Protect Yourself From Tech Support Scams
July 29, 2020
Protect Yourself From Tech Support Scams
Tech support scams are an industry-wide issue where scammers trick you into paying for unnecessary
technical support services. You can help protect yourself from scammers by verifying that the contact is a
Microsoft Agent or
Microsoft Employee and that the phone number is an
Microsoft global customer service number.
Was the issue preceded by a power interruption, aborted restart, or improper shutdown? (this includes plug pulling, power buttons, removing the battery, etc.)
I don't see how the Microsoft engaged Support Engineer "expert" advice to use the Windows XP CD on a laptop that has no CD drive is going to help you, but at least there is a link to a Microsoft KB article in the reply and you do not need to use an external
CD drive if your system is capable of booting from a USB device.
The expectation that you can just copy the XP CD to a jump drive and expect your system to boot on that exceeds reality and I don't think the Microsoft engaged "experts" know how to do stuff like that since there is no KB article about it.
Since we don't know anything about your laptop, like the make and model and if it is even capable of booting from a USB device, I can tell you how to make a bootable USB drive that has the Hiren's Boot CD on it and from there, you can run a disk check with
error correction on your afflicted HDD.
I am going to recommend you use Hiren's boot CD (it will also go on a USB drive).
This is good for you because it has many more tools on it that on the XP Recovery Console CD and you will not have to futz around in your BIOS if any afflicted system has SATA drives - Hiren's can deal with that.
You will have a whole bunch of cool tools that you don't have in the XP Recovery Console... a registry editor, password resetter, and a desktop that looks like Windows XP so you will feel comfortable maneuvering.
From a working system, first download Hiren's Boot CD from here (it is a substantial download but worth it):
When using RUFUS I will caution you to be careful that you don't accidentally format any of your hard drives - be sure your USB stick is in and know what the drive letter is! This part always makes me a little nervous, so be careful.
Launch RUFUS and all the defaults should be okay, for the Device, choose your USB drive letter, Quick format, FAT32, label it if you want to and in the Format options box, click the little icon that looks like a CD and a window will open. Navigate that dialogue
to point to the folder that contains the Hiren's.BootCD.15.1.iso that you unzipped earlier and the box should change to say ISO image (RUFUS understands the Hiren's ISO file).
Double check you have the right Device selected in the top (NOT you HDD) Click Start, acknowledge the warning and let it finish (it will take a little while) as it copies the files. The Hiren's ISO is also good size.
When RUFUS is done, it will say 'DONE' in the bottom.
Put the USB stick in the afflicted machine and reset/reboot and press whatever key you need to press to get to a boot menu where you can select the USB as the first boot device (that is F11 for me). If you don't see a boot menu choice, you will have to adjust
your BIOS to boot from the USB first instead of the HDD.
When the Hiren's menu comes up, choose the Mini XP Mode and it will start loading (slowly from a USB drive) and eventually you should see a Windowsy looking desktop. You should recognize that part and feel comfortable, but it is not your desktop - it is the
Remember: You did not boot on your hard disk - you booted into the Hiren's desktop.
Double click My Computer, and right click your afflicted HDD, Properties, Tools, Error Checking, Check Now, put a check mark in the first box Automatically fix file system errors and click Start... then wait a while for it to finish which could take a long
time, so be patient.
You can always run it again if you think you need to.
Then you can close all that stuff, click Start in the Hiren's Taskbar and restart your computer and see if it will now boot on the HDD.
If not, start over and you might need to check the disk again and include the Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors option (check both boxes).
Hopefully that will get you going.
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