How likely will Windows used External Hard Drive contain files dangerous to Mac?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Mirtelso, Feb 7, 2017.

  1. Mirtelso macrumors newbie

    Feb 7, 2017
    I have this old external hard drive with personal files (images, photos, videos, music) - personal as I made it, no one else has used it.
    But now moving to Mac, I want to put stuff from there to Mac. I could scan it with Windows tools, but that would mean nothing. How big is chance files that came from Windows contain something that could be dangerous to Mac?

    I heard using real time scanner for Mac is same as killing it and only recommended tool Malwarebytes does not scan files like that so I'm not sure if there is anything else to do.
  2. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    There's no virus that affects macOS so you shouldn't worry. The only stuff you'll ever find that affects Macs would be PUPs/malware (potentially unwanted programs) such as MacKeeper. This requires the user to install the software anyway; it can't install without you entering the password to authorise it. Regardless, MWB would remove that, so no cause for concern.

    If you want a free AV for Mac, you can try a few of the below. But it's not really necessary. The best antivirus is the squishy thing using the computer. Don't install Java/Flash and practice safe browsing habits.

    Avast AV:
    Sophos AV:
  3. Mirtelso thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 7, 2017

    That was quick reply! :)

    So chances I drag something malicious to Mac from Windows used files is zero? As I have only videos, photos, music, text files. And if there is something bad, it would need to install itself and Mac would ask me if I want to do it?

    If so, I made good decisions buying Mac.

    On AVs - those two then aren't harmful for Mac? No breaking system, no spying on user?
    I'm not interested in using them yet, but maybe I need in future.
  4. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    That's correct. It's not to say Macs are invulnerable, but as of the time of writing, there has never been a self-propagating virus on OS X following its introduction around 2000/2001. At least, none I've been aware of.

    Nothing can run or make changes without user permission. The possible exception to this rule are scripts running via Java/Flash exploits, which is why it's recommended to avoid those unless absolutely necessary. However Apple are cracking down hard on these automatically running. Furthermore, all system files are completely locked down with System Integrity Protection. (Microsoft can take a leaf out of Apple's book with that... the amount of times I've seen the registry explorer shell edited to run a virus is tragic).

    Both AVs have good ratings and don't have any widespread issues with causing software problems. Same with the spying on the user -- though of course it's not something they'd advertise if they did do it, so I can't say for certain on that one. ;)

    Please let me know if you have any further queries!
  5. Mirtelso thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 7, 2017
    Thank you for all the help!
    I refuse to touch Java or install Adobe Flash Player.
    Thread is solved. :D

Share This Page

4 February 7, 2017