exact model is this computer?? We might be able to point you to some Manufacturers tools on the system to do a drive diagnostic.

Edited by Porthos
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Can I re-post this topic on other computer forums for other opinions? Last time I did that, I got into trouble. I would like to re-post on other forums for additional responses, without this topic getting shut down. Can I do this, or how can I do this without violating any Malwarebytes forum policy. Thanks.

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11 minutes ago, jek1234 said:

Can I re-post this topic on other computer forums for other opinions? Last time I did that, I got into trouble. I would like to re-post on other forums for additional responses, without this topic getting shut down. Can I do this, or how can I do this without violating any Malwarebytes forum policy. Thanks.

Too many people throwing suggestions at you can cause issues. That is why this and many other forums have such a policy.


16 hours ago, jek1234 said:

Haven't called the shop yet about it..

I HIGHLY suggest taking it to a local shop. There is a good chance you will have to have the drive replaced and have to reinstall Windows and hopefully the shop can back up your data as well if it has not been encrypted or lost by the crash and require expensive data recovery. The more you try to mess with it on your own the less of a chance your data can be recoverable.

This is not something that can be easily done with forum help.

Hope I have sufficiently warned now to the consequences. I have been fixing computers fo about 20 years now, please take my advice.

Not everything can be fixed for free at home.


Edited by Porthos
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OK, brother thanks for the information, warnings, and advice. Just so you know, I don't expect things to be fixed for free at home, I know sometimes you just have to give it up to the shop, and from what you are saying, that appears my situation. But I have used forums like this for over 20 years and got almost 90% of my problems fixed(for free). So why not try, right? Or at least get some insight into the problem. A few more question: Is there a chance, just from the information I have given you, that the computer is dead and I will HAVE to buy another? Or better yet, what do you think my chances of this are getting it fixed? Plus there's the issue of the repair bill versus just getting a new laptop for about $270(at WalMart).  Thanks for your time.


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You probably just need a new drive.

2 minutes ago, jek1234 said:

getting a new laptop for about $270(at WalMart)

Think twice about getting a new laptop anywhere at that price. That is also from experience.

Laptops at that price point are usually slow out of the box.

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Does this sound like an "expensive" repair, as computer shop repairs go, in general? I know you don't know exactly what is wrong from the wording, which is all the information I can give you. Sure would like to get into that F2 System Diagnostics as it instructs me, but nothing happens when I click F and 2, unfortunately. Any other combination of letters/numbers to maybe get "inside" and find out some more information? I doubt it, but just asking. I talked to another guy tonight who said it sounds like my hard drive just "went" or is in the process of "going", but nothing more than that. He did think it was fixable, that I do not have to buy a new PC. That is a relief. I hope it turns out to be true. This is an HP laptop Model 15. Only had, I guess, 3 or 4 years. Can hard drives burn out that quickly? We don't do much with it. I sure thought it was a hacker at first, but most have told me that is unlikely, but it is possible. I will be certain to backup my system THIS time. I have never done it, but this experience will stop the procrastination.  

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4 hours ago, jek1234 said:

Can hard drives burn out that quickly?

Yes, especially with laptops. I replace more laptop drives than desktops drives on a yearly basis.


4 hours ago, jek1234 said:

Does this sound like an "expensive" repair, as computer shop repairs go, in general?

There is no general. It all depends on where you live and where you go.

4 hours ago, jek1234 said:

but nothing happens when I click F and 2, unfortunately.

HP computers usually respond to the ESC key to open a menu that will have a diagnostic option.

HP computers include a diagnostic software tool that tests your computer's hardware for errors. Follow the steps below to run HP Diagnostics.

  1. Restart the computer.

 2. As the computer boots, press the ESC key when the HP Splash Screen appears.

 3. When the Startup menu appears, press F2 to enter System Diagnostics.

  • System Information: Shows information such as hardware installed and BIOS version.
  • Start-up Test: A quick, high level test of the system.
  • Run-In Test: A stress test to verify stability of system components.
  • Hard Disk Test: Test the hard drive for problems. First it will run a quick test and then a SMART test. This test will take approximately two hours to finish.
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I'd also suggest getting an SSD (ask the PC repair tech about it, he/she will know what it is and should be able to quote you a price) if you do end up needing to replace the drive.  It's a different type of drive that is much faster than older hard drives, and modern SSDs are very robust and last a very long time, even longer than most hard drives are built to last, especially considering laptop drives tend to get jostled around/moved during operation which can certainly cause damage to a regular hard drive due to its moving parts; an issue SSDs do not suffer from since they contain no moving parts.  SSDs are also MUCH faster than regular hard drives, especially the cheaper/slower 5400RPM laptop drives that ship in most older and less pricey laptops.  These days you can get a decent size SSD for a reasonable price and you will notice the difference if you have never used one before.  Your system boot times alone will be way shorter, likely lasting a matter of a few seconds to get to your desktop from pressing the power button.  Programs may also load much faster as well, especially larger applications such as most modern games which can be massive in size.

As for cost, I wouldn't imagine installation of a new drive into a laptop would be very expensive so it shouldn't cost you too much.

Edited by exile360
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  • 2 weeks later...

OK, an update. Finally got this thing fixed by the shop. Took forever because they were working less hours due to the virus.

They replaced the hard drive and put in a new copy of Windows 10. It cost me $100, with $75 of that coming from the labor.

Everything seems fine now. Only question I have someone can walk me through. They gave it back to me with their own user with some unknown password, as when I log in it just goes in without me doing anything. I don't like this, and want to change the user name to my name and to put in a good strong password.

Can someone walk me through the steps to do this. I would appreciate it. Thanks.

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15 minutes ago, jek1234 said:

I don't like this, and want to change the user name to my name and to put in a good strong password.

You will need to create a new user account, promote it to administrator and then log into the new user account and then delete the account they setup.

The link is a tutorial from my favorite Windows 10 help /tutorial site. There are lots of guides there to do anything you want with Windows 10.

They also good at helping with 10 issues not related to malware removal.



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