Hey, just had to do this thing for a project in school. Thought it might be useful to any newbies to computers. Most problems on the computers are due to malicious code, so if you know how to use an anti-virus program you should be safe from most threats. Let me know what you guys think of it!
Malicious computer code affects our lives everyday. Whether it was last night’s homework or a lifetime’s amount of important files and programs, we are all devastated when we try to turn on our computer and our files have been destroyed. However, there are a few quick and easy steps to avoid this whole mess. In the next few moments, I will talk to you about what you can do to protect your computer from such disasters.
Lets start off with a definition of a computer virus. According to an article submitted to Wikipedia, a computer virus is any program that is able to replicate by making modified copies of itself. A virus can come in many forms such as worms, Trojan horses, and can be bundled with spyware and adware. The way the work is that they sneakily enter your computer, in a unsuspecting email or file download. You, thinking the file is actually something you need, download the file. However, after downloading the file, you cannot locate it anywhere on your computer or you receive an error message about the file being corrupt. You, thinking the computer did something wrong, end up forgetting about it, and continue going about your day.
This, however, is where the virus hits us the worst. Most people don’t realize that file download might have actually been harmful to their system, and delay any kind of countermeasure to protect themselves. The key to fighting a computer virus is time. The longer it takes for you to notice the symptoms, the more files the virus infects. Acting in time, gives you a much higher chance of repairing your system since the virus didn’t affect as many files. Common symptoms of malicious code include system slugginess, more frequent error messages, and missing files.
One of the best ways to protect against all of these digital monstrosities, is to download a anti-virus program. Most anti-virus programs protect against ordinary viruses, network replicating worms, and back door Trojans. Another type of program is needed to combat any spyware/adware, that can come bundled with some viruses. One program I highly recommend is AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition. It is freely available for download on download.com. It a fully functional program, that incorporates a resident shield, a virus scanner, self updating feature, email scanner for Outlook, and a virus vault for infected files. All you have to do to start zapping any viruses you may have on your computer is download the small .exe from the website. Then close any running programs and double click the exe file. Follow the prompts, and a few moments you’ll have AVG on your system.
AVG’s interface is pretty straightforward. After installation of the program, right click the update manager to allow AVG to get the latest file signatures. The most important feature of an anti-virus program is its update feature. Hundreds of viruses are written every month, and updating allows consistent protection from the latest threats. Click on the Test Center button, and click scan computer. The virus scanning process is very lengthy depending on how big a hard drive you have. It takes about 45 mins to 1 hour to scan your entire hard drive, so make sure you have some time to kill. You can turn the monitor off, and leave the computer to do its task. When you come back later, the computer should be done scanning. The program will tell you how many files have been infected, what virus they have been infected by, and ask to heal the files. You can click ok, and see if healing is possible. If it isn’t, AVG will move the infected files to an encrypted folder on your hard drive. The program calls this the Virus Vault.
Wait a week before deleting any files in the Virus Vault. This gives you ample time to see if any files that were quarantined were crucial for any programs to run. If some program needs a file that AVG has listed infected, and you could not heal it, you have two options. One is to wait for another update, provided that it may allow you heal that file. The other option is to put the file back where it was. Doing so, will cause another infection but allow you to access your program. This is one of AVG’s only down sides but if you want a more featured anti-virus program, buy Norton Anti-Virus or McAfee Anti-Virus. Both are available for around 40-50 bucks at your general electronics store.