Clean Install
July 17, 2004 12:15 AM   Subscribe

A friend of mine has a really fucked up computer that was invaded by spyware and viruses via Kazaa and other trojan horse programs. The only way to fix it at this point is to nuke the entire hard drive and re-install everything.

The only thing he wants to save that's already on the computer - which is a 20 gig Gateway laptop - is a couple of movies he's got on it.

He's read somewhere that there are 800mb CDs out there somewhere, mostly in Great Britain.

His question is: are 800mb CDs available in the United States? Does anyone know where to order CDs with that capacity that can be ordered domestically?

Answers about compression or anything technical about diminishing the quality of the files will not be understood, and thanks in advance.
posted by interrobang to Computers & Internet (12 answers total)
You could just as easily use a file splitting/archiving utility to break the file into multiple pieces, burn them onto normal CD-Rs, and re-assemble once the reformatted machine is complete. RAR compression is a common format for executing such a plan.
posted by Danelope at 12:27 AM on July 17, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks, but neither my friend nor I know how to do that; if you can tell us in *very simple* terms how to do it, we'd really appreciate it, though.

He really just wants to know how to purchase some kind of magical very large CDs domestically so that he can get the whole things onto single disks without paying international shipping costs.
posted by interrobang at 12:33 AM on July 17, 2004

Why doesn't your friend borrow a DVD drive?
posted by rdr at 12:55 AM on July 17, 2004

Response by poster: He has no access to one.
posted by interrobang at 12:57 AM on July 17, 2004

It's easy enough to find vendors of "90-minute/800MB" CD-Rs (Google; eBay). As for burning them, it depends on your drive. I think that a DVD burner should be able to handle the technical requirements of 800Mb discs, but don't quote me on that. Reading that disc on another computer may prove to be the real sticking point. But yeah, why not just go with a DVD-R instead?

On second thought, I would do this. Get software like Partition Magic, and create a separate data drive D:. PM lets you do it dynamically, with your data in place (but feel free to pray). Put stuff he wants to save on D:. Then format C: and have at it.
posted by dhartung at 1:01 AM on July 17, 2004

Can your friend connect his computer to another machine via LAN, copy the files over quickly?

Also, you have tried Lavasoft Ad-Aware 6 right? That could help immediately. Then give it Panda Anti-Virus online scan.

If you are totally screwed or your friend doesn't have a LAN card, get a Laptop Drive adapter for your computer.
posted by Keyser Soze at 1:04 AM on July 17, 2004

Don't burn it onto an 800Mb CD. These are unreliable, they don't work in all burners, and you'll probably lose the movies.

1. A program like Partition Magic will allow you to create a separate partition (like a separate hard drive) on the laptop. You'll then be able to copy the movies onto this new hard drive, and then re-install windows without losing the movies.

2. Handy Backup will allow you to easily back your movies up onto three CDs, and then restore them later.

3. If you've got an iPod (or other big Disc music player), then copy the files to this, zap the PC, and then copy them back.
posted by seanyboy at 1:46 AM on July 17, 2004

Be sure to have everything program you intend to install already organized and backed up. This may seem a little obvious, but many times I've heard from friends who need to "borrow" a copy of some program or other because they got fed up with their unstable computers and "nuked" them before ensuring they had the requisite drivers for their system (LAN, Video, Sound, and motherboard drivers) or commonly used software (Office, FireFox, etc.)

Also, your friend should really think about a DVD-R. You can get the amazingly fantastic, superbly reliable dual-format (CDR and DVDR) Lite-On 411S for something like $50 nowadays. The 8x version (the 812) can be had for $79 at That's, like, 55 Euros or something.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:42 AM on July 17, 2004

If it's only for a one-time backup (and you plan on copying the files back, after the laptop is up and running again), Nero (and other software I assume) will allow you to burn data onto a normal 700 MB cd-r as Mode2 giving you 800 MB of space (at the cost of reliable error-correction...).
Be absolutely sure not to scratch-or-otherwise-damage the cd after burning :O

posted by yeoz at 9:33 AM on July 17, 2004

...which is a 20 gig Gateway laptop...

...Also, your friend should really think about a DVD-R. You can get the amazingly fantastic, superbly reliable dual-format (CDR and DVDR) Lite-On 411S for something like $50 nowadays...

Add at least US $50 for an external firewire/USB case to make the drive laptop-compatible. While looking at DVD drives, take some time to consider the new dual-layer drives. Two 8.5 GB discs may be enough to backup your whole laptop.
posted by Kwantsar at 9:39 AM on July 17, 2004

One more voice to add to the "get-a-DVD-drive" choir. If it's a financial concern or a "I-don't-want-to- be-stuck-with-hardware-I-don't-need" thing, a lot of stores like Best Buy and Staples will allow no-questions-asked returns of products like DVD burners within 14 days. Whether one should take advantage of such a policy is an ethical problem you'll have to think through on your own (but if you're going to do it, be sure to be 100% sure that the store will allow a return without a re-stocking fee or any similar problems).
And for that matter, going out of your way to try and frequent that store the next time you're shopping for something they sell may help set your karma right (or not).
posted by Sinner at 1:02 PM on July 17, 2004

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