Can it boot into Safe mode or a command prompt? If so, you may get by with downloading the appropriate service pack, burn a cd of it and use it on her machine.
Best of luck, Mike
No, unfortunately by the time I found out what was happening most of the system files were quarantined and it never get's past a black screen with mouse cursor, even in safe mode. No logon, nothing.
I've run the repair console from an F8 boot and it can't find any issues using the automatic startup fixer, not can it find any restore points. I can get a command prompt, so I've tried running a couple of tools provided by Malware Bytes, but they've made no difference.
I'm running Vista Ultimate 32bit on a Dell Studio box, but the Windows folder looks like it would choke just creating a compressed folder (16+Gb). I dont see a SysWow (view hidden's enabled) with a quick look
From the command prompt, copy her tax files. She is going to need to reinstall TurboTax or whatever she is using for taxes because the registry is going to be hosed. From a command prompt I can get to both my TT files and QuickBook files.
Install whatever she needs application wise on another computer (you have an older Toshiba laptop, right?). Then she can at least do that stuff while hers is out of commission.
Just another thought...
I would still see if from a command prompt I could use the service packs. Might be able to get in further in any case.
I've pulled the drive again and installed it as an external on aother machine, and I don't see a SysWow here, either. There's probabluy a gazillion things in the Windows folder I don't need, probably even in the System and Sytem 32 folders, but I figure better to have too much than too little.
If you have the ime and inclination to try to make a copy of the whole thing, great, or maybe just the System and System32 folders, and the loose executable suff from the Windows main folder. If you can make a zip, I can send you an upload link that can accept it.
Mike, I'm hoping I can get it to boot and run system restore, or maybe get one of the tools from Malware bytes to work after it boots. I have a full image of things as they are, and she has Carbonite, so I'm not worried too much about data loss, but if I have to spend hours rebuilding the OS and reinstalling software I think we'll junk the machine in favor of something running Windows 7. This HP is a real dog -- nothing but trouble for years.