Question A laptop HD with viruses in external cradle - can I safely scan and recover Word docs to a desktop?

Keyboardohlord

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I have a laptop HD from a Windows 8.1 laptop that I suspect has viruses....
...and of course I didn't back-up some Word docs before my laptop died.
I have an external cradle and leads to connect it to an old (non-internet, Windows XP) desktop and view the HD on.
Could I use the anti-virus on the desktop (maybe 6 years old though- and desktop can't connect to update) to scan the HD and then open the Word docs? Maybe use my current laptop's up-to-date anti-virus on a USB to give the desktop better anti-virus to scan them first?
Not I.T.-lit so be kind!

Many, many Thanks!
 

Keyboardohlord

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You could upload the DOC files to virustotal.com. If you have several files, you could ZIP them in a single archive.
Thanks- unfortunately the desktop is not-internet connected!
I could put the files on the desktop (understanding I might be infecting the desktop), move the Docs to a cheap USB (possibly infecting the USB) and scan, with up to date Anti-virus, the files on the USB on my laptop without moving them onto it (keep in USB) or opening the Docs...? If safe- O.K.! Then bin the USB and desktop.
Does that sound feasible (if long-winded)?!
 

gremlinkurst

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You are way, way too much overthinking this! Just how crappy is your protection? They are old viruses, nothing exotic by contemporary standards (viruses evolve scary-fast these days, thanks to armies of evil trolls on Ubuntu distros). Just put the files on a stick drive without opening any of them, plug it into your newer machine and scan. The likelihood that anything will happen is on par with your chances of winning a state lottery...just as long as you do NOT reboot your computer with that infected drive in it before you clean it. You should be reasonably safe if you reformat the stick after cleaning with a drive management application.

I've been using Webroot for twelve years. In all that time, I've had ONE infection, and it was eliminated an hour later when the cloud definitions were updated. It is literally install-and-forget. I'm not saying you don't have to be careful; if you had macros enabled when you created those documents, or if you have them enabled now...just make sure you clean them before opening. That's particularly important to consider if you have Microsoft Office documents from unvetted sources. There is one rosy thing, though, for users of Wordperfect and Ami Pro: While these applications do support reading of Microsoft documents, they can't be infected with macro viruses.
 

USAFRet

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Thanks- unfortunately the desktop is not-internet connected!
I could put the files on the desktop (understanding I might be infecting the desktop), move the Docs to a cheap USB (possibly infecting the USB) and scan, with up to date Anti-virus, the files on the USB on my laptop without moving them onto it (keep in USB) or opening the Docs...? If safe- O.K.! Then bin the USB and desktop.
Does that sound feasible (if long-winded)?!
Whatever system you are using as the host for checking this, please create a full drive backup image.
If anything weird happens, you'll have a fallback position.
 
I would disable autorun and autoplay on your main computer.

Copy the DOC files or ZIP to a flash drive.

Delete any autorun file on the flash drive and then insert the drive in your main computer and upload the file(s) to VirusTotal.
 

Keyboardohlord

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You are way, way too much overthinking this! Just how crappy is your protection? They are old viruses, nothing exotic by contemporary standards (viruses evolve scary-fast these days, thanks to armies of evil trolls on Ubuntu distros). Just put the files on a stick drive without opening any of them, plug it into your newer machine and scan. The likelihood that anything will happen is on par with your chances of winning a state lottery...just as long as you do NOT reboot your computer with that infected drive in it before you clean it. You should be reasonably safe if you reformat the stick after cleaning with a drive management application.

I've been using Webroot for twelve years. In all that time, I've had ONE infection, and it was eliminated an hour later when the cloud definitions were updated. It is literally install-and-forget. I'm not saying you don't have to be careful; if you had macros enabled when you created those documents, or if you have them enabled now...just make sure you clean them before opening. That's particularly important to consider if you have Microsoft Office documents from unvetted sources. There is one rosy thing, though, for users of Wordperfect and Ami Pro: While these applications do support reading of Microsoft documents, they can't be infected with macro viruses.
As said below by another poster- the viruses are recent on the laptop HD. The old, grey XP non-internet desktop will be just for viewing via a cradle. Just as a non-I.T. lit person, I do worry about the docs potential for Viruses, and how to scan them on a non-internet desktop! (With old anti-virus!)
 

Keyboardohlord

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Thanks guys- as I said not strong in I.T.
So I should be safe to scan docs held in a USB using my laptop, without endangering the laptop (As long as I don't open them before the scan and crush the USB afterwards!)?
 
Be careful about external storage with potential virus, the old XP os was very vulnerable to contaminated usb sticks that was able to spread the malware on it in the very moment you plug it in. This may happens here too.
 

Keyboardohlord

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Be careful about external storage with potential virus, the old XP os was very vulnerable to contaminated usb sticks that was able to spread the malware on it in the very moment you plug it in. This may happens here too.
That is my main worry- I don't mind ruining the USB and old XP desktop with viruses, as long as I can get the files or as least copy the text from the docs! This is why it feels like a minefield!
 

gremlinkurst

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Webroot. I can't stress that heavily enough. I started using it twelve years ago because only IT could identify, eliminate, and repair what none of the other "big dogs" could, and in that entire time, ONE virus infected my system for less than an hour. None of the other "pros" can stake a similar claim with truth. I can protect five devices with one license. If it were my system, it would have been fixed already, because I would have installed Webroot on the offending machine and we wouldn't even be having this discussion.
 

hang-the-9

Titan
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That is my main worry- I don't mind ruining the USB and old XP desktop with viruses, as long as I can get the files or as least copy the text from the docs! This is why it feels like a minefield!
You can make a Live Linux USB disk, boot the old laptop with that, connect to the internet with it, download a new A/V software like Malwarebytes and run a scan on the other files with that. Pretty easy to make a bootable disk and it's just like running an operating system on the laptop itself, it just runs off the USB drive so nothing needs to be installed on the laptop.
 

Keyboardohlord

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You can make a Live Linux USB disk, boot the old laptop with that, connect to the internet with it, download a new A/V software like Malwarebytes and run a scan on the other files with that. Pretty easy to make a bootable disk and it's just like running an operating system on the laptop itself, it just runs off the USB drive so nothing needs to be installed on the laptop.
Thanks for the advice. I didn't want to write too much, but the suspicion of my laptop having a virus is because it won't start- at all! I've tried different things to get it to start up, but it shuts down after 2 secs (and this was after some AV issues with my Proxy address- hence probably a virus) But thanks for the advice.
 

hang-the-9

Titan
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Thanks for the advice. I didn't want to write too much, but the suspicion of my laptop having a virus is because it won't start- at all! I've tried different things to get it to start up, but it shuts down after 2 secs (and this was after some AV issues with my Proxy address- hence probably a virus) But thanks for the advice.
A virus would not really cause a system to shut down this way, have you tried a clean Windows setup to see if it runs OK? Shutting down is very very very rare for a virus to do, they are usually there to crash the system or steal information so they want to keep the system running and distrub operation instead of shut down.
 

hang-the-9

Titan
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That's interesting! How -if the laptop won't even start- do I do a Windows set-up? (As I've said elsewhere, I'm not a great I.T. expert!)
See if booting off a USB stick without a drive in it will keep it running. Also try different RAM sticks. If it shuts down before Windows even tries to load, and it won't boot off a USB stick, it is very likely a hardware issue, could be RAM, could be a faulty motherboard, maybe the drive connection is bad.
 

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