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XP: How to Clear Infected Files Trapped in System Restore

Viruses can often get stuck and hidden in Window’s system restore area. This tech-recipe will describe how to remove this hidden danger if you get infected.

Virus checkers often have difficulty clearing infected virus files from your system restore directory.

For example, in a system I recently repaired a kaspersky scan continued to show trojan files trapped in files that begin with “C:\System Volume Information\_restore…”

If you have recently had a virus, most likely it is now stored in your system restore directory. This will cause problems because your virus checker will repeatedly find it but be unable to clear it. Likewise, if you ever need to restore that drive, the virus infected file will also restored.

This is easily fixed if you take a few precautions.

(Disclaimer: The safest course of action for a virus infected computer is to first backup everything. Some viruses are very destructive and different virus cleaning software packages will have varying degrees of success cleaning the files without introducing errors. If one virus cleaner doesn’t work, you can also restore and try a different one.)

On to cleaning out any viruses trapped in your system restore area:

1. First make sure you don’t have any infected files anywhere else in your system. Run a complete search for your favorite (database recently updated) virus checker.

2. If viruses are found and cleaned, run those programs afterwards to insure they are running correctly.

3. If everything is running well, clear your system restore area by doing the following:

  • Right-click on My Computer and select properties
  • Select System Restore
  • Select Turn Off System Restore On All Drives
  • Select Apply

– There will be a warning saying that you will not be able to restore your computer after this point. (This is why it was important to make sure everything was running well before committing to this.)

– Select Yes Your system restore directories will be purged.

4. Repeat the process and turn system restore back on.

5. Go ahead and build a manual restore point now.

After this process your system restore files will be rebuilt and the old infected files trapped in the system restore will be gone.

David Kirk
David Kirk
David Kirk is one of the original founders of tech-recipes and is currently serving as editor-in-chief. Not only has he been crafting tutorials for over ten years, but in his other life he also enjoys taking care of critically ill patients as an ICU physician.


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