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I have a dual-boot (Leopard + infested Windows XP). I want to upgrade Windows to Vista and clean it with anti-virus. I would back up my files from Windows, but I do not want to propagate the virus. Now, I do have access to the whole Win partition from the Mac side, but I believe it is a read-only access only. Does this give me an upper hand somehow? Thanks.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

For starters, a few pointers - Unless you already have paid for the licence, I would seriously look to buy and install Windows 7 instead. Also, if the machine is infected with a virus, I would have a good think about simply backing up your files and installing from scratch.

If however, I have not put you off (and again, I would really recommend it), I would follow the steps that I wrote (and others edited) in the general Anti Virus advise thread.

To get rid of them,

Start with a good tool such as Spybot Search and Destroy or Malwarebytes Anti Malware and perform a full scan.

After this has finished, use Microsoft / Sysinternals Autoruns and look through most of the tabs (you especially want to pay close attention to Logon and Scheduled tasks) and delete most of the items that you think are viruses or research them first.

Next, protect your system with a good antivirus. I personally recommend Microsoft Security Essentials. You can also find a list of free antivirus solutions at this other question.

Also, it should be noted that some malware is very good at avoiding scanners, it is possible that once you are infected, it can install rootkits or similar to stay invisible. Sometimes, if things are really bad, the only option is to reinstall the operating system from scratch.

I personally do a few runs of Spybot Search and Destroy. If after 3 runs, it is unable to remove an infestation (and I fail to do it manually) I would go with a reinstall.

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Thanks, if I have to buy antivirus, I prefer to get only one - one that will accomplish both tasks. The question is - which one? –  Fantomas Feb 17 '10 at 2:33
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@user22345m Well, follow the advise above and all the tools are free!... Can't get much better than that! –  William Hilsum Feb 17 '10 at 3:08
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Only if you did it for him ;-) –  Ivo Flipse Feb 17 '10 at 6:48
    
@ivo :) ....... –  William Hilsum Feb 17 '10 at 12:48
    
I have also found that one tool does not deal with every piece of malware. I find many cases whre more than one tool is needed and the detailed inspection of the mentioned items that the Sysinternals tool will show you –  Dave M Feb 17 '10 at 18:45
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