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Vista Antivirus 2012 - Backup data before formatting OS?


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#1 wprs

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Posted 27 August 2012 - 07:49 PM

I was harmlessly browsing the internet a few months back and my computer came down with an infection in the form of a fake antivirus program calling itself "Vista Internet Security 2012". I put off dealing with this headache for some time, but now I would very much like to retrieve my three years of data and get my machine back. From browsing some threads it seems to have been a pretty widespread infection. From what I have read, the prospects of completely purging this thing from my computer permanantely are questionable at best.

I have decided I want to do a complete formatting and reinstall of Vista but I have not been able to figure out the best way for me to back up my data before formatting the operating system. I ran Vista's back up files utility but the process failed half way through with the error "Access denied". (I assume this is related to the virus). I plan on following the instructions here http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/virus-removal/remove-win-7-antispyware-2012 and re running the backup, but I do not know if this is the best / safest way for me to go about saving my data before an OS format. Is there a better utility out there that won't cause the new install to become corrupted when I restore the computer with my old files?

I can manually copy the files but I would like something more comprehensive since it has been over three years of constant usage on this machine and I am sure I will lose something I overlook. To complicate matters, the backups I have made in the past are on an external drive which was connected to the computer when I ran into the virus. This leads me to believe that this drive is also compromised (from what I have read, but I am definitely no expert).

I really appreciate any help or guidance anyone can give!

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#2 boopme

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 08:14 PM

Hello, Only back up your important documents, personal data files, photos to a CD or DVD drive, not a flash drive or external hard drive as they may become compromised in the process. The safest practice is not to backup any executable files (*.exe), screensavers (*.scr), autorun (.ini) or script files (.php, .asp, .htm, .html, .xml ) files because they may be infected by malware. Avoid backing up compressed files (.zip, .cab, .rar) that have executables inside them as some types of malware can penetrate compressed files and infect the .exe files within them. Other types of malware may even disguise itself by hiding a file extension or adding to the existing extension as shown here (click Figure 1 to enlarge) so be sure you look closely at the full file name. If you cannot see the file extension, you may need to reconfigure Windows to show file name extensions. Then make sure you scan the backed up data with your anti-virus prior to to copying it back to your hard drive.

If your CD/DVD drive is unusable, another word of caution if you are considering backing up to an external usb hard drive as your only alternative. External drives are more susceptible to infection and can become compromised in the process of backing up data. I'm not saying you should not try using such devices but I want to make you aware of all your options and associated risks so you can make an informed decision if its worth that risk.Again, do not back up any files with the following file extensions: exe, .scr, .ini, .htm, .html, .php, .asp, .xml, .zip, .rar, .cab as they may be infected.

If you're not sure how to reformat or need help with reformatting, please review:These links include step-by-step instructions with screenshots:Vista users can refer to these instructions:Don't forget you will have to go to Microsoft Update and apply all Windows security patches after reformatting.

Note: If you're using an IBM, Sony, HP, Compaq or Dell machine, you may not have an original XP CD Disk. By policy Microsoft no longer allows OEM manufactures to include the original Windows XP CD-ROM on computers sold with Windows preinstalled. Instead, most computers manufactured and sold by OEM vendors come with a vendor-specific Recovery Disk or Recovery Partition for performing a clean "factory restore" that will reformat your hard drive, remove all data and restore the computer to the state it was in when you first purchased it. See Technology Advisory Recovery Media. If the recovery partition has become infected, you will need to contact the manufacturer, explain what happened and ask them to send full recovery disks to use instead..

If you need additional assistance with reformatting or partitioning, you can start a new topic in the Operating Systems Subforums forum.
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#3 wprs

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 09:11 PM

Thank you so much for all the advice. Can't tell you how much I appreciate it. Might sound strange but it's great to see that places like this are around where people are willing to use their knowledge to help other people with their difficulties.

My only other options were a) likely corrupt my new install or b ) take computer to someone i don't trust (and pay them for it)

Edited by wprs, 28 August 2012 - 09:12 PM.


#4 boopme

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 10:17 PM

You're welcome and thanks.. We like it too!! :thumbup2:
How do I get help? Who is helping me?For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear....Become a BleepingComputer fan: Facebook




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