Preventing Viruses

Dear Computer Lady,

How do I prevent virus’s and get rid of one?

Thanks, Tracey

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Dear Tracey,

You have asked a great question! The first thing you want to do is prevent viruses, it is far easier to prevent viruses in the first place than it is to get rid of one after it has infected your system.

I have worked on thousands of computers over the past 14 years, and I have seen a lot of computers infected with viruses. Some of them were not running any antivirus programs when they got infected, but most of them did have an antivirus program installed.

The most common reason that computers get infected even though they have an antivirus program running, is that the antivirus program is no longer being updated. Many computers come with a limited trial version of some antivirus program, and when the 30 or 60 days run out, the computer owner does not either purchase a subscription with that antivirus program, or remove that program and install another one.

Another way your computer can get infected, is if you are running two antivirus programs at the same time. Unfortunately, one antivirus will work against the other one and this leaves holes in your protection that viruses can get right through.

Whenever you are installing a new antivirus program on your computer, make sure you have uninstalled the old program first.

A couple of years ago, there were free antivirus programs available that did an excellent job of keeping your computer protected. I personally used the free version of AVG antivirus and it worked great. These days, however, there are so many malicious programs out there, many of them technically not viruses, that you need a program that provides protection against not only viruses, but also malware like the many fake antivirus programs that try to get into your computer, and trick you into giving them your credit card number.

Right now, I am using AVG Internet Security 2011. This program is doing a great job of protecting my computers, and it is also protecting many of my customers as well. AVG automatically downloads new updates every day, and scans my computer several times a week.

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Once you have been infected with a virus, you need to get it off your system as soon as you can. The first thing you can try, is to update your antivirus software and run a full scan. You might be able to restore your computer to an earlier time, but you will still need to scan for and get rid of the infected files. If you are not able to get the virus out yourself, be sure to call your local computer repair shop to get it out of your system as soon as possible. And NEVER give your credit card information online to get rid of viruses. There are too many fake antivirus programs out there just waiting for you to give them your credit card.

I hope this helps you to keep your computer clean and running smoothly.

Elizabeth

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