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how resistant is a recovery partition if virus is on system?


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#1 Jeff H.

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 07:27 AM

I have no doubt that question has been asked before.
But for reason to get an in-depth answer to this, there are
some issues I have on my system that need to be addressed first.

I have a HP notebook G7 Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

There are a total of 4 partitions on the system.
1. HP Tools - for system diagnosis at boot etc.
2. RECOVERY - for reinstalling Windows and System Restore
3. local disk - Windows 7, Documents, Installed Software etc.
4. SYSTEM - Active Primary Partition 285 MB

The concerning part for me is the RECOVERY partition.
This partition is VISIBLE inside Windows. To me, that is a potential
security risk if a virus is attacking the system.
So, how to make that partition invisible? Or is it safe to keep it
visible? Are there any other things you would suggest to make the
Recovery partition more safe?

The reason for wanting to keep the Recovery partition is, if in case
the Restore DVDs don't work that I can reinstall Windows.

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#2 quietman7

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 08:55 AM

While most malware infections do not affect recovery partitions, there are some which can and it will not matter whether the partition itself is invisible or not.

If you have made a disk image with an imaging tool (i.e. Acronis True Image, Drive Image, Ghost, Macrium Reflect, etc.) or, if using Windows 7, Created a System Image Backup before your system was infected, then using it is another option. Disk Imaging allows you to take a complete snapshot (image) of your hard disk which can be used for system recovery in case of a hard disk disaster or malware resistant to disinfection. The image is an exact, byte-by-byte copy of an entire hard drive (partition or logical disk) which can be used to restore your system at a later time to the exact same state the system was when you imaged the disk or partition. Essentially, it will restore the computer to the state it was in when the image was made. You will then have to reinstall all programs that you added afterwards. This includes all security updates and patches from Microsoft.

It is a safer practice to create the system image on a removable external hard drive, which can be disconnected and placed in a safe area for use when needed. CDs and DVDs are not as reliable as they can more easily be misplaced/lost, damaged or may not work if the CD/DVD-ROM drive does not function properly when you need it.

My wife, uses a similar HP setup as you describe and although we have restore disks, if needed, I would use the System Image Backup as my first choice. Same with my daughter's HP...we use the Windows 7 System Image Backup on an external hard drive which I keep for her in more office.
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#3 Jeff H.

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 10:56 AM

Thanks for the advise

How many GB do I need for the external disk?
Exact the same as the hard disk on my laptop?

#4 quietman7

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 12:49 PM

The size of an external drive needed to create a disk image (and the amount of time it will actually take) depends on several factors to include:
  • Size of existing hard drive and all paritions.
  • Whether or not you plan on imaging all partitions.
  • How the software imaging itself works to create the image...i.e.
    • use of image compression which minimizes the size in bytes
    • compression level/ratio
    • images splitting which allows for separating/dividing into smaller sizes.
  • Use of image validation after creating an image.

I use Drive Image. The vendor's FAQs explain a multi-file image will have an .xml file and a .dat file and files beyond that are numbered .001, .002, .003, until the end of the drive. On my system each file is quite large and the entire folder contains about 12 gigs. You also need to leave room for future growth/size. As more security patches and applications are installed, they will require more space when performing a subsequent image.
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