Control That Virus

A computer virus is a lot like a human virus. It’s contagious, disgusting and something you’d like to stay away from as much as possible. Just like a cold virus, it can be passed on very quickly and it’s difficult to recover from.

So, how does one catch a computer virus? Well, the most common way of transferring and contracting viruses is by copying infected material onto or from an infected floppy disk, CD or DVD. Another way is by receiving infected programs or data files. Since the Internet is quickly replacing the floppy diskette/CD/DVD as the method by which computer data and programs are exchanged, it has also become a vehicle for virus transmission. It can be in the form of an e-mail attachment or by visiting FTP Web sites. The e-mail message alone cannot contain infected data, however, it is possible to attach infected programs and/or data files to an e-mail message. FTP sites are also very popular on the Internet for transferring programs and data files. If the programs or data files on the FTP site are infected, anyone who opens the file will contract the virus.

Removing a virus can be a very challenging task for anyone. But with the right information, it’s possible to eliminate a virus infection from your computer. Prevention, however, is better yet! But how, you ask? Well, with regular virus scans, of course!

Scanning for a Virus

1.) If you have an antivirus program installed on your computer (Norton, McAfee, AVG, etc.), it’s recommend that you update it before running a scan. Also, make sure it’s not expired. If it is, you will not be able to download the latest virus definitions. There’s no point in running a scan if your software is not up to date, because new viruses will not be identified and cleared out.

2.) Let’s start by finding your antivirus program. It will more than likely have an icon in your system tray, located in the bottom right hand corner of your screen. After you find it, double click on the icon to open the program.

If you don’t have an icon, you can find your antivirus program by going to Start, All Programs.

3.) You are now on your antivirus program’s main page or control center. Here’s where you can find all the functions your antivirus program offers. Go ahead and click on the tab to run a virus scan.

4.) After you click on the Scan tab, it will give you the option to select the drive you want to scan. It’s recommended that you choose the Scan Computer option so that your whole computer is checked.

5.) It will practically run on its own after that. When the scan finishes, it will open a report window where you’ll be able to see if there was a virus found and if it has been healed or quarantined. If need be, it will give you the option to delete it as well.

Plus, to make your life easier, you can even program the antivirus software to run a scan automatically. You can opt to have it scan every time you start up your computer or even just once a week. Cool, huh?! Here are the steps for setting up a scheduled scan.

Scheduling an Automatic Scan

1.) Open up your antivirus program.

2.) Select the drive, disks or files you want to be included in the automatic scan.

3.) From the Tools menu, select Scheduler, then Schedule Scan. (Note: The wording may be different for different antivirus programs, but look for something similar).

4.) Click New.

5.) Follow the prompt and specify an answer for the questions it asks. Here are some of the things you may need to provide:

  • Event Type: Select the event from the drop down menu (for example, “scan all disks”).

  • When To Do: Select a specified time.

  • How Often: Select weekly, system startup or whatever you think is best for your computer.

  • Start Time: Enter the date and time.

  • Enter the date on the calendar.

6.) Click Done and you’re good to go!

Now, what if you don’t have an antivirus program installed on your PC? What can you do? Well, the solution is just a few clicks away if you have an Internet connection. Again, the simplicity of getting a free online scan is so easy, you’ll wonder why you never thought of it before. Simply use a search engine like Google, Yahoo!, etc. to find a free online virus scan and choose one that suits your needs the best.

The key to a virus free computer is making sure you have all the necessary programs installed to protect your PC while you surf the Internet and do all of your other work. Here’s to getting rid of viruses for good!

~ Cory Buford