Make restorable images???

I have a few friends that would like me to fix some virus/malware issues. Most are Win 7 users(a few running XP), but don't have any of their installation media or driver disks or anything. I'd love to help them, but I've had a few personal instances where I used Norton or a similar program to scan for viruses before, and when it did so it removed some of the boot files, or some other system critical file. I don't want that to happen here, cause I don't want to give them back useless machines. So, I'm wondering how to avoid this

Can I just create a "Repair Disk(DVD)" in Windows? Will that take care of an issue like the one I described above?

Should I use an external to create images of each, one at a time, run the scans and then use the image if anything goes wrong? And if something does go wrong, how would I restore from the image? I've never done that before, and I'm eager to learn.

If anyone has any advice, tips, hints, can point me to a good tutorial, or has done this before, please let me know what you think I should do. These people aren't paying me, but I'd love to be able to help them out. Any and all advice will be greatly appreciated.
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  1. It's common knowledge that the best way to work on a PC for someone is to make an image of the HDD, and then work on the image of it. (put that image on a spare HDD u have and then work on it from there) Most people don't have a spare, so u have to work on the original hardware, but making an image as backup is best way to ensure you don't give them a machine with files that were lost and can never be recovered or w/e. that does take a long time though.

    Typically, when I work on a laptop for a friend. I just install malwarebytes, let it scan, remove what it finds, install the AV software and run a full scan w/ that too. Then run updates (windows and browser extensions like flash, java, adobe reader, shockwave) and ccleaner and defrag. If files are lost, I say that it was really messed up and I couldn't save what they had. Also ALWAYS have a few variations of Windows install disks around, so that you can run repairs from the disk, if there are system errors.
  2. Sweet man. Thanks for the info. Malwarebytes is definitely awesome. I appreciate the advice.
  3. If their computer is already infected, you need to let them know that some stuff is probably already too far gone. No one should expect their machine to be 100% after it has become infected, no matter how good you clean it up. After all, that's the point of malware - to cause damage.
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