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Setting Up Your Anti-Virus Software

There is far more to antivirus software than just opening the box, inserting the CD and installing software. To be properly protected you may actually want to do a little more than that.

You see, a good antivirus program does a lot more than you might think. In this article we will be discussing features of Norton Antivirus 2002, one of the best and most full featured programs available. Similar functions exist in the other major scanners.

The first thing you must do in this day and age is purchase and install antivirus software. If you don't have this installed you are literally living on borrowed time.

Some of the common features are described below.

Anti Virus Auto Protect

Perhaps the most important feature of all is auto protect. This feature allows the antivirus system to perform it's tasks without manual intervention. This is critical as then you can relax and do what you need to do, without constantly worrying about checking for viruses. Keep this turned on without fail.

Checking for Email Viruses

This is one of the most critical features of a modern antivirus program is the ability to scan email messages as they arrive or are sent. Scanning of this nature is relatively new and long overdue.


It's very important to remember that the most destructive viruses arriveas attachments in email messages. I know, I know, you would never, ever open anything that even remotely looked like a virus, would you? But how would you know? Do you want to take the chance on destroying your system?

Scanning Hard Drives For Viruses

Most virus scanners will occasionally scan your disks for anything that looks like a virus. In Norton Antivirus, you can schedule this scan for as often as you like - in fact, many people turn it off entirely. After all, while the scan is running your system will be slower than normal. It can be quite annoying.

Turning off the automatic disks scans is, however, a big mistake. These check your disks for any viruses which may have gotten through the front line defenses. How does this happen? You could copy a virus to your hard drive from a CD ROM, a floppy or perhaps across the network. It will be just sitting there, waiting to explode in your face. Scanning the disks finds these little time bombs and eliminates them.

But wait, if you have your antivirus program running won't it catch and stop any viruses that you happen to open? Yes it will, but you could still copy it to someone else, or another person could grab it over the network (if you are in a company, for example). Or perhaps for some reason you turn off your antivirus program, then you could accidentally open it up and destroy your system.

Scanning for Viruses in Scripts on Web Pages

Believe it or not, you can catch a virus from a web page. All you have to do is view the page and bang, you are infected. There are not many of these yet, but you can bet there will be in the near future. These are particularly nasty because, well, you don't have a choice about executing the virus.

These are not like the email viruses, which require you to actually open an attachment. They are not like other viruses, which require you to execute a file. These simply require you to view them. Pretty scary, if you ask me.

Thus, as you can see, it's very important to keep this feature enabled at all times. That way you will catch and destroy these things before you get hurt.

Regular Updates For Your Anti Virus Software To Prevent Data Loss

Be sure to subscribe to and use the regular virus updates. You see, new viruses are found all of the time, and if you don't update your definitions you will be vulnerable. In fact, after a few months of no updates your antivirus software becomes virtually worthless.

Anti Virus Conclusions

The features of your antivirus software are put there for a reason. My advice is to enable everything. Turn it all on. These days you cannot be too careful - or, if you prefer, you can disable something and perhaps lose your data. It's your choice.

About the Authors:
Richard Lowe Jr. is the webmaster of Internet Tips And Secrets. This website includes over 1,000 free articles to improve your internet profits, enjoyment and knowledge.
Web Site Address: http://www.internet-tips.net
Weekly newsletter: www.internet-tips.net/joinlist.htm

Claudia Arevalo-Lowe is the webmistress of Internet Tips And Secrets and Surviving Asthma.
Visit her site at http://survivingasthma.com

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