I know that maybe it sounds like a duplicate but it isn't because I see that the other questions describe totally different situations than mine. Apart from the other users, I don't have a Windows partition on my netbook (yes, I am a newbie but I had the courage to "forget" about Windows) and I don't have any CD-RW drive on it. So I don't need to scan my Windows partition from Ubuntu neither I can use any Antivirus CD like some people recommend.

My problem is, I hope, simpler. I use a lot of flash drives to store data, and I have used it since my "Windows times". But now I have become unaware of the possible viruses that can be "stored" on it. Yesterday I have plugged in several of my flash drives on a freshly installed Windows XP system with an up-to-date Avast! Antivirus on it, and the antivisrus has discovered a dizzying number of viruses on my flash drives! While this doesn't affect me, it may affect others, because all of my friends are Windows users and they always call me to help them solve PC-related problems. So, I can't go to them and, unwillingly, "flood" their systems with viruses instead of helping them.

So I really need to keep my flash drives clean just in case. Note.

  1. I don't think that using a Windows system to scan them is a good solution, although it might sound to be the easiest and most obvious. My mother's PC runs Windows XP but is an old PC, tricky and unreliable because it falls all the time.

  2. ClamAV is not an option for me as I have a very bad experience related to it. I have used it in the spring to scan a Windows partition (on a dual boot PC) and the result was a total mess and I had to reinstall both operational systems again. Since that day, I simply hate ClamAV as I am convinced that it erases even good and clean files and all it does is just a mess.

So, if you have a a solution apart of those two and keeping in mind my lack of CD drive, then your advice would be very much appreciated.

closed as primarily opinion-based by Panther, karel, Avinash Raj, Alaa Ali, BuZZ-dEE Jan 3 '14 at 7:24

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • What might I say regarding the same is very easy : @Cristiana. Mount the usb in /media/Your USB and then open it. Keep all the folders and files you recognize, Delete any suspicious file/folder. Specially with Characters in names etc etc. Its more of a self know approach to defend against viruses. Imho, i dont think that will cause any damage to system files in pen drive. – ASCIIbetical Jan 2 '14 at 17:43
  • I think you will have a similar experience with all Linux anti-virus programs. AS far as I know, none of the linux anti virus programs "disinfect" files, they only offer to delete infected files. You have to use an antivirus program to identify the problem, then search for a solution. Sometimes you can disinfect, sometimes you have to delete files, and sometimes you have to do a fresh install. The problem is in the nature of viruses, and not anti virus software, and as such, clamav is a good as any other. – Panther Jan 2 '14 at 19:59
  • @ASCIIbetical Thanks for the advice! As I have told already, I am a newbie. I don't know, for example, how to mount a flash drive if it doesn’t mount "by itself" automatically. Anyway, till now, I didn't had to know, because, every time I plug in a flash drive, its icon appears on the desktop. I am not sure that I can recognise any suspicious file because I know what I have put on those drives and I see only what I have put. So, if there is any suspicious file or folder, I suppose, there are many chances to be somehow, invisible, I think. Anyway, I'll study this aspect more. – Cristiana Nicolae Jan 2 '14 at 20:51

Suggest installing BitDefender for Linux which offers a free personal use license.

  • 1
    Thank you K7AAY! After a painfully complicated process, I have managed to install and use Bit Defender on my netbook. I have even managed to add Bitdefender to the right-click menu in order to be able to easily use it. Anyway, the main idea is that I have successfully scanned two of my flash drives with BitDefender and it have found several viruses and trojans where I was expecting the least. Till now, BitDefender is the best and I am pleased with it. But I'll try other apps too in order to get an objective view. – Cristiana Nicolae Jan 7 '14 at 10:55

If it is just the flash drives you want to wipe of the viruses, just copy the files (the ones you know which don't contain viruses) off them, and use GParted to wipe them.

Making sure that it is the memory stick you are wiping, unmount it, and delete the partitions: enter image description here

Then go to Device, and Create Partition Table.... Set to make a msdos table, and click Apply.

You can then create a new FAT32 partition, so that it will work with both Windows and Linux.

All this should effectively remove all date from the memory sticks, making sure there are no viruses.

