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How to Protect Boot Sector from Viruses in Windows
Article ID: 122221 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q122221
When you start your computer with a floppy disk that is infected with a virus, Windows is not capable of detecting it, which is true with many operating systems. Some viruses, such as the FORMS virus, may infect the boot sector of your hard disk drive. This article discusses some methods of protecting the boot sector of the hard disk drive from viruses.
There is a misconception that if the partition of the hard disk drive is NTFS, the information in the partition is secure. NTFS, like other file systems such as File Allocation Table (FAT) and High Performance File System (HPFS), is not recognized until Windows starts the service for the file system. The boot sector is separate from the file system in that it is recognized by the system BIOS upon starting the computer.
In order to provide C2 level government security, the environment surrounding the system must meet the same level of security that Windows provides. The C2 standard requires physical security, such as locking the computer.
To protect your system from any type of virus infection in Windows and possibly recover the boot sector of the hard drive, use one of the following methods:
If a virus has infected the Master Boot Record (MBR), you cannot run the Emergency Repair Disk until the virus is cleaned. Most virus programs have the same limitation as DOS so you cannot run a scan against the hard disk drive; however, DOS 6.22 Msav.exe will clean the MBR and RAM of the computer.
Article ID: 122221 - Last Review: February 20, 2007 - Revision: 2.2