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This chapter is from the book

Protecting Yourself Against Computer Viruses

Much like humans can catch a bug from unsuspecting carriers, computers can catch a virus. With a thorough understanding of viruses, how they are transmitted, what their symptoms are, and how you can protect yourself, your PC can lead a long, healthy life.

Antivirus Programs: Vitamin C for Your PC

The best bet for safe computing is getting, installing, running, and most importantly, updating, a good antivirus program. The two most popular antivirus manufacturers are Norton and McAfee.

There is a good chance your computer's manufacturer may have preinstalled one on your system before you bought it. It would be worth your while to poke around your computer's files a bit to see if such a treasure exists. If it does, spend a few minutes getting acquainted with the program. Learn how to turn it on and off, register it for regular updates, and even give it a test run on your hard drive in order to get comfortable with it.

From that moment on, keep the program running in the background so that it scans every file you come in contact with. If that drags down your system's performance too much, scan for viruses manually by following these steps:

  1. Click the Start button and then click My Computer.

  2. Next, click the name of the hard drive, floppy drive, or removable device you want to scan for viruses.

  3. In the Tasks pane on the left side of the screen, you will see a Scan for viruses command (if an antivirus program is installed on your PC). Click that link to initiate the scan. The length of time required to complete the scan will depend on how large (or how small) the item is you're scanning.

  4. Check your antivirus program's documentation for further instructions.

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