My computer is affected by a virus and so is Skyrim. Can I copy the saved game file, put it on a pendrive, and play Skyrim from the last saved point after formatting the whole computer?

Will this trick work or is the saved game file also affected by the virus?

  • 2
    are you using steam for skyrim?
    – Wouter
    Jun 12, 2015 at 14:09
  • Meta discussion
    – durron597
    Jun 12, 2015 at 17:06
  • 2
    Depends what virus. Some of them will encrypt all your data (e.g. cryptolocker and variants), making recovery impossible. The ones that don't, probably won't touch your game saves.
    – Bob
    Jun 12, 2015 at 23:34
  • 1
    @Wouter i have steam on my computer but i generally don't use it to run skyrim.
    – Soham
    Jun 13, 2015 at 13:23

2 Answers 2


Yes, you can copy your save across to another machine/the same machine after reformatting.

However, if you've plugged a USB drive into an infected computer, chances are the drive itself could have been infected too.

I would highly recommend creating an Antivirus LiveCD, booting your computer from it and checking the USB drive and saved files, before plugging the USB drive into anything else at all.

You may find you can also repair/recover your computer using the LiveCD, however if you have any questions on that, you're probably better off asking on our sister site Super User.

  • 6
    Noting that antiviruses (antivirii?) are typically imperfect, you should instead use a live environment to copy the save files off in the first place. It's better not to trust that an antivirus scan will actually detect anything.
    – Bob
    Jun 12, 2015 at 23:39
  • @Bob can you please explain 'live environment'..?? thnx in advance.
    – Soham
    Jun 13, 2015 at 13:25
  • 4
    @soham He means use the live cd OS to do the transfer off your virus infected machine.
    – fredley
    Jun 13, 2015 at 13:27
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    @Soham For instance, booting on a Linux Live CD (thus not running on the infected OS) and retrieve your files (that are on the infected OS) from there.
    – jeromej
    Jun 13, 2015 at 16:39
  • 1
    To add a layer of security, transfering the saved game by email or using google drive is good too, as chances are low that the virus intercept the upload. :) Jun 14, 2015 at 0:11

If you bought Skyrim on Steam then I think your save games and configuration are stored on Steam Cloud even though you did not start Skyrim from Steam. Steam detects if a game is running and sync it to the cloud when you close it.

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