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Three phases of the image restore process

Now you have an infected computer and your backup image of C-drive (hopefully not too outdated).

Restore process consists of three distinct phases:

  1. Backup of your infected C partition using disk imaging program such as Acronis Image, Ghost, etc. I recommend Acronis Image.
  2. Creation of the Delta Tree on a USB drive for subsequence resynchronization of your data with older copy that you restore. This Delta Tree can be real or virtual. In the latter case you need to use some application like rsync (via Cygwin),  Microsoft Windows Live Sync (Windows Vista and Windows 7 only), or some shareware data synchronization program like ViceVersa PRO, Automatic USB Backup & Synchronize Automatic USB Backup to name just a few.  
  3. Restoration of image from the back and merging of the "Delta Tree" with the restored backup.

Even if Windows is no longer bootable you still need first to recover files from the C-drive that are not on your image.  The best way to do it is to create a full backup of inflected drive using Acronis or Ghost and then recover files from this image. Do it using bootable CD recovery disk to prevent any interference from malware that infected your computer or, better from an alternative bootable USB drive. 

Then after you restored the image you need to merge your updates with the image. This is more tricky process. But if you are afraid to hose your system you can generally avoid it.

The key idea of Softpanorama restoration strategy is to boot Windows from the recovery partition of your USB drive and perform this process methodically without any rush. If you do not have recovery partition get a small USB drive (64G solid state is enough -- and has advantage that it will survive if you accidentally drop it)  and restore your latest image of C drive to this drive first.

Never rush recovery process

This way you can work without any rush: there are too many cases when important data were lost when people try to recover from infection in a rush and this is probably were the most damage from malware occurs.

Don't rush the recovery process. There are too many cases when important data were lost when people try to recover from infection in a rush and this is probably were the most damage from malware occurs.  You can also accidentally reinfect the restored C partition and need to repeat this process again. It happen with me couple of times.

Booting from a recovery partition with a full copy of your C: partition from a bootable USB drive (or bootable partition on your large drive) gives you two advantages:

Take extra time to prepare to restore the infected drive: read your own instructions or this page -- many things you probably forgot from the last case you use this strategy. I usually do.

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