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What is a virus and how does it get onto my computer?

The people that develop these viruses are constantly finding new ways to infiltrate your computer. When one door shuts, another one opens for them. However the most common ways to get a virus on your computer is through the internet. You might download a file that contains a virus, or maybe you might open an email that has one attached to it. Sometimes even visiting a bad website can infect your computer. The worst one of all, however, is when people download illegal cracked software. This software has usually been taken apart and repackaged with a few extras attached. Maybe you download music or videos from the internet. How do you know you are actually downloading the file you intended to. The file may be named to deceive you, and once you open it you will release the virus.
Another common way to get a virus is to see software appear on your screen that is posing as an antivirus program. The minute you press the cross button to close the program or even the scan button, because it is telling you to scan for viruses, you are immediately infected by this virus. If you see a program come up on your screen that you know you did not install, the best way to shut it down is to open up task manager and end the process.
what is a virus

How do I know if I have a virus or not?

If your computer has been infected with a virus you will quickly see odd signs that it exists. Weird things start happening that you cannot explain. Files might move around, odd error messages may appear, programs might start to fail. For example if your virus scanner program stops working then it could have been disabled by a virus. With all this action taking place in the background your computer will also start to run slow and seem like it is busy all the time.
When browsing the internet you might find that you will not able to visits the pages that you choose. You will be redirected to different websites. You computer might also be sending emails to everyone in your contact list without you knowing.

What can a virus do to my computer hardware components?

People think that a virus simply attacks the file systems of your computer, however this is not true. Some viruses are designed to damaged computer hardware components until they are ruined completely.
Many people will argue that a virus only infects software, however all hardware is controlled by various types of software. Infact the entire computer is controlled by BIOS which is software. BIOS controls the temperature of the motherboard. What if a viruses only purpose was to change the temperature control on your motherboard. The motherboard would overheat and fry itself.
In the old days viruses used to be developed to set the read speed of a floppy disk drive to speeds beyond its capability. The Floppy disk drive would overheat and fry from being overworked. Now days Windows Vista has a service called Superfetch that searches your hard drive, finds out what you use the most, and makes it available for you.. If you made a virus to control Superfetch, we could have a serious problem. Most Vista users already have Superfetch disabled on their computer. A virus could enable it, tell it all files are important, keep it searching non stop, and fry your hard drive that way. Now I can here someone saying “yeah right, not with all the security we have around today”. Well you should never underestimate these guys who develop viruses. They can work around anything.

What should I do if I get a virus?

If you suspect that your computer has a virus, scan your computer asap with an antivirus program. If you do not have one or yours is not working, download another one, or get a free scan using the free online virus scanners.
Here is a list of free online virus scanners.
Symantec Security Check, McAfee FreeScan, Panda ActiveScanTrend Micro,Kaspersky labbitdefender, and there are so many more. There is no guarantee that these free scanners will cure your computer but they might just confirm the fact that you actually have a virus.
If you find viruses but cannot remove them you will need to take your computer to a professional before you lose everything. Another option is to format your computer which means you loose all the files on it and re-install a fresh copy of the operating system. You can backup your files first, but please be aware that they might be infected with a virus also.
If you have scanned your computer, found viruses, and successfully deleted them, then now is the time to buy a decent program that will stop this from happening again. See my review of the best Virus Removal Software.
Do not continue to use the computer without taking action because the longer you leave it the further the virus can spread.

What is a virus? What file types commonly contain viruses?

Lets face it, downloading is a dangerous business, especially when you have important files stored on your computer. Any file you download can contain a virus. My rule for downloading is to ask myself “Do I know and trust this website I am about to download from?”
Here are a few examples of common files that could contain viruses:
EXE FILE: If you download a program or anything that requires an install file then it will be an .exe file. When you press on it to install to your computer you could be releasing a virus.
ZIP FILE: People download zip files from the internet that contain any other file type and you will not see it’s contents until you open it. A zip file might have an exe file in it.
SCR FILE: Free screensavers for your computer. They always have something bad in them. Sometimes adware or viruses.
DOC FILE: A Microsoft word document can contain macros and small scripts that are viruses.
If you haven’t got antivirus software installed on your computer you can try Avast. It also takes care of spyware, malware, etc and it is fantastic!  Take advantage of avast! try before you buy policy. avast! offer most of their products on a trial basis for 60 days. Click here

Notes on what is a virus:

  • There is a lot of confusion about actually “what is a virus” because there are so many different types of viruses out there.
  • Most, if not all websites on the Internet agree that a virus is a small piece of software that invade your computer.

