Can you back up a computer with a virus? How will you backup your data if your system is infected with malware? MiniTool will show many details and you can find what you should do to safely back up files from an infected computer.

Can You Back up a Computer with a Virus?

Viruses and malware are annoying and could invade your computer to slow down the PC, show adware/popups, damage programs, delete or corrupt your files, and more. To keep data safe, you want to back up files from an infected computer. Then, here comes a question: is there a way to back up data without carrying the virus?

When a virus infects your computer, don’t back up the entire hard drive or the system since it may have attacked your system. When backing up them, the backup could include this virus and damage your backup storage device.

But it is a good idea to back up your files including pictures, videos, and documents, not system files like registry settings and scripts. These files are just stored and not executed, and won’t be affected by viruses easily.

You should know a virus needs to be executed if it needs to do anything like damage your data. Otherwise, it is harmless. But if viruses have changed the boot order and disabled antivirus software, it is not safe.

Well then, how to back up a computer with a virus? Follow the guide below now.

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Options to Back up Files from an Infected Computer

Although it is relatively safe to back up data from a virus-infected PC, you should do it with caution. Note that don’t directly connect your storage device to the infected computer since viruses attempt to infect the connected drive.

What’s more, you may choose to connect the PC and share its data, and then back up it, which also has risks of being infected.

In addition, you can try to back up files from an infected computer via another way that is recommended by many users. Take these steps:

  1. Shut down the target PC that has a virus.
  2. Open the computer case, remove its hard drive, and connect it as an external drive to a safe PC.
  3. Run antivirus software to perform a full scan of the entire hard drive and make sure it doesn’t have any viruses or other threats.
  4. Start the backup process.

Run Antivirus Software

To remove viruses from your computer in Windows 11/10, you can run the built-in antivirus software – Windows Security.

Step 1: Open Windows Security via the search box.

Step 2: Hit Virus & threat protection > Scan options.

Step 3: Check Full scan and click Scan now. This scan method will take more than one hour to check all files and running programs. In addition, you can also run Microsoft Defender Offline scan since some malicious software is hard to remove and this mode can find & remove them using up-to-date threat definitions.

Windows Security full scan

Step 4: After the scan, remove found viruses and other threats.

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Besides Windows Security, you can run other antivirus programs for virus removal. McAfee, Norton Antivirus, AVG Antivirus, etc. are worth recommending.

Steps to Back up a Computer with a Virus (Only Files)

Now, you should backup data on an infected drive. For this, you can run the professional PC backup software – MiniTool ShadowMaker. It supports backing up files including videos, pictures, documents (Excel, Word, TXT, etc.), etc. Now, download its Trial Edition and install it on Windows 11/10/8/8.1/7 to begin a backup.

MiniTool ShadowMaker TrialClick to Download100%Clean & Safe

Step 1: Run MiniTool ShadowMaker Trial Edition.

Step 2: Under Backup, click SOURCE > Folders and Files, choose the important items like documents, pictures, or videos on the connected infected hard drive to back up, and click OK.

Step 3: Choose a drive to save the backup.

Step 4: Click Back Up Now.

MiniTool ShadowMaker file backup
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After finishing the backup, perform an antivirus scan to the backup file. Then, format the infected hard drive.

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