Computer Security & Viruses/Viruses and space left on pc


Hi! Lets make a hypothesis that I have zero bytes space left on my PC. Would it then be impossible to get viruses because viruses wouldn't have any place in my PC to go into in the first place?

Even though I suspect this might be a homework problem, I can't resist providing answers. Either the virus could erase something in order to write something new, it could be a bios infector (memory available on the bios chip rather than on the hard drive) or it could be a boot sector infector because the boot sector always has some extra space.

These last two answers assume the question refers only to the sector of the hard drive that is accessible to the user being completely full, no bytes left. You need special software to view and write to or erase what is in the boot sector as it is hidden to the user otherwise.

If this was a homework question I would get a kick out of learning whether your instructor was aware of bios and boot sector viruses. If the instructor might give you a bad grade for those answers, before turning in the homework you should look up information on bios and boot sector viruses and reference this information, and be prepared to intelligently discuss these with him or her.

Also, I left out one other answer, just in case this might be a homework question. But here is a hint: how are blocks of memory allocated.

Have fun!

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Carolyn Meinel


I cover Windows, Linux, TCP/IP and Ethernet security questions. I do not cover Mac, smart phones, or other networking issues.


Books by Carolyn Meinel: wrote a chapter for The Hacking of America book (see My article Code Red for the Web for Scientific American was reprinted in the book Best American Science Writing 2002 (see My book The Happy Hacker: A Guide to Mostly Harmless Hacking is now in 4th edition with a Japanese edition (see


See a list with some online links at

MS, Industrial Engineering, The University of Arizona Took a course in computer forensics at the University of Texas at Austin/

Past/Present Clients
DARPA, SAIC, Palmer Labs

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