At least now it gets as far as the windows home edition screen, where it quickly switches to a flash of blue with white words on it for a split second that I can't make pause to read. And then it reboots. On in finitum.
I'm trying to avoid using the repair function fixmbr on my partitioned harddrive cuz I'd hate to lose all my programs just like that. The warning sounds ominous. (Update: fixmbr done, but to no avail.) I've saved my data files, but programs and drivers are such a pain to reinstall when I can find all the disks that windows asks for.
My plea for help at Belmont Club resulted in the following advice:
I’m training to become a computer forensic examiner and I think this is a pretty good explanation on how to remove a boot sector virus: http://www.wikihow.com/Remove-a-Boot-Sector-Virus
Four things the wiki leaves out: 1) Depending on the os, it is possible to boot from a flash drive instead of a floppy; 2) you should be very wary of saving any executables but if you do, scan them for viruses; 3) There are third party wiping tools available including (free) dban from sourceforge.net; 4) your computer may have been compromised by removable media – scan all that you own for viruses.
You must consider all your internet passwords compromised. Reset them. Going forward, use firefox with the keyscrambling extension as your browser – everyone should. If you need help have someone post it here and I will try to give you a timely response. Good Luck.
I can't easily post at BC right now, so I'll respond to Veneto here in hopes he sees it.
I'm not certain my problem was caused by a virus. My virus checker hasn't found anything. I'm not certain if it CAN search the boot sector until it goes through the process of rebooting, and, of course, it's not been able to do that.
The thing about the fix at the link you sent me to is that it recommends doing a complete low level reformatting of the disk. Why not just throw the disk away and buy a new one? It would save one hell of a lot of time and grief.
The whole reason to save the harddrive would be to try and save what is on it and is still usable, no?