plugging in an external hard drive that may have a virus to MBA

Discussion in 'macOS' started by rchip, Oct 27, 2011.

  1. rchip macrumors regular

    Jul 26, 2011
    Hey guys, I have a massive CD collection on an external hard drive that took forever to burn over the years. It's been used with a windows PC it's whole life and the pc has got a virus while the hard drive's plugged in. I'm unable to use the PC at the moment as it's dead from a virus :(

    I want to use this hard drive with my macbook air to set my iPhone up on the MBA and transfer some music off the hard drive to the mba, is this possible? Is there a way I can scan the hard drive with a virus scanner on the mba before it has a chance to infect the system?

    Your advice would be greatly appreciated as i'm not the best on computers :roll eyes:

  2. heisenberg123 macrumors 603


    Oct 31, 2010
    Hamilton, Ontario
    that PC virus should have no impact on your Mac, keep in mind that external drive is like set up for windows format, however you can read the files on it and move them to your Mac no problem
  3. rchip thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 26, 2011
    Thanks for your quick reply! Let's awesome to hear, yeah i'll just need to use the hard drive to put some music files in iTunes so i can put them on my iPhone!

    It'd be nice to have another reassurance on this issue before I go ahead and do it, obviously I fully trust you but I'd just like a second seal of approval before I plug it in to put my mind at ease. Can you tell I'm a worrier? Hah i'm ridiculous but i'm sure you understand.

    Also, when you say a PC virus should have no impact on my mac, is there a chance if the HD does have a virus that it transfers over to my mac when i plug it in and is then always there on my mac? So it could infect files i send to other other people, like word docs etc!? Or is that not possible??

    Bah! I'm glad i made the switch from windows, viruses suck.
  4. rchip thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 26, 2011
    Hello guys, sorry to bring this back up i've still not connected the hard drive, just don't want to kill my mba!

    If I plug the hard drive in, transfer some songs over to my iPhone, if i downloaded a mac virus scanner would that pick up if i'd transferred a windows virus to my mac?

    Also, an a suitable mac anti virus to scan for this would be good too!


  5. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    As a Windows virus (if that is the OS you mean with "PC", as "PC" is short for personal computer) can't harm Mac OS X, there is no need for AV software, but if you really want to use some, look at the following link:
    There are currently no viruses for Mac OS X in public circulation, only a handful of trojans and other malware, which have to be installed manually via entering the administrator password.
    The only anti-virus you need to protect your Mac is education and common sense.
    Also know, that the term "virus" is often used to refer to other kinds of malware, but there are differences, which you can find out by reading the following:

    Mac Virus/Malware Info by GGJstudios
  6. rchip thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 26, 2011
    hey thanks for the reply, yes i said it was a windows PC in my first post.

    I'm not sure if this is possible with my limited computer knowledge but i'm worried about is, whatever virus/malware/trojan that's on my external hard drive getting it's way onto my mac and then just laying their dormant as such! And then if i send a word file or something to a friend on my mac, they get the trojan/virus etc.

    So that's why i'd like to run an anti virus on the mac to get rid of any windows virus that may be on there, not causing harm to my mac but may cause harm to other peoples windows machine!

    Thanks again for the input.
  7. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    As a Windows virus or malware can not be executed or running in Mac OS X, that scenario is unlikely, meaning if you would have had some malware inside an .mp3 file, it wouldn't be able to infect a .doc file while in Mac OS X. That is what Windows is there for.
  8. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    ClamXav is a good choice if you want to scan the drive for Windows malware before reconnecting it to your PC, since it isn't a resource hog, detects both Mac and Windows malware and doesn't run with elevated privileges. You can run scans when you choose, rather than leaving it running all the time, slowing your system.

    As already stated, Windows malware cannot "kill" or infect or in any way affect your Mac, other than taking up disk space.

    You don't need any 3rd party antivirus software to protect Mac OS X from malware. Macs are not immune to malware, but no true viruses exist in the wild that can run on Mac OS X, and there never have been any since it was released 10 years ago. The only malware in the wild that can affect Mac OS X is a handful of trojans, which can be easily avoided with some basic education, common sense and care in what software you install. Also, Mac OS X Snow Leopard and Lion have anti-malware protection built in, further reducing the need for 3rd party antivirus apps.
  9. rchip thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 26, 2011
    Ah thanks so much for the help, I've done it plugged the hard drive in and had no issues at all transfering music into iTunes :) awesome. I'll get that anti virus and run a scan then, I'll uninstall it I think after i'be done a scan! Again cheers fellas.
  10. howbotnik macrumors newbie

    Apr 8, 2010
    If you're interested, also check out the full Antivirus suite from Sophos here:

    Click here

    Its completely free, and not intrusive but also made by one of the bigger antivirus companies.
  11. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    Stay away from Sophos:

  12. John T macrumors 68020

    John T

    Mar 18, 2006
    As has already been said, there are no known viruses that can affect Macs.

    Sophos are clever marketeers, peddling their so-called anti virus software by "frightening" uninitiated Mac users. In actual fact, it has been shown that their software can actually have a detrimental effect on Macs. Once again - stay well away!
  13. howbotnik macrumors newbie

    Apr 8, 2010
    You learn something new every day. Will now uninstall.

    I usually use a mac to virus scan on external drives used with windows.

Share This Page