When To Use A Free Computer Virus Scan

The main reason why you would consider using a free computer virus scan is when you suspect you have a virus infection. Run a free virus scan even if you are regularly using an anti-virus program –- it will give you a second opinion as to whether your security has been breached.

So, here, we'll be looking at...

  1. The Ways a Virus Can Infect Us
  2. How to Tell We Have a Virus Infection
  3. What To Do to Remove Computer Virus


1. The Ways A Virus Can Infect Us

If your antivirus software failed to update with the most recent virus signatures, then a problem with a virus infection might lie there.

Even if updates are installed regularly, a newly released virus may penetrate your computer if the signature for this virus was not in your update. With about 40,000 malware infections released daily, you need a program that updates hourly rather than daily -- see The Best Antivirus Software From Independent Comparative Tests, for more information.

If your antivirus software is compromised in any way, then your computer is open to infection from a variety of infected sources... 

  • Removable media such as a CD, DVD, USB etc.
  • Email messages and attachments
  • Opening an infected file
  • Programs downloaded from the Internet.
  • From hostile Java applets and ActiveX controls, unknowingly downloaded when browse the Internet.


2. Free Computer Virus Scan...
How To Tell We Have A Virus Infection

Whenever our computer behaves oddly, we should first suspect a virus attack. Signs of an infection can include...

  • Unexpected dialog boxes or messages
  • A marked slowdown in performance
  • Unable to turn off our PC
  • Unable to run software
  • Windows locks up or freezes
  • PC refuses to start once turned off
  • Constant hard drive or modem activity, indicated by flickering indicator lights
  • Messages from people in our contacts list telling us we've sent them a virus


3. What To Do to Remove A Computer Virus

No need to panic! First, run an update on your AV software and perform a scan. But if it doesn’t solve the problem, this is when to try a free computer virus scan...


Using A Free Computer Virus Scan
By having your computer scanned over the Internet using a free virus scan, we have the benefit that the vendor's scanner will be updated with all of the latest virus signatures.

The following vendors have been chosen because their antivirus software is at the top of the Independent Certification and Comparative Testing Organizations. My article, The Best Antivirus Software From Independent Comparative Tests will tell you more.

Here are my recommendations for the top virus scans...

  • Trend Micro HouseCall
    This web-based tool detects vulnerabilities and provides security patches. After a scan, it provides you with a detailed report.
  • Kaspersky Removal Tool
    This is a download rather than online scan, but will detect and remove viruses, worms, Trojans and spyware.
  • Bitdefender Free QuickScan
    Detects viruses and spyware which are active in memory or present in files that are run at system start-up.


After A Free Computer Virus Scan
When we scan the infected machine with AV software, the software will recommend action on viruses that it finds -- it may delete infected files or quarantine them.

Unfortunately, information on our machine may be corrupted and we may need to restore the information from backups.

We need to scan backups on removable media as well as our hard disks for virus infection. If we've suffered a severe infection, we may find that all our backups are infected. In this case, we need to call in expert advice to save the information on the corrupted media.

When our antivirus software reports that our machine is clean and it's performing as it did before the infection, we can relax!

Remember... if you weren't using an antivirus program before the infection, then an immediate step is to get one installed on your computer. The best programs are discussed in my article, Free Computer Virus Scan... The Best Antivirus Programs.


Supporting Articles

You can widen your awareness and knowledge about viruses and how to protect against them. Check out the following articles in this section:




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