To encrypt (folders) or not to encrypt--that is my question.

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Alex Ethridge

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As a rule, I don't run NTFS on any of my systems and I advise against it in most situations. The reason is that I consider the additional stability and security that NTFS offers to be outweighed by the disadvantage of making it impossible, if not near impossible, to clean adware/spyware/viruses from an infected machine. But now I am presented with a new dilemma:

I have a laptop that I am using more as time progresses. It has a lot of information stored on it about my clients' user names, passwords, e-mail configurations, product keys (which they do lose, occasionally). Losing the laptop to a thief and the potential that the thief would discover the valuable and sensitive information stored on it . . . Well, I think you get the idea.

I am thinking of converting the laptop to NTFS and encrypting the many folders that contain sensitive information, thus protecting my clients from any potential damage due to loss of the laptop.

Here's the proposed scenario and conditions:
  • The laptop's hard disk is converted to NTFS.
  • Folders containing sensitive information are encrypted.
  • The OS on the laptop crashes and is unrecoverable.
  • I am forced to trash the existing OS and set up Windows 2000 or XP fresh and clean and start over again.
What must I do now to prepare for this day so that after the OS is loaded again, I can access those encrypted folders?
 

DoubleHelix

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I've never heard of not being able to remove spyware or viruses from an NTFS drive. Where did you get this information?

Also note that encryption does not prevent the deletion of files. Users who do not have permission to open encrypted files can still delete them.
 

JohnWill

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You will need to create the password floppy for the encrypted folders if you ever plan on accessing them after reinstalling the O/S.

I'm with the others, I've run NTFS for years, and I have no problems removing virus/spyware infections.
 

Alex Ethridge

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Viruses, Spyware and Adware files get hooked into memory and sometimes cannot be deleted by conventional means. I get an error message that says (words to the effect) "This file cannot be deleted....". They cannot be deleted in DOS mode because there is no real mode access to the NT File System. Windows has to be running to access the file and when Windows is running, the files I need to delete are hooked into memory and "cannot be deleted".

The same applies to lines in the registry. Sometimes, you can handle the lines in the registry through REGEDT32--if you know which line you're going after, which isn't always the case because the spyware is ever mutating.

FAT32 solves all these problems in that it gives me DOS mode access to any file I want to delete.

johnwill:
There is no floppy drive on my laptop so I guess a USB drive will serve the same purpose?

Paladin:
I'll study your reference tonight. Thanks.
 

Alex Ethridge

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DoubleHelix,

I do intend to use the Recovery Console; but, this preparation is for those times when Recovery Console will not help. I have seen (and I'm sure you have too) instances where Recovery Console could not bail me out of a serious crash.
 
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