I just got a new computer because my old one was riddled with viruses. I would like to keep many of my old files, but is it safe to transfer them over?
The short answer is that it depends. Viruses are often made to target different types of files, be it system files or multimedia files, or some other area of your computer. So if, for instance, your MP3 files were the focus of a virus, your word processing files may be unharmed and safe to transfer. You do not want to transfer infected files to your new computer, as that will also transfer the virus itself.
The first thing you need to do is run antivirus software on your old computer to find out which area has been infected. Once you have identified the location of the virus, use the antivirus software to clean the files that have been impacted by the virus.
If the files cannot be cleaned, you will have to forfeit those files. Only when you are sure that files are not infected is it safe to take the third step and transfer those files to your new computer. Lastly, to be safe, be sure to scan your new computer once all files have been transferred over to ensure that no viruses were moved along with your old files.
This underscores the need to run updated antivirus software on any computer you use or own. There is no substitute to preventing computer viruses in the first place.
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