What is Malware?

Malware is a software program that has bad intentions. It can either be installed by the computer user accidentally or it can sneak into your computer through various avenues. Its not the same as a piece of software that by chance causes harm to your computer, malware is software that has been developed with the intent of causing problems with your computer.

What is Spyware?

Spyware is a type of malware program that invades your computer and basically spies on you. There are different types of spyware that collect different information. A common spyware type is a keylogger which records keystrokes typed on your keyboard. This is how people lose their bank account details. Other spyware will record your actions and browsing habits on the internet. Any information collected by spyware is usually with the intent to sell.

What is Adware?

Adware is another form of malware and is exactly as the name suggests, software with advertising. Adware can be downloaded and sometimes included in free programs. For example Windows Live messenger and Yahoo messenger contain adware. Although some programs give the option not to install the extra adware, others seem to sneak it in without permission.

What is Virus?

A virus is a small program designed to infect your computer and cause errors, computer crashes, and even destroy your computer hardware. Unlike spyware, a virus can grow and replicate itself. It can also travel from one computer to another via an internet connection. Of course you can get viruses from discs with virus infested files stored on them, however the internet is the most common entry point. Some common symptoms of a virus are emails being sent to all contacts when you didn’t send them, being taken to webpage’s that you didn’t choose, or being told you have a virus and to download a program to fix it.
Virus Removal Software for the average PC user.
The word ‘virus’ is the most talked about word in the computer world, along with it’s partner, ‘spyware’. They are both equally disliked by every computer user, especially if you are unlucky enough to have one. Even if your computer hasn’t been infected with a virus, most problems are usually blamed on them. If you think you have a virus you should do some research by finding out what a virus is and the difference between a virus, spyware, and malware. Do not do the research on the computer that has the virus though, as the virus will be spreading through your computer as you use it.
The sure fire way to avoid any confusion is to ensure that your computer has propervirus removal software installed. By ‘proper’ I mean if you are going to buy any software it should be virus removal software. Get all your other programs and software for free but do not skimp on your Virus Removal Software. Of course if you are really scabby, you can install a free virus program and then check out my top 10 tips on how to protect your computer from viruses.

How do I choose the right virus removal software for my computer?

Good Question! Every computer is different and each computer user requires a different amount of protection. For example if your computer does not even have an internet connection and you do not share files, then I do not see a need for you to install any virus removal software. On the other hand, if your computer connects to the internet for even a second, you need protection.
The level of protection varies. If you download files and programs from the internet then you should be protecting your computer with the best anti virus software available. That does not mean you have to spend hundreds of dollars though. If you read through the reviews below you will be able to choose the right Virus Removal Software for you.

What is virus removal software? Is it the same as antivirus software?

Virus removal software and antivirus software are the same thing. Each software developer calls their particular program a different thing. In the end, all antivirus software is meant to do the same thing, alert you about viruses, quarantine them, or remove them. Many antivirus software also now include complete internet security. This means it will include an antivirus program along with other security features such as a internet firewall. There is no reason why you should go through the stress of trying to remove a vicious virus from your computer when all of the virus removal software is either available for free or at a very reasonable price.
The software listed below is made to protect your computer against getting attacked by a virus, however it is also made to be virus removal software. This means that if you do get a virus, the software that you are using should be able to get rid of it.

Top 5 virus removal software

I am just going to give you my honest opinion and review on my top 4 antivirus programs. The reason I have chosen these particular programs is I have actually used them and tested them for myself. Each banner leads to more information about the antivirus program in question. If you do buy a program after pressing one of these banner Tips4pc will get a commission as we are affiliates for all programs. At least 3 of the banners offer either a free program or a free software trial before you buy. This is great if you are short on cash at the moment.

