Scanning and Disinfecting Infected Hard Disk via USB

One of the most successful ways to remove a virus from an infected computer is to run a scan without booting on itself. This is possible by literally removing the infected hard disk and attaching it to a clean computer. From there, run thorough scan and clean the compromised hard drive. Using this method, you will prevent the virus from residing into memory and gain control on the system.

Though, doing this requires some technical knowledge of physically detaching hard disk. To some, they would rather try these methods to save the content of their precious storage. Personally, I am recommending this as better alternative rather than wiping out the entire hard disk with a reformat.


Tools and Equipment Needed

1. USB to IDE cable or USB to SATA cable. You must be familiar with your hard drive’s socket. This device is available at any computer store ranging from $10 to $35. Price depends on the brand off course.

2. A clean or virus-free computer with USB port.

3. Antivirus and Antimalware program with the latest update.


USB to SATA Cables

Connecting and Scanning the Drive

1. Make sure that power is turned off and cables are unplugged. Remove the hard disk from the infected computer.

2. Attached IDE/SATA and power connectors to a hard disk. Laptop’s USB to SATA cable do not require power connection.


Connecting the USB to IDE/SATA Cable

3. Plug the USB to IDE/SATA cable to power outlet.
4. Attached the USB connector to a clean and uncompromised computer using the USB cable.

USB Hard Drive

Attaching the External Hard Drive

5. The newly plug hard disk will be detected and added to the list of drives. In this case the added external hard disk is named HardDisk-X.

Windows Explorer will display the newly attached drive.

6. There are two ways to scan the external hard disk
a) On My Computer, right-click the external hard disk and select Scan with Antivirus…

b) Open your AntiVirus program. Do a manual scan and select the external hard disk.

Do another scan with Other Free Virus Scanners

To completely eliminate virus infection, scan the hard disk with alternative security programs. You can download portable virus scanner for quick detection and removal. Additionally, you may run an online virus scanner and help get rid of other malware threat that evades the previous virus scan process.


Safely Removing the External Hard Disk

1. Before unplugging the connector, the device must be safely removed.
2. Click on the “Safely Remove Hardware” from the task bar.

Safely Remove USB

Remove the hardware first before unplugging the device.

3. Select device and click Eject or Stop.


Eject the external hard drive.

4. It will display “Safe to remove hardware…” then remove the USB cable and unplug the power of the USB to IDE/SATA cable.

5. Return the hard disk and check if it the threat is gone.

7 Responses

  1. Sergio says:

    This is great to know! I always had to piggy back the hard drive to another computer, but this is way simply to do. Thanks for the tip!

  2. ECR says:

    bootup with a livecd and scan from from the OS in the ramdrive and easy the way I like it!

  3. Brenda says:

    My computer is so infected, all my desktop icons are gone; and I can’t open any files or programs. I have no mouse so I can’t do much of anything. Is there a disk on the market that can self-start and erase the malware?

  4. Maynard says:

    Nice tutorial. Beats my way of laying the box on its side with the HD balanced on a sheet of newspaper and cables everywhere :-)

  5. Marc says:

    Is there any risk of the uncompromised computer with up to date anti-virus software being infected by the infected hard drive disk? If so what would I need to have to prevent this? Is there any situation in which it would be unsafe to do this operation?

  6. Anup says:

    Thanks for the tip!
    but Any other Option.

  7. Bob Bobson says:

    You could also just install a second hard-drive in the infected system, configure it to be the boot-drive and boot from that, then manipulate the infected drive.

    Also, you can get an IDE/SATA-to-USB cable on eBay for $3, but be careful with the power supply; many people who bought one on eBay have complained about fried hard-drives.

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