I watch the always dependable reaction. Eye shift, foot shuffle, then a wincing "I think...I mean I have Norton on my desktop". Usually followed by a sheepish grin.
My friends, like most average users, know that they should have virus protection, but it's ... difficult to make sure you have the right thing installed. In hopes of making it easy here are some quick tips.
My rule about Anti-virus software: It should be invisible, until I have a problem. If this ain't true then I've got the wrong software package.
AVG.com - Go to the site, click on home version, click on trial and download it. It expires in 30 days, but we will discuss this later. DO NOT INSTALL YET.
Remove any anti-virus software that you might already have installed. Click the Start button, Goto to Control Panel, Add Remove Programs, Uninstall your old anti-virus.
This is an important step as multiple anti-viruses will slow your machine as well as cause one another to fail.
Now install AVG. Just follow the prompts, its relatively painless. You DO NOT have to INSTALL any toolbars. (Unless you want them)
When your done installing, click on the AVG icon in your start tray. (The area down by the time and date).
- Click on Scans
- Create a scheduled scan
- It should scan once a week
- It should scan all drives
- Let it start at 12:00 Noon
- If it misses a scan, start a new scan the next time the machine boots.
Whenever you login, check for the AVG icon in your start tray. If you don't see it you have a problem.
That's it! It's not difficult! The only time I see AVG is when I have a virus. It automatically checks all files I save, anything I download and it even checks web links before I click them. It's cool, in a geeky sorta way.
Oddly enough, my 30 day trial expired, but this means that when a virus is detected, I get an offer to buy the product but it still cleans and scans my machine. I encourage you to upgrade and buy the full package. Matter of fact, I'm going to buy the software today.
At times you might get a popup/message that it's time to update your virus protection. Do it, it will take 15 min and run in the background. You should be aware that AVG will daily download minor updates for itself. However this will happen without you being aware of it. The bigger updates typically mean something special happened. These are the ones you will receive an alert on.
Other Antivirus Packages
There are a number of anti-virus packages out there. All are pretty good, so feel free to try them. Just try them one at a time. I recommend AVG as it's NOT well known. Which means hackers are not specifically targeting their system. It's a small advantage, but "life's a game of inches."
Malware - Antivirus Impersonators
This sounds counter intuitive, but be very careful of any popup message saying you have a virus There are a number of hacks that impersonate your anti-virus software. They look very close to the real thing! If your suspicious of something, just cancel out and click on your AVG icon (in the start tray). It will let you know if there is a problem.
If you get one of these malware viruses that LOOK like a anti-virus software, seek a professional. These viruses tend to get out of hand very quickly!!!
Finally, I would challenge my friend Mr. Clark over at Clark Thought Leadership to write his own blog entry on this topic. He specializes in IT and PC Security.
So tell me what Anti-Virus do you use, and does it work for you?