Virus Scanning or Virus Avoidance
I have had to fix hundreds of computers over the past several years and most of them could have been easily avoided by using antivirus software and making sure everything was up to date. This is not hard to do you just need to learn to make it a part of your routine.
Best Antivirus Software
Viruses are little executable programs that run on your computer, normally without you knowing and can cause an immense amount of damage to so little that you don’t even notice. The best way to guard yourself is to not go on the internet, or even better don’t own a computer. If that isn’t a viable option for you then you are going to need a virus scanner. Most people are going to suggest Norton or McAfee but I have found these to be lacking. I have found in many instances that AVG virus scanner actually will detect more viruses than Norton will. AVG is completely free and can be found by searching through Google. Make sure you update your virus definitions on a regular basis, a minimum of once a week, I suggest every morning. This will ensure that you have the latest up to date virus list so that you are protected and also if you have one of those viruses you can clean and remove it.
Email a Virus Without Even Knowing
Next watch out for email attachments. If you do not know the person who sent the email, don’t open it. Most new viruses spread by extracting your email address from other computers and sending you an email with the virus as an attachment.
Downloads From Sites
Some web sites request that you download an ActiveX DLL or Java Applet or some other piece of software in order to use a certain function on their web site. You need to be careful when deciding whether to download it or not. There are a few rules I follow to make sure that I don’t download something I should. If you are on an adult site do not download anything unless you absolutely have to. Make sure that the site/company has a good reputation; this can normally be done by searching Google.
Downloading From P2P
If you are downloading from a peer-to-peer program like Kazaa, Bearshare, WinMX or any other P2P program you are at your own risk. Most computers that I’ve seen that have this software on it end up having plenty of viruses and spyware. Now, this is not due to the P2P software itself but is due to the files that you are downloading through it. If you must have a P2P program, please make sure that your virus definitions are up to date at all times.
Don’t Rely On Automatic Update
On of the worse things you can do is to rely on the automatic update that come with the antivirus that you have. This will normally not send you an update notification until a few days after there is an update that you can get. Any antivirus software that I’ve seen allows you to manually download any updates that are available.
When Should I Scan My Computer
I leave my computer running 24/7 and if you do the same I would suggest scheduling a time somewhere around 2:00am. This allows the scan to run when no one is on it and will catch anything might have gotten by the automatic scan for one reason or another. If you turn your computer off at night, I suggest a scan right when you turn it on for the first time that day.
You will probably still get a virus from time to time but it should be a lot less frequent and will normally be something minor that you will get. Also if you need up getting a virus it will normally be caught within 24 hours which will reduce the amount of destruction that it can cause your computer and to others.