Tech Tip: Always use antivirus software
Whether you are a new computer user or you have been using computers for years there is one program that no one wants – the computer virus. A computer virus is a malicious program that can cause all kind of havoc to an infected system such as deleting data and corrupting the operating system. As you can imagine this is a major inconvenience and can result in irrecoverable data loss. To protect yourself from this it is wise to always have an updated version of antivirus software installed on your computer.
In previous years, most antivirus software was trial-ware so you could only use them for free for a limited time then you would be prompted to purchase a subscription to use the software for longer. A lot of these trial-ware antivirus programs still come installed on new computers. Fortunately, nowadays you also have many free options for personal antivirus software so you are not limited to these subscription based solutions.
To use an antivirus software you install it on your computer and then you update it’s virus definitions. This helps the software get updates that allow it to detect new threats that are out in the wild. The program can then be used to scan the entire computer or specific locations for malicious programs. If any virus is found you will be prompted by the program which will also suggest an action to get rid of the harmful files. Antivirus software can also help prevent viruses from entering the system in the first place by monitoring downloaded files and processes active in memory.
Below are some free antivirus programs that can be used to protect your computer:
Microsoft Security Essentials – A highly rated free antivirus program from Microsoft. This program uses a simple interface and lacks many of the bells and whistles of other more complicated antivirus software. However it does the job it is meant to do well and is very unobtrusive.
Avast Antivirus – This is another free antivirus software for personal use. You can upgrade to the paid pro version for additional features but the free version is adequate to keep your personal computer protected from common viruses.
AVG Anti-Virus – Another basic free antivirus with the option of purchasing a version with more features.
Your choice of antivirus software ultimately depends on your preference. Whichever program you choose it is imperative to keep your virus definitions updated so that you are protected from new and emerging threats. It is also recommended that you scan your computer regularly and especially scan any external drive that you use with your computer as these are common entry points for viruses.