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I have my files on a second hard drive (disconnected for now). This drive was connected to a system infected with Virus:W32/Virut. I have formatted my main hard drive and reinstalled Windows XP. Now I want to connect the second hard drive to get my files (mostly text-based and no executable. However, I am not sure if connecting the drive and bringing windows up is safe. So I prefer to first bring up a dos like environment to transfer the files to the main hard and then format the potentially harmful drive. Is there a tool to do this?

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2 Answers 2

There is an ongoing risk with your plan - your files may still pose a risk. There are various malware which can look like a non-executable file but that actually are, or will reinfect when accessed using an unpatched viewer.

I would second @Thomas's suggestion to use linux for file transfer, but also to run antivirus over all these files once they are on your rebuilt system - even if they look like non-executables.

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The problem with a Windows virus is that it is "generally toxic" for Windows, which cannot really touch it safely. So the solution is to use something else than Windows to recover your files. I suggest Linux, namely the installation CD for Ubuntu. If you boot on this CD (or USB key), you get a live Linux system with which you can access the disks and copy your text files; no need to install anything.

Practically speaking, Linux is mostly immune to Windows virus (and Windows is immune to Linux virus, too, but there are not many of those).

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