Hope this helps smiley

  • While this was not what I was looking for (because I wont to clean a flash drive without having to erase it) your suggestion, wilf, is good to be known. I am sure that people who wont to extra security will use it. I'll keep it in mind for the future when I'll wont to write something on a flash drive from scratch. – Cristiana Nicolae Jan 7 '14 at 10:58

You could install an antivirus product on Ubuntu such as Comodo Antivirus For Linux (Free) or the previously mentioned ClamAV (Free), or you could install wine and setup an antivirus product inside of it such as Symantec Endpoint Protection (not free) or Comodo Internet Security (Free), just make sure to disable any kind of auto-scan capability (if possible don't install it to begin with). You will of course have to enable access from wine to the usb stick via wines virtual letter drives.

How to install wine:

How to install and configure Wine?

How to install Comodo Antivirus For Linux:


  • Thanks for the suggestion. I have decided to give it a try. Wine si already installed on my system so all I had to install was Comodo. After installation, I have clicked on "Comodo Antivirus" to start the app. But first of all, before it actually started, it popped up a small window telling me that some kind of driver SQUED Driver (or something like that) is not installed. I clicked OK without thinking twice and that was the only time I saw this. I must say, that, for my shame, I have forgotten, after the installation, to type in the terminal: "sudo /opt/COMODO/post_setup.sh". – Cristiana Nicolae Jan 3 '14 at 14:00
  • It also said that "Comodo Application Agent is not running!" and, apparently, because of that I could not update the virus database. – Cristiana Nicolae Jan 3 '14 at 14:03
  • As I wonted to solve the problem of updating the virus signature, I have followed the tutorial from your link and typed in the terminal "sudo /opt/COMODO/post_setup.sh". But it turned out to be not enough, so, Comodo itself suggested, I have also typed this line after the previous: "/etc/init.d/cmdavd restart". The result is that now, the virus signature database is updating as we speak... – Cristiana Nicolae Jan 3 '14 at 14:45
  • I have scanned with Comodo one of my flash drives, a multi-boot drive with no remanence having Knoppix, Kubuntu, Easypeasy and Bodhi on it. All, except the last one, seem to be infected with 3 malwares. Here are the results: Packed.Win32.MUPX.Gen@129019204, Virus.Win32.Sality.Gen@84752119 and Win32.Neshta.A@184948, the last one infecting several files, including... wubi.exe (!). Could that be a false positive? I did not cleaned them because I'm not sure what to do about it. All those Linux distros are genuine, downloaded from their websites.. How is this possible to find malware in them? – Cristiana Nicolae Jan 3 '14 at 16:13

Based upon my logical inference, I have reached to a conclusion (I might be wrong) that since (in her own words) she only sees what she put on those drives, IMHO, i don't think her system/Linux is any how infected. You see, these Trojans, viruses, Malwares etc. programmed for windows environment are generally of .exe format. As soon as you put them inside a foreign environment like Ubuntu , they can't get executed by themselves and remain in a docile state. There is also very less probability (rather no way if you ask me) that they can remain hidden by default in any Unix based system. (They are programmed/written such way to remain hidden in Windows, so that they can propagate further), but can't stay same in Unix. So, as she mentions, all of her friends are Windows users I guess as soon as she plugs in the drive in their system, these, Trojans/viruses etc. already present in their systems, infects her pen drive as well. (Its relatively easy to guess as the probability of a Windows system getting infected is much more higher than a Unix System). Also, relatively, the chances of getting a pen drive infected by any *Nix system for Windows Os are pretty low. There is no way a *Nix System can infect a pen drive in such a way that as soon as you plug your drive in Windows Xp and scan it with anti-virus, it recognizes virus or malware. That is not linux behavior. Linux is not designed that way, Security is at its very core. So, what I would rather suggest is that IMHO, your Linux environment is 100 % safe, its when you hop your pen drives from 1 system to other (of your friends) where it gets infected. I wont say don't do it, but my solution will be to rather going to stupid OS and Stupid anti virus, insert USB in Linux(Ubuntu) environment , Let it auto-mount, delete all those files which you haven't put or recognize. Lo and behold, I can guarantee you try scanning that pen-drive/media in that Anti Virus of yours. Bingo ! Virus Free. Hope that helps.

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