Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums

What's your cleanup strategy?

  1. #11

    Posts : 44
    Windows 8.1 x64

    So viruses really don't attach to personal data? Say i have a hard drive where i keep all my stuff backed up. If my current system has viruses, isn't there a huge chance of my other drive having them too?

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #12

    Posts : 43
    Windows 8.1 Pro X64

    OP ComboFix is something you should look into.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #13

    Posts : 328
    Windows 8.1 (x64)

    Quote Originally Posted by AlexRD View Post
    So viruses really don't attach to personal data? Say i have a hard drive where i keep all my stuff backed up. If my current system has viruses, isn't there a huge chance of my other drive having them too?
    No like JHough says data files CAN contain malicious code. The obvious culprits are any application that allow you to embed macros or scripts in your data. This includes Word's .doc / Excel's .xls . of course, but also Adobe's PDF, Microsoft's XPS,... The list is I'm sure pretty long.

    But your simple data files which aren't designed to accept any macro whatsoever in them aren't free of suspicion either. The most famous example being the old .rtf files, which when including macros and read with Word, they will be executed bypassing even the Macro security features, since rtf isn't supposed to have macros in the first place.
    The Deceptive Safety of RTF Files | Kaspersky Lab
    How an RTF file can install a virus when opened « Tim Anderson's ITWriting

    Solution : Patch Windows and your applications. Disable macros/scripts by default in these applications. Or even better : use alternative software, since these exploits don't actually rely on the file formats themselves but on the applications reading them. With these steps, even infected data files should be safe.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #14

    Hafnarfjörður IS
    Posts : 4,376
    Linux Centos 7, W8.1, W7, W2K3 Server W10

    Hi there

    The only SENSIBLE strategy IMO is the following :

    1) After initial install take a known uninfected CLEAN backup. Keep this indefinitely --it's your REFERENCE system.

    2) Add Ms programs like Office if you have any - these won't be infected (assuming you got them legally).

    3) Backup again==> keep and don't overwrite = Master 2

    4) Add your own programs - checking all the time that system isn't infected.

    5) After all installed backup again ==> Keep this and don't overwrite -- Master 3

    System now ready for use.

    Now daily check stuff and make a backup if system not infected ==> keep as current backup

    If system gets infected then restore current backup. If infection somehow got passed that go back to step 5 and restore master 3.

    If you need to re-install windows again then you've got Masters 1 and 2 (and even 3 if you don't want to re-install applications again).

    I don't trust AV cleaning software -- if a system is infected how on earth can you trust that the AV software / cleansing software is actually telling you the truth when it says system is cleansed.

    BTW always keep user data and OS in separate disks / partitions so you don't necessarily have to re-create your user data if you restore the OS.

    Viruses are not very likely to be found in Music / video programs if you are using standard applications to play these. So if you keep these libraries on a separate drive your chance of getting an infection from an mp3 file played with a standard multi-media player is less than you living longer than the probable life time of the universe -- a virus embedded into an mp3 file say could only be activated if it was being played by a rogue multi-media player which could handle macros / non mp3 /music format data.

    Email and other type of office data is another issue -- NEVER open email attachments unless you know who sent them - and be very careful with any embedded links / bad sites -- and if you do use torrents download stuff via a virtual machine to a SEPARATE HDD and scan it carefully before copying any of that stuff to your running machine.

    If you don't want to pay a second windows license for running a VM download a Linux machine - that will run Bit torrent for you on a Virtual machine and is FREE. All modern Linuxes are now plug and play and can read / write to Windows formatted files (NTFS / FAT32 etc).

    With things like multi-media you probably need ONE archive - you don't need to backup regularly --these files don't change a lot if at all - but re-creating these libraries can be a pain --re-ripping 1000's of CD's, getting stuff again from iTunes etc.

    For other User data - back up as often as you need -- you can even use file explorer if you only want to save a few files.

    Always scan and regularly back up the OS though.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #15

    Posts : 683
    Win 8.1.1 Pro x64

    Quote Originally Posted by AlexRD View Post
    So viruses really don't attach to personal data?
    Of course they can, the most dangerous is Ransomware, like CryptoLocker, it infects especially personal files like documents, pictures and pretty much anything important and they can not be always cleaned by AV, since they are heavily encrypted and unless you pay the ransom, your files are gone forever.
    Quote Originally Posted by AlexRD View Post
    what would you do to clean the computer and have 100% guarantee that you removed all of the viruses?

    If PC can not be formatted, use multiple AV scanners as suggested and install some good AV and firewall.

    1. Disable System Restore temporarily - Turn System Restore on or off - it is great in restoring viruses as well.
    2. Use HitmanPro 3 - it does not install, so malware should not be able to block it from running.
    3. Use Emsisoft Free Emergency Kit - it does not install.
    4. Use Dr.Web CureIt - it does not install.
    5. Use TDSSKiller - it does not install.
    6. Install 360 Total Security and scan.
    7. Install Private Firewall .
    8. Install CCleaner and clean and disable all startup entries, that you do not know, you can enable them later.
    Last edited by TairikuOkami; 19 Jul 2014 at 06:35.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #16

    It's always a good idea to have a system image or 2. I keep mine on a external HDD that's not turned on unless I happen to be using it at the time. I also keep at least 3 images, in case I inadvertently make one that contains a virus. That way I have the others to fall back on.

    System Image - Create in Windows 8

    Clean up strategy depends on the malware. Different strains call for different actions, so it's on a case by case basis.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #17

    1. Clean up the malware using MalWareBytes, Norton Power Eraser, etc... (boot in safe mode with networking to do this)
    2. Clean registry with CCleaner
    3. Uninstall whatever AV software was installed (if any) when the PC was infected
    4. Install Microsoft Security Essentials
    5. Install all updates and required patches
    6. Check for PUPs in Programs and uninstall any suspicious stuff
    7. Check the browser for hijacks and "helpers", delete them
    8. Explain to the user what I did and how they can prevent this in the future (MOST IMPORTANT)
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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