Home > Computer Security > Computer Notebook Security: How current is your recovery disk image?

Computer Notebook Security: How current is your recovery disk image?

If you use a notebook while traveling and the recovery disk image will completely restore the operating system and all the software that is on it right now, you can stop reading this post and give whoever set it up a pat on the back. If the image isn’t current or you have no idea what I’m talking about, please read on.

If you’re using a notebook while traveling and somehow manage to pick up some disruptive malware, you could end up with a completely unusable computer for the rest of your trip. Disruptive malware may:

  1. Cause your computer to run slow or freeze.
  2. Disable your anti-virus and automatic update software.
  3. Prevent programs from running.
  4. Display all types of bogus messages that your computer is infected with malware.
  5. Hijack your network connection and constantly redirect your browser to other Websites.
  6. Prevent you from connecting back to your company network via VPN. You’re not going to connect with an infected computer, are you??!!
  7. Do other things that will make you want to scream and run over your notebook with your rental car.

You can try and remove the malware yourself or with the help of someone else, but that could take awhile and there is always the possibility that your efforts are unsuccessful. You could even try reinstalling everything from scratch, but that may be impossible if you don’t have the software or license keys.

The best way to deal with the situation is to restore the computer to the state it was in before it was infected by the malware. This can be done by overwriting the drive (C drive on Windows) with a complete backup “image” of the drive that is created before you go on your trip.  The image is created by special disk imaging software and can be stored on DVD, an external USB drive or a separate partition on your notebook. To restore the image, all you have to do is follow the software’s instructions and you’re done.  Restoration time is dependent on the size of the image and how it’s stored, but you could be up and running in less than an hour.

** Important Note: Makes sure you don’t overwrite your data when you restore the image! Keep your data on a separate drive or device, or back it up before you restore the image.

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  1. July 14, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    I absolutely agree!

    My current favorite method is to use Acronis and have it create an image in a separate partition on the drive. Most laptops have hard drives that are large enough so that the few GBs given to the backup partition won’t be missed.

    There are three advantages to this method.

    1) There is no DVD to lose, get scratched or worse, crack in your laptop bag. The restore image is always available.

    2) Restoration time is much faster when going from partition to partition as compared to a DVD restore.

    3) This is the most important… You can have a weekly job which will automatically update the restore image so it is always up-to-date. This covers your data files, patches, AV updates, etc. It’s a lot easier than restoring a six month old image and having to spend a few hours patching and updating.

    • July 15, 2010 at 7:03 am

      These are great reasons to backup to a partition. Thanks Marc!

  1. July 14, 2010 at 4:26 pm

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