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Complete Protection from Viruses

Although many people incorrectly refer to worms and Trojan horses as viruses, they are a form of malware that can be detrimental to your personal computer. Viruses are best described as any sort of malware with the ability to self-replicate.

One of the key identifiers of a computer virus is its ability to copy itself and spread to other computers without the user’s knowledge. Unlike worms, however, viruses must be carried from one computer to another on some sort of a host. Traditional hosts include floppy disks, CD’s, USB drives, and such. With the advent of the Internet, a virus can also be transmitted through e-mail and shared files. Computer networks are vulnerable since they are comprised of a large number of computers sharing the same files.

Symptoms of Viruses

Some viruses are very dangerous, rewriting or deleting files, or reformatting the hard drive. Other viruses cause no intentional damage but make themselves apparent through the display of text, graphics, video, or audio messages. One such virus showed a cat running across the display screen at regular intervals.

Even if the virus in and of itself is not intended to damage, these viruses take up hard drive space needed for other programs to run. This can cause programs to run improperly, or cause system failures and crashes. Many viruses also carry bugs, which can cause data loss and system crashes.

Virus Infection

Since a virus needs to replicate itself, it needs to be able to write to memory and execute code. For this reason viruses normally attach themselves to some sort of executable file.

Over the past several years, Windows has received criticism for leaving many loopholes in the programming for viruses to exploit. Many popular viruses have been designed specifically to attack Windows, although other operating systems are vulnerable as well.

In order to counteract virus infection, dependable anti-virus software needs to be installed on your computer, such as Paretologic’s XoftSpySE, PC Tool's Spyware Doctor & Spy Sweeper. Such a programs quickly and effectively scans the hard drive, detecting and eliminating harmful malware programs from your computer.

Restoring Functionality

Once your hard drive has been infected by a virus, there is a good chance that some of your system’s core programs have been rewritten. For this reason it is unadvisable to use the computer until the hard drive has been restored. This can be accomplished by reinstalling the operating system from the original disks, or from backup disks you may have made on your own.

The other option is to use the operating system’s restore function. Beginning with Windows XP, the hard drive creates restore points in memory, and the hard drive can be restored to one of those checkpoints. All you need to do is tell the system restore function to restore the hard drive to a checkpoint dated prior to the virus infection. All of your computer’s files up to that checkpoint should be completely intact.

Many new personal computers come with anti-virus software already installed. This software is usually good for a trial period, at which time it needs to be renewed. If you are going to utilize anti-virus software on your computer, be certain you are using a product that is going to keep up with the times and provide you with protection against the newest and most dangerous computer viruses.