Security Corner

Jun 14 2008   1:57PM GMT

Redux: Infected device? Refresh or reload

Ken Harthun Ken Harthun Profile: Ken Harthun

System Restore

The more things change, the more they stay the same. I’m still seeing PCs with serious malware infections that defy any and all attempts to clean them up. I used to persevere and eventually succeed in killing whatever beasties were inhabiting the dark recesses of the system. Just last week, I fought one for two hours before finally doing a factory reset.The trouble is, now as then the things keep coming back and if I didn’t take drastic action, I’d be facing another hours long battle. Once a machine is infected you can never trust that machine again unless you refresh or restore it to factory configuration.

Just because everything appears to be working properly after your “cleanup” doesn’t mean it is. Modern malware (as in 2015) is even more tenacious and stealthy that it was 7 years ago when I first wrote this. Many malicious programs leave behind remnants of themselves even when good anti-malware software is able to take the venom out of them. Windows 8 gave you an easy way to preserve user files while restoring the factory image and it’s still going strong in Windows 10. I’m not totally convinced that this is the best way to go, but so far I haven’t seen too many “repeat customers” after doing it.


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