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Will virus infiction spread to other OS in dual boot mode

Last response: in Windows XP
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March 24, 2010 8:00:18 AM

Currently I am having a dual boot system with both having Windows XP. I had the 2nd OS installed so that I can install and run any softwares I downloaded from the Net. This is because almost all of the softwares I seem to download have virusus in them, and so I did not want to ruin my basic installation of XP.

Now my quest is that if I were to install and run any corrupted (virus laden) software after booting into the second OS, will it by any chance infect even the 1st OS.
(Note that both the OS have Avira anti-virus separately installed)
a b 8 Security
March 24, 2010 8:01:47 AM

It's certainly possible, particularly if each OS can see the other one's partition.
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March 24, 2010 8:08:48 AM

Then can I make the partition invisible to the other OS, by removing the assigned drive letter using the Disk Management console. Will this help in any way ?

Or is their any other method/solution to keep the 1st OS virus-free ?
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Best solution

March 24, 2010 8:12:47 AM

hiding is only for US not the operating system.. if you need to have a testing machine then go to vmware or virtual pc.. ..
vmware player now allows to create virtual machines for free & it has better features than virtual pc

http://www.vmware.com/products/player/
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March 24, 2010 8:18:12 AM

Well I am currently using Virtual Box for running some of the softwares. Its just that the operation becomes very slow.

Since I have only 1gb ram, and even if I were to provide 700 mb to the virtual machine, it still very slow while running few apps.

Is there any other solutions any one can provide ?


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March 24, 2010 8:23:23 AM

why dont you try vmware ,

most importantly you have to upgrade your RAM .. 1 Gb is not enough for virtualization with performance

what are the system specs..
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March 24, 2010 8:27:59 AM

Thanks for the instant replies, and
Amd Sempron 2 Ghz, 1 gb ram

Other than virtuailization, can you provide any other solution?

Even if the 2nd OS is corrupted beyond repair, I will not mind as I have a cloned backup of the 2nd OS which I can easily restore. I just need to keep the 1st os virus free.

??
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a b 8 Security
March 24, 2010 8:31:44 AM

The only totally safe solutions are:

1. Install the OSs on separate hard disks and remove power from the one you are not using.

2. Buy a cheap second hand PC as a test bed.

I would have to say that if nearly everything you download is infected with viruses or malware then you need to be a little more picky about where you download software. If it's illegal stuff then it's inevitably going to be infected - in that case the solution is obvious.
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March 24, 2010 8:32:04 AM

it a tough question to answer..

what's your purpose to have dual boot ..


if you go with virtuailization you have to upgrade you entire system..

or do it like "ijack"said
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March 24, 2010 8:39:36 AM

Thanks guys,

I will try to upgrade the system or atleast the Ram.


Also will a better antivirus like Kaspersky or EsET NOD be more helpful in prohibiting the spread of infection. I know there is nothing like a full proof antivirus, but still will it be helpful in my case.
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March 24, 2010 12:47:32 PM

You could also use an imaging / back-up program like Acronis True Image.

If your system becomes compromised by malware you can reimage to a clean state. Acronis also has a try and decide feature which allows you to mess with the operating system and if you aren't happy with the result decide not to keep the changes and everything is reverted to how it was pre-try and decide, but with the older versions you couldn't reboot the system without deciding if you want to keep the changes (not sure about new Acronis products).

You can also look into sandboxie for isolating programs from the OS:
http://www.sandboxie.com/

The best option though is using a virtual machine as manojgj has suggested and a decent RAM upgrade is better all round too.
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March 25, 2010 3:36:41 AM

Sandboxie - will try this out..

Thanks for the info
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April 9, 2010 6:39:33 AM

Best answer selected by qaz.
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