Stupid question:

 

We have a laptop that needs to have everything wiped.  It's full of viruses and overwhelmed with programs.  It also has some family photos on it that are not saved elsewhere.  The computer place will back them up for $50 or so.

I have an external HD and can save the pics to it myself and save myself some money.  However, I have no idea if the viruses in the laptop would infect the HD.  Is that possible? 


TIA


Comments (Page 1)
on Jun 26, 2009

Depends on what sort of virus it is, but yes, that'd be very possible if the machine is still infected right now.

on Jun 26, 2009

Better to just pay and let them do the backing up then?

on Jun 26, 2009

It's easiest for a anyone responding to this topic to say, "Yes have that other person do it." because it absolves a responder here of any guilty feelings that might come up if you or they bork the job and you lose your important data/files/photos.

But the real answer is that you need to determine this for yourself, because you know whether or not you can ascertain your system/files are clean *before* migrating the files to your external HD.

If you cannot do that - if you can't feel confident that you can clean up the system prior to backup - then sure, you should probably go to someone that can provide such gaurantee.

 

I do note that you say they offer to do the backup for $50.  That's not a bad price, but it doesn't indicate anything at all about taking steps and doing the work to ensure your system is free of the virus/malware/issues.  I would expect that service to cost significantly more.

on Jun 26, 2009

No, I can't feel confident that I can clean the system, LOL.

The $50 (give or take) is in addition to the $80-$100 fee to clean the system up and get it back to being usable again.  Sorry, I should have made that clear.

on Jun 26, 2009

No, I can't feel confident that I can clean the system, LOL.

 

I think that gives you your answer.  If the data (photos, in your case) are important and ultimately cannot be replaced, then it's probably 50 bucks well-spent.  Hopefully, they know what they're doing and you will come out of this with your stuff intact.

on Jun 26, 2009

well why dont you just scan the pictures with an anti virus and if they come up clean move them yourself....then do a reformatt on the drive that'll wipe out the viruses...or it should from my past experiences...saves you ALL that money....the only thing they are gonna do is what you yourself could but they are gonna charge you for it....goodluck ...i just had a 320 gig external crash on me with all my goodies

on Jun 26, 2009

Wahine,

Use a flash drive and only backup the document file and pictures to it. Then you can use a machine which has an anti-virus program on it already and scan the flash drive for any virus. If something is there most anti-virus programs will delete or contain the virus. This is depending on the virus. Here is a very good tool to use on the computer with the virus and on the flash drive after you have transferred your documents to it. Follow all the instructions to the letter.

http://vil.nai.com/vil/stinger/

I have had very good results with this way of removing what is my documents from an infected machine.

If you need other help please contact me... I'll be glad to help you with anything you need to get things working again.

on Jun 26, 2009

I would put the infected machine online. Reboot in safe mode with networking. Go to trend micro and run housecall. Presto the machine is clean!

on Jun 26, 2009

I'm with Kona, reboot in safemode and clean the sucker or scan then move the files to the drive. Honestly I have never had any problems doing that but then I do know a lot about PC's. If paying makes you feel better and safer, i say go for it, so long as you know it's a pro with some kind of garantee. Just a thought. If I was there i would do it for free or $20 at most.

BTW, nice to see you around. Been a long time since I've seen you name.

on Jun 26, 2009

Just wanted to add that SDtinger is old and willnot eliminate the newer worms out there.

on Jun 26, 2009

Yeah I would go with the flash drive option... if the infected computer still boots, fire it up and put the jpeg images onto a flash. The odds on any virus following the transfer of your pics to that flash drive are slim to none. Then just wipe the drive with kill disc to start with an unallocated and fresh drive. Don't waste your money.

on Jun 26, 2009

Anthony R
Yeah I would go with the flash drive option... if the infected computer still boots, fire it up and put the jpeg images onto a flash. The odds on any virus following the transfer of your pics to that flash drive are slim to none. Then just wipe the drive with kill disc to start with an unallocated and fresh drive. Don't waste your money.
Actually, some viruses propogate through external drives. The drives get infected just by plugging them into an actively infected machine, and can infect machines with autorun enabled (you know, the screen that pops up asking what you want to do with this device.) I had a friend that had to do a complete system rebuild twice because he forgot to turn off autorun and install antivirus after the first rebuild before plugging in an external that was attached during infection.

Good and up to date antivirus can usually catch the crap on the drive and remove it before it can infect/reinfect the system; but unprotected/underprotected systems are susceptible. That said, I would use an external drive to back up the stuff and get a good antivirus (like kaspersky) before plugging it back in. I wouldn't trust a third party to preserve my data.

Depending on how much of a wipe we are talking about, the laptop may have a "restore to factory" recovery functionality built in. If you can back up all the important/personal stuff, you may not even need to rely on them for the cleaning.

on Jun 26, 2009

If it is a really bad virus it could be slowly contaminating your entire system. Don't start it up and let someone knows what they are doing fix it if the picturs are valuable. Some malware keeps antivirus from running properly, stops windows update, redirects browser to even more uglies, etc.  Better safe than sorry.

on Jun 26, 2009

I am torn.  The flash drive thing sounds good. I am just worried about taking any chances infecting my new machine.

The messed up laptop can't go online.  One of the problems is it's overloaded with programs and bad stuff to the point that it won't run when the wireless is on.  One time we deleted enough crap to get it online and our service provider quarantined our router, LOL.  That's how virus-laden the laptop is.

on Jun 26, 2009

Thanks Charles. 

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