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Can A Windows Virus spread to a backup drive in Fedora Live CD?

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May 6, 2009 3:03:10 PM

My main question is if I have a dirty, virus infected, windows hard drive and I want to copy stuff to a clean backup hard drive, can I use a Fedora live CD to copy the files without the virus infecting the clean drive?

Heres the background. Basically I have a windows computer that's totally owned by viruses. I have another clean hard drive for storage. I want to save some of the stuff on the infected computer to the clean hard drive. If i plug both drives in, and boot to the Fedora live CD, can I copy over files from the dirty drive to the clean one without worrying about the virus jumping drives?
May 6, 2009 7:06:04 PM

geeky_byzantine is right on :) 

If you don't copy any infected files to the backup hard drive you're good :) 

Linux itself is impervious to windows viruses ( 80,000 plus plus ) but is vulnerable to linux viruses ( about 100 - 200 are thought to exist ).

As long as you have enough RAM you can install anti-virus software while running under your live CD session and scan your files before you copy them to prevent any nasty files from getting copied to the clean hard drive.

ClamAV can be installed while running the live CD.

yum install clamav clamav-update edit /etc/freshclam.conf remove the "Example" line, save, quit, then run freshclam. freshclam will download the latest virus definitions.

You can also install the linux version of AVG using rpm. rpm -i package.rpm

http://free.avg.com/download?prd=afl

KAV has a linux version too, although I have never used it and cannot recommend it one way or the other.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaspersky_Anti-Virus

Whichever software you choose make sure it is authentic and always verify the keys and checksums. There is a lot of malware out there, particularly for windows although there have been attacks against linux too, purporting to be anti-virus or legitimate security software.

Software installed using yum is digitally signed and checked to prevent that.

Good luck :) 
May 7, 2009 2:45:56 AM

Great thanks, that puts some of my fears the ease.

The only other question is how stable is copying from an NTFS drive to a FAT32 drive?

I currently have fedora 10 installed on my other computer, and can mount my windows NTFS partition and copy files onto and off of it, but how safe is that? Could it corrupt the partition tables?
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May 7, 2009 3:59:29 AM

I don't think I've ever heard of any FAT32 corruption under Linux that wasn't due to hardware problems. I believe FAT32 under Linux has been stable for many many years so it should be safe, although I would not recommend it for legal and other reasons. Microsoft recently sued tomtom over FAT32 and forced them to settle, even though there was a good chance the FAT patents were invalid to begin with.

NTFS is a different animal. I think the NTFS driver is generally quite stable but I wouldn't bet my life on it. NTFS read support was stable and write support was experimental but this was a few years ago.

You could, at least temporarily, copy your data to an ext2 or ext3 filesystem and if you don't have a huge amount of data, archive your stuff to DVD.

Good luck :) 
May 8, 2009 2:18:54 AM

The only thing I can think of is that when you copy a file to FAT32 it must be smaller than (I'm pretty sure) 4GB.
May 8, 2009 10:16:03 AM

boonality is right.

On FAT32 files are limited to 4GB minus 1 byte. The maximum volume size is 2TB.

FAT32 is not journaled.
May 20, 2009 5:31:21 PM

I'm in the exact situation the OP is in...my friends laptop is completely unusable right now and I'm pretty sure its due to viruses...my plan was to simply reformat it but he told me that he would really like to save all his school work before wiping everything...I did a little research and found this

http://www.techmixer.com/bitdefender-rescue-cd-with-auto-update-virus-definition-features/

If i used this first and then used an Ubuntu Live CD to transfer his files to an external hard drive, would that do the trick?
May 20, 2009 8:27:59 PM

You wouldn't have to use a bitdefender live CD first, you can just boot from a Linux live CD and install AVGfree and ClamAV.

Both are free and easy to use and you can download the latest virus definitions under the live CD environment.

Good luck :) 
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