Norton out-of-business indeed...
Forgive me, but how difficult would it be to go, say, even to a public computer in a library and check up on that one?
It's true there are a lot of charlatans out there. I can't even imagine *why* people would use someone who spreads this sort of FUD ... I suppose the problem is that in the service market in larger areas there are way too many people to track down references on them all.
However, as to the "reformat shouldn't happen" argument --- there comes a point at which, sad to say, this needs to be done. It's usually an economic issue ... when I've done upwards of four hours of fighting with a box, it's about time, because the client will end up "upside down" in their computer ... having paid more to fix the issue "the right way" than a simple "flattening" (as Microsoft calls it).
We backup all data on each machine we flatten and restore it if possible or make it available to the client in other ways. Find out if your repair center does this ... get it IN WRITING. However, the best strategy is to back the dang thing up yourself, if your system is operable, before the disaster occurs, or before sending it for repair.
There's one other issue, and that is that a box that has been compromised can never be said to be secure again with 100% certainty ... I can't do that honestly. I can say it's "very likely" that they won't have any problems. With a reformat and reinstall, I can give them an Ivory-pure guarantee.
As for my personal boxen, since switching to a UNIX-like desktop in 2003, I've had less than zero security issues. I've fixed a lot of issues on Windows boxes though, and, on occasion, flattened a few ,,, usually because it made more economic sense to do so than to continue fighting with a box that we could never be 100% was secure.
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