Send the files by email or upload then in a drive are not a option since my friend's connection is very poor and is a lot of files.

She gave me a USB drive to save her files but I know her computer is infected with a lot of things, I can barely use her PC without stopping work.

So, I would like to know if is there a safe way to insert that USB drive, save files and, after reinstalling the OS, insert the USB again without infect her PC.

  • The obvious step would be to scan the USB ...
    – schroeder
    Feb 5, 2020 at 21:29
  • But insert a infect USB into a clean PC may infect it automatically, no? I'm wonder if there is a software or something that can prevent it.
    – Mycroft
    Feb 5, 2020 at 21:33
  • How would something run just by plugging it in? Auto-run should be turned off on Windows by default. Anti-Virus will typically block all access to a new drive until it can scan it too
    – schroeder
    Feb 5, 2020 at 21:40

2 Answers 2


Most malware doesn’t infect the drive itself but there is a chance. Most likely, the malware that would infect the drive runs when the OS boots.

Boot the infected system from a cd rom or into recovery mode and then copy the files.

Once the files are on the usb, you’d need to scan them.


Honestly, I would grab a live CD of Linux, boot up the Live CD, and use that to mount the disk and the USB onto the filesystem and then copy the data over.

I have done this repeatedly when my parent's Windows systems got infected. They always seemed to be in a rush to click on every link that they got in their email, LOL.

https://www.online-tech-tips.com/computer-tips/how-to-retrieve-windows-files-using-a-linux-live-cd/ is a good link to peruse.

  • You could even go one step further and remove the HDD from the computer and put it into another computer. This would only be if you were worried about bios level malware.
    – MikeSchem
    Feb 7, 2020 at 1:18

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