Unix & Linux Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for users of Linux, FreeBSD and other Un*x-like operating systems. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I recently got rid of a nasty trojan on Windows and want to migrate to Linux(Ubuntu). I want to run a Live CD so that I can format an SD card to put my brand new firmware on my router and format the HDD so I can install Ubuntu. In this case, is it possible to get my system infected or to infect the SD card? I mention the fact that my Windows 7 is a genuine license and also my nod32 but I do not trust the fact that my virus is gone.

share|improve this question

If the virus only infected Windows, then you won't be infected if you don't run anything from this instance of Windows. So booting from a Linux CD is fine, and your computer will be fine if you install Linux (or even if you reinstall Windows from scratch).

If you accessed the SD card from windows, the virus could try to copy itself to it and then spread to other machines. The other machines would have to be vulnerable to the virus, which in practice pretty much means they'd have to run Windows. Reformat the SD card under Linux if you're worried it might now hold the virus.

In theory a virus could infect some firmware in your computer (the BIOS, or any other firmware). However firmware-infecting malware is extremely rare in the wild. Unless you're concerned that this is a concerted attack from a highly-motivated attacker, rather than some common infect-the-least-protected trojan, don't worry about this.

share|improve this answer
As a side note - if you burn the Linux CD on the infected computer, it also could be infected. Yeah... Welcome in the world of paranoiacs. ;-) – Arsen7 Jul 1 '11 at 10:15

Windows tends to change very slowly, and gives the chance to virus/trojan authors to target very specific bugs on Windows' binaries or binaries from third party applications.

The way GNU/Linux distributions are made makes it especially difficult for viruses to exploit vulnerabilities (when available).

As stated by Gilles, you can be safe by formatting your SD card from within the Linux Live CD.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.