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Virus riddled windoze machine

My sister has (or, I hope she still has) a very old windoze laptop that had no virus protection and got killed by viruses.

After playing with Ubuntu on my own machine (and running very well I might add) I wander if it is possable to boot her old laptop up on Ubuntu from a pen-drive (like I did with my machine at the start) and get the photoes of it?

The laptop died about 10 years ago, and was an old laptop then. I don't see this being a big issue. I may not be able to boot the thing of a pen-drive, I may have to make bootable disk. I think I can do that.

Would I have to "clean" the photoes once I get them off so they won't harm another windoze machine?

Am I going about this the right way?

Seems like a simlpe solution (now that I know I can use Linux) to me.

What have I missed?


  • First of all have u checked the BIOS that, does it support booting from flash/pen drive !! If so, then did u enable this option / make boot sequence to boot from flash/pen drive first..... and next, as far as my knowledge, general photo / pics like extensions, .jpg/jpeg, .bmp, .gif, .png or whatever exts related to pics never affected by virus....if it so, then it is very rare case indeed. If u have another comp, then simply connect them with a cross LAN cable and transfer photos from one to another. Afterwards, u can play / make experiments with ur old comp. Also possible to take photos into ur another pen drive(more simple).
  • mfillpot
    mfillpot Posts: 2,177
    Ubuntu may not be the best choice for an old computer because it has high system requirements, but another distro may work better.

    If it does not allow booting from a usb drive then you can using an installation CD. As for virus validation, some past windows viri/bugs have been encoded in jpeg files, it would not hurt to scan all files with clamav to guarantee that no infection can spread to other windows boxes.
  • Goineasy9
    Goineasy9 Posts: 1,114
    I agree with all the advice given in previous posts, with one addition. You need to use more than one Anti-Virus program to check your Windows files. ClamAV is a good start, but once you've checked them with ClamAV, then transfer them to a USB stick that has a Windows file format, and then run Avast and/or Windows Defender on the files also. Some viruses/malware don't show up on some anti-virus programs, but do show up on others.
    I haven't read arochester's link, but, I'm assuming similar suggestions are made in that article also.
  • also if you want to burn (i mean erase) absolutely everything on the hard drive you can do "sudo dd bs=1M if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda" or hda or whichever way the hard disk is detected with your boot disc/usb. there is no progress meter, but dont worry it'll probably finish in like an hour or two depending on things. bodhi linux and xubuntu are two lighter weight alternatives to ubuntu based on ubuntu.
  • marc
    marc Posts: 647
    kill -USR1 $ddPROCESS

    To check the progress of the dd command

  • Regarding Ubuntu's live environment, if your machine has about one gigabyte of RAM, it should be able to run. With 12.04 LTS, I won't vouch for smoothness, but it should do ok. No matter which distro you use, burn it on a CD so you can free up your USB ports for any external storage you're wanting to use in order to back up the data you're wanting.
  • saqman2060
    saqman2060 Posts: 777
    If you laptop supports booting from a flash drive (doubt it since it since the laptop is 10 years old), burn lubuntu to a flash or better yet, burn it to a CD. Lubuntu is a very light Distro based on ubuntu but uses the LXDE desktop environment. One of my favorites. and run smoothly on a system with 1 gigabyte of RAM. From there perform the operations suggested from the above post.
  • ellbanks
    ellbanks Posts: 1
    Can anyone share with me the advantages of using Linux over windows? thanks a bunch!
  • mfillpot
    mfillpot Posts: 2,177
    ellbanks wrote:
    Can anyone share with me the advantages of using Linux over windows? thanks a bunch!

    Can you please start a new discussion for this topic? That action will make it easier for people to locate your question and the resulting answers.


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