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An overwriting virus is a malicious program which, after infection, will effectively destroy the original program code, typically by overwriting data in the system's memory.
Many consider overwriting viruses to be extremely harmful because they actually destroy elements of a user's system.
By contrast, other types of viruses can be contained and removed without this kind of damage. Examples of an overwriting virus include the TRj.reboot virus, which uses Visual Basic 5 libraries to overwrite existing program code.
This Trojan virus can also restart the user's computer, and was active in targeting Windows NT and Windows 2000 systems in the 2000s. Another example is the Trivial.88.D virus, which is classified as a 'direct action virus’ that infects executable files.
The low visibility of Trivial.88.D and its means of infection through email, file transfer, and other techniques makes it a particularly troubling virus.
Typically, users will need to remove the offending virus and then reinstall the original programs, which can be difficult depending on whether the original programs were backed up or kept in duplicate copies offline.