Saturday, July 14, 2012

How to Save Data on Your Hard Drive After Getting a Nasty Computer Virus

Be aware of the computer viruses lurking out there.

Having a computer virus attack is the last thing that anyone ever wants to deal with. Computer virus causes damage by using up the CPU and memory resources available in a computer. To increase the rate of damage, it can replicate many copies of itself. Furthermore, it can also prevent other programs, especially an anti-virus application, from running. More importantly, a computer virus can delete data stored on all your computer's internal and external storage devices. Therefore, it is important to learn a few techniques so you can apply when your computer is under a virus attack.

Identify a storage device to save your data to.

The first step is to find a storage device to save your data. There are many options when it comes to choosing an appropriate type of storage device to save your data. Depending on the amount of data you have and the availability of your hardware and software, you may choose an internal or external hard drive or a USB flash drive. You may also use other media storage devices such as a DVD. After you save your data, it is highly recommended that you disable or remove the device from your computer to prevent it from being removed by the virus.

Disconnect your computer from the internet to minimize the virus' strength and ability to cause further damage.

Disable the computer network interface, wireless network interface, or remove the Ethernet cable to disconnect your computer from the internet. Without an internet connection, the chances of your computer catching another virus or malware is also reduced. If you cannot disconnect your computer from the internet, you should not browse the internet unless it is absolutely necessary. In addition, the virus cannot use your bandwidth to perform illegal download and upload activities without an internet connection.

Booting up your computer in safe mode to disable the virus from replicating.

When booting up your computer into safe mode, only the minimal drivers and software are loaded to give you control over the Operating System (OS). A computer virus will usually be disabled because safe mode is designed to exclude foreign programs from running. Starting your computer in safe mode without networking will also help minimize another virus or malware attack. Starting your computer in safe mode without the virus program gives you the opportunity to save your data to a storage device of your choice.

Load your computer into the last known good configuration.

Computers keep track of the last known good configuration for a good reason. It allows you to load your computer programs and settings before the computer virus enters your computer. It is important for you to understand that loading the last known configuration may lose other current programs and settings running on your computer. Although you may need to re-install some programs, you no longer need to worry about the virus. However, you should save your data anyway in the event of another computer virus attack.

Save data on your computer using an alternate account.

If your computer catches the virus using a non-administrative account, you may be able to save your data under another account. Depending on the design of the virus, it may or may not be capable of causing damage outside the affected account. You can also try to disable or remove the virus with a privileged account.

Use a third party software to save your data if possible.

There are many free software that allows you to save your data outside the operation of the Operating System (OS). Usually, you can boot up your computer using a bootable device such as a DVD or USB containing the program. However, you may need to enable these bootable devices in your BIOS option setting in order to boot from them. After your computer boots up from one of these bootable devices, the program is loaded and you are provided an option to save data on your hard drive. Depending on the program features, but generally you will be allowed to save the entire partition or files.

Liesl Henderson is a freelance writer with experience in writing on topics such as antispyware, web security and computer protection.

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