How to get rid of a Master Boot Record virus

Radu Tyrsina
by Radu Tyrsina
CEO & Founder
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o yAs you may already know, a master boot record (also known as MBR) is a special type of boot sector. The MBR holds the information on how partitions, containing file systems, are organized on that medium.

In simpler terms, it contains the necessary computer code to start the boot process, making it quite important.

Unfortunately, the MBR isn’t safe from viruses. An MBR virus infects the boot sector of floppy disks or the Master Boot Record (MBR) of hard disks.

What is an MBR virus?

The infected code runs when the system is booted from an infected disk. It also has a tendency to spread very fast since once loaded, it will infect other floppy disks when accessed in the infected computer.

They are a primitive type of coding that is seen rarely nowadays because of the different programming languages. However, they aren’t completely gone and can cause havoc when they manifest.

How does an MBR virus spread?

MBR viruses are most commonly spread using physical media such as an infected floppy disk or USB drive connected. It finds it’s way into the PC when the drive is accessed, and it will then modify or replace the existing boot code.

Next time you try to open your PC, the virus will be loaded and run immediately as part of the master boot record. Most of the time, this result in you not being able to boot the PC at all.

It can also cause the PC to lose CD-ROM support or cause Microsoft Windows to run in Compatibility Mode.

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How do I get rid of an MBR virus?


One thing you must know about MBR viruses is that they can be quite difficult to remove. They sometimes encrypt the boot sector, and most of the times users may not even be aware they have been infected with a virus until they run an antivirus program.

Because of this, users are advised to have an antivirus program installed that is constantly updated and that has a large virus database.

Unfortunately, if the virus has been active for too long and has already damaged too much of the drive, the only surefire way to remove it is to reformat the existing hard drive.

Closing thoughts on MBR viruses

As you can probably guess, MBR viruses are quite a threat if left unhandled. More so, the only feasible way of protecting your self against them is to have a very good antivirus program.

As such, it is important to always look on the market for the best ones available, and always remember to keep them updated.

Do you want to know more about the Master Boot Record? Let us know in the comment section below.


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