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Are Ext Hdds Safe from Malware?


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#1
Denisejm

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Hi,

I just formatted my computer to get those little annoying things that start happening after it hasn't been formatted for a while. I had previously run a battery of test in Safe Mode, Safe Mode with Networking and in Regular Mode but none of the tests found anything. My computer is running along very nicely again.

My question is this . . . Can malware move to external hard drives? I back up my CDs and DVDs on the external drives? I haven't installed any programs on the them.
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#2
Kelvin

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Yes, it surely can. As long as the virus strikes your computer, it may spread to EVERY connected storage device and/or folder.

It is best to scan your CDs/DVDs first, they may contain malware from before you formatted your computer, though malware can't spread onto a CDR or DVDR, no matter what type. Unless you burnt infected files onto the CD, it won't be a problem to back them up to your external.

~Kelvin
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#3
Denisejm

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Thanks Kelvin . . . I'll have to run malware tests on the ext hdds if anything starts to act/work oddly. I'll keep my eye on it. I'm at my computer and/or it's on and processing my files just about 24/7. If nothing happens, then I'll consider my machine and the ext hdds to be clean. I have 15 ext hdds, 3 of them are 750G, and it'll take a month of Sundays to test them all.

I appreciate your help.
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#4
Kelvin

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No problems. Anyway, may I ask why you have so many externals? That seems like a whole mini hosting server already.

~Kelvin
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#5
Denisejm

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I back up all my videos. I don't have a server, I wish I had. I started out with a 300G Maxtor and thought that I was all set . . . that I'd never need another ext hdd, but I did. So I bought another one, and then another one. Then I saw that the 320G ext hdds were about the same price and I was running out of room, so I bought a few of them, at different times. Then when I didn't think I could possible fill up another 300G ext hdd, I bought a 250G hard drive, and then another one. Then I had to buy a couple more 500G, and the price was very reasonable because the 750G's had come out. When I ran out of room, I bought a 750G hdd, then another, and then another. I'd never heard of a server until about 6 months ago but I already had all my ext hdds. I looked into servers and they're very expensive. The files on my hard drives are explicitly for me and my family. I believe in the copyright laws, but a 5 year old can ruin a DVD in less than a day, and my daughter wants to preserve her original Disney DVDs.

I began by backing up my music, which took about 80G. Then I backed up my grandson's cartoons and my daughter's Disney DVDs that she had since she was young. I backed up my DVD's and I have a host of them. I buy DVDs of old TV shows, from my generation, and I put them on my ext hdds. I have a reclining chair at my desk and a 19" LCD monitor so when I want to watch something, it's much easier and comfortable to sit back and watch them on my pc than putting them in my DVD player and sitting on my couch, which isn't comfortable. Right now, I'm backing up The Walton's DVD's, and that show had 9 seasons. I have all the ER eps except for this season, which hasn't come on the market yet. And those are just a couple examples.
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#6
Kelvin

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Oh. No wonder you have so many. Wow, you sure do have a collection. I'm only up to 300G's of anime, 80g's of songs/albums and about... 100g's for other stuff (eg. software installers, pictures, phone configs, etc)

~Kelvin
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#7
Denisejm

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Avatar . . . my daughter has all of the The Last Airbender series too, and they're backed up on my pc.

What I find, though, is that the hdds keep having problems. My X drive has a SATA connection and I connected it using a SATA cable. It worked great for the past few months but, last night, it spun up but it wasn't recognized by My Computer. I switched cables and and when that didn't work, I did a hot boot but it didn't help, but when I connected it to my pc with a USB 2.0 cable, it works. This morning, my N drive keeps turning off and turning on every few seconds. I haven't used that drive in a while because it has cartoons on it, but I'm going to have to find the problem and fix it. HUBs give me problems too. I bought a Compaq firewire/USB HUB and within 6 months, it stopped working, and other HUBs have done that too.

I've come to the end of buying and backing up. Mine are all on ext hdds and I'll show my daughter how to back up her and my grandson's DVDs.
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#8
Denisejm

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Just a thought . . . to make sure that my external hdds don't have malware on them, if I moved all my files (all are nonexecutable) to another external hdd, format the drive, and put the files back, would that get rid of any malware on the drive? Or does malware attach itself to non-executable files?
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#9
123Runner

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malware can attach to any file/ folder.
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#10
Denisejm

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At this pont, I feel like banging my head on my keyboard too. . .
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#11
Kelvin

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Why so?

Anyway, what 123Runner said is true. Malware can spread to any writable device.

~Kelvin
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#12
Denisejm

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Because I have 15 ext hdds that have to be scanned for malware and it's gonna take a month of Sundays to get it done.
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#13
The Skeptic

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Hi Denisejm,

Why are you so worried about virus infections? You said that you reformatted and everything is running well. If, before the format, you kept your system well protected by a good antivirus then there is nothing really to worry about. If you want to check your stored data just to be on the safe side that's fine. You can run your antimalware programs in selective mode, choose, say two disks per night and let the scan run during the night. There is really nothing to worry about if you don't have any problems.
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