Transferring Files

Can I transfer files (documents and photos) safely from my Windows 10 laptop to the Librem 13 with the Librem Key?

No. But an ordinary thumb drive works.

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@alexandermchugh best if you use a modern sata 3 hard-drive (HDD not SSD) for any kind of data.
thumb drive works fine for small non-essential files. (they tend to go bad pretty soon and if you aren’t careful you can lose them or corrupt stored data by not removing them properly.
hdds are also cost-effective (data volume to $) but they lack in the speed department (still faster than your average thumb-drives).

for very small trivial tasks (non-personally linkable you could also do it via an online-data-backup-service such as MEGA or NEXTCLOUD (but avoid Microsoft/Apple/Google/Dropbox etc)

If it’s a one off transfer there is nothing wrong with using a thumb drive, providing that the information fits on it.

You could use the LAN for this unless it is a ridiculous amount of data (multi-terabyte). Enable file sharing on Windows and use Samba on Linux? Or try FTP or SFTP?

A portable drive is an option. However that too needs to be removed properly.

One problem is whether the file metadata transfers correctly (file owner, file ACL, file dates). Windows wasn’t designed to be compatible with Linux, or vice versa. So this can be hit and miss.

To that end, if using any kind of removable disk, you need to consider what file system to put on the disk. FAT is almost universally compatible, but limited in functionality. NTFS will be usable on Linux. The various Linux ‘ext’ file systems won’t be usable on Windows (without third party software).

Then there’s compatibility of the actual documents. (I’ve never had a problem with JPEG photos.)

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I guess my question is whether it could transfer any spyware along with the files.

Yes probably but it would have to be relatively sophisticated since a lot of exploits will work on Windows but not on Linux, or vice versa.

If I put the files in a virtual box, would it be safe?

On the source computer or the destination computer? If you mean on the destination computer then that could limit the exploit to the VM, but the exploit was already a bit unlikely unless you have an XYZ agency after you.

If you have reason to believe that the source computer has been compromised then the best option is to fix the source computer. In most cases restoring the source computer from the last known good backup will achieve that. If you have compromised documents then you should not copy them. (Even if they do not embed any exploits, the content should be considered suspect e.g. could have been maliciously altered.)

a very good point which i missed ! i had some pretty nasty surprises when i was starting out because of this.

@alexandermchugh one thing i can tell you if you accidentally delete files or have corrupted files on whatever your storage medium is (that you want to recover) don’t write anything to that drive. just leave it untouched and seek the services of a professional data recovery lab. if you write on it or do anything to overwrite it you risk losing precious data forever.