Time to Play Doctor! Run a PC Virus Scan

By Cathryn Conroy

Answer yes or no to the following questions:
1. Have you ever clicked on a link in an unsolicited email?

2. Do you browse the Web with JavaScript enabled by default?

3. Have you ever clicked on a pop-up ad that claims your computer is infected?

4. Have you logged on to an account from a link received in email, IM or social networking?

5. Do you think you don't need anti-virus software because you can protect your PC by just being "smart" when you surf the Web?

If you answered yes to even one of these questions, your computer could be infected with viruses, Trojan horses, adware, spyware, worms and rootkits. It's up to you to play doctor and bring your PC back to good health.

The good news: It's easy to do!

Buy and run an antivirus program
Make sure you have a virus protection package loaded onto your computer with a current subscription so the virus definitions are updated.

If you don't have one, buy one. There are many virus protection programs from which to choose, including Symantec AntiVirus, McAfee VirusScan, Norton AntiVirus, AVG AntiVirus, Avast! Pro Antivirus and more.

Choose a program that will scan the master boot record, boot sector and any applications currently running in memory; these particularly sensitive areas of your PC can harbor the most dangerous malware.

Do update the virus definitions and run the scan at least weekly. Tip: Close all other programs and Windows before running a virus scan.

Get the free Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool
In addition, you can download and run Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool. While this free malware removal tool won't find all the evil stuff on your PC, it will check for specific, prevalent malicious software.

When the detection and removal process is complete, the tool displays a report describing the outcome, including which, if any, malicious software was detected and removed.

Go the Microsoft Download Center to get the latest version; Microsoft releases new updates on the second Tuesday of each month or you can set the Automatic Updates feature to automatically deliver and install the latest version of the tool. Do note this is not a replacement for an anti-virus program.

Remember these wise words from Glenn Turner, a New Zealander athlete: "After all, just one virus on a computer is one too many." And we might add this: Especially when it is your computer!

--From the Editors at Netscape

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