Thankfully I encounter Win XP PCs rarely enough that I forget how to find my way around them.
Here are few of the tricks that I am using as I try and recover a heavily infected PC for my in-laws.
1. Reboot the PC while holding down the F8 key will let you select Safe Mode, Safe Mode with Network and other non-standard boot modes.
2. Windows hides a lot of files from regular users. To reveal everything go to a Folder and then Tools, Folder Options and View.
In the list of options that are shown, you want to Check 'Hidden files and filders' -> 'Show hidden files and folders' and 'Display the contents of system folders' and you want to UnCheck 'Hide protected operating system files'
3. Start up a Command Shell either by the Start Menu -> Accessories -> Command Prompt, or Start Menu -> Run and enter cmd.exe.
The cmd shell is a basic DOS (yes, really) shell. Type 'help' for options. 'dir' lists the contents of a directory, 'cd' moves you around. 'del' deletes a file.
'cd' has a pseudo-auto-complete function. Enter 'cd "' (cd space double quote) and then tab will cycle through the options.
4. From the command shell:
'ipconfig' shows your IP address etc.
'netstat -am' shows the network services in use.
5. Ctrl-Alt-Del brings up a window with the running applications and processes, which is useful for spotting rogue processes.
I really hope that you, and more importantly I, never have to use this knowledge again...
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