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Windows 7: Hot-swapping infected hd: Is it safe?

09 Oct 2011   #1

Windows 7 Pro x64 SP1
Hot-swapping infected hd: Is it safe?

I've got a gig fixing a friend of a friend's laptop. It essentially won't boot. The laptop itself is like, God probably like 10 years old! Most likely has some form of virus or malware on it. (I'm ashamed to say my friends think they either "don't need AV," or "I can't afford [free] AV." )

Anyway, I was thinking to hot swap the hd into my rig, and scan it.
I'm running:
-full Webroot Internet Security Suite
-full Norton 360
-free Avast!
-free Avira

Obviously I won't be trying to boot from this drive until everything says it's ok. I did this last week without even thinking twice, with a different definitely-known-to-be-infected drive, and no real-time shields picked up anything. But really, how safe is this? Is it even possible for anything to try to start messing with me?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Oct 2011   #2

Windows 7 Pro x64 SP1

FWIW: you might want to use one of those small <$20 external USB drive connectors that support the laptops drive and then run malware bytes and your AV against it.

I have done this and cleaned up drives without a lot of aggrivation.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Oct 2011   #3

Windows 7 Pro x64 SP1

What's the difference between loading it into a hot-swap bay or connecting it via USB? (other than speed)

I'd keep logged into my main SSD drive with Win 7 & scan it from here.

Either way, won't it just show up as just another hd connected? Or is there something about being connected via USB that malware wouldn't be able to startup/jump?
My System SpecsSystem Spec

09 Oct 2011   #4
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ult. x64


The safest option is to scan the HDD in-situ the laptop - use a bootable AV/RESCUE disk to do this. One option is:


The problem is you don't know for sure what infection might be lurking on the laptop, and you run the risk of it "jumping" across to your PC and bypassing your security.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Oct 2011   #5

Windows 7 Pro x64 SP1

Thanks! I'm going to do that. =)
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Hot-swapping infected hd: Is it safe?

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