1.  Microsoft Security Essentials – totally free

Recently I have been testing the Microsoft Security essentials free virus removal software to see how it runs. it is free to download for anyone with a genuine copy of Windows. It is very easy to use and gets updated automatically. It seems to be very user-friendly and you would almost not even know that it was on your computer. That’s what I like, software that does its job and does not annoy me. I suggest you download Microsoft Security essentials for yourself and see if you like it. This is absolutely free and you will not be asked to buy or upgrade any version of this software.
I am not sure if this virus removal software is going to replace my usual program that I use, (Avast) but I will eat my hat and use it if this works out to be better. Even though I am testing this software, I have not had a virus while using it, I have not seen it detect a virus, I have not seen it block a suspicious website, or any of the other things that I’m looking for. If you have been using Microsoft Security essentials, please add your review below to let us know what you think of it.

2.  Avast Antivirus Professional – 60 day trial

This is what I use now. I actually downloaded the free 60 trial and then ended up buying the program. It was absolutely amazing. It would update itself, and other than that you would not even know it existed, until the warnings came through… WOW.. This program picks up everything! Even if I put a disc in the disc drive it would find a virus on that..Even though the disc is old and no other virus checkers had picked it up before.. You do not have to take my word for it because you can download the trial version and try it. It has no limitations but expires after 60 days. So you get to try the full program. Not like some programs that scan your computer for viruses and then tell you to buy the program to get rid of them.avast virus removal software
The other great thing about the Avast is that it will do a boot time scan which is a scanned performed before your Windows registry files are loaded. This way it can check them while they are not in use. I have found that the vast will pick up a virus using this method.
I have to tell you that I have so many computers in my house that I could not possibly afford to buy virus removal software for all of them. Therefore I have the avast trial version installed on some of my computers and when the trial runs out, it has a little button hiding, saying continue with the trial. I have pressed this and continued to use avast for free. I also have bought avast Internet security which covers three PCs.

3.  AVG Antivirus – free version available

Most people know about AVG because there is a free version available to download that does a really good job. I would gladly install the free version on AVG on a persons computer if they were not willing to buy a Virus Removal Software. I have tested the free version for about two years and it did the job, although I did eventually end up with a virus and had to reformat my computer. This was not acceptable in my case and therefore I had to upgrade to the paid version. If you are just using the internet to check your emails and buy stuff on Ebay then you should be fine with this program. AVG Free includes an email scanner.

4.  Norton Antivirus – trial version available

If you buy a new computer you will most likely have a trial version of Norton Antivirus installed for you. I did use this program for countless years because in those days the program was just the biggest resource hog and their computers could not take it. That means it slowed your computer down considerably, however I believe that the new 2011 version has improved greatly. I recently bought a new laptop that had Norton trial installed on it and I did not have any problem with it and did not even notice it was there until the trial was over. now I simply hate it because of how often it shows up and nags me to buy it. Of course when I get the chance I will simply remove it. It is not that I don’t like Norton Antivirus, it is the fact that I do not like being nagged! This is one of the best antivirus programs out there but is not completely user friendly and it this is a nagger!

5. ZoneAlarm – trial version available

I started using ZoneAlarm when it was just a plain old firewall program. It was the absolute best. Now it incorporates a complete internet security suite including antivirus. Of course it is and always was a great program but I unfortunately found something else in the mean time. This is one of the best security programs you can install on your computer, however it is not for the newbie computer user.

There is Virus Removal Software that I haven’t tried?

This is Andrew Dallison’s comment: No one Antivirus is sufficient for all your personal needs, without a doubt “Kaspersky Internet Security 2011″ is one of the best of its kind, having sold over 250 million copies in 2010. I would also suggest paid versions of both “Malwarebytes” and “Trojan Remover”, used as a combo, I have found each to be very effective. Each one used independently will simply amaze you at what they could possibly uncover. In the case of Malwarebytes, out of well over 1000 pcs tested last year, on a full scan of Malwarebytes not even 20 completed the course of a full scan without finding some thing unwanted.(Pc Tec Analyst)

Virus Removal Software recently tested

I happen to win a copy of Vipre antivirus premium about two years ago and have been testing it on a couple of computers to see if it worked, and to see how annoying it was. You can download a trial version of the software and tried out the yourself. During my testing period I did not get one virus and the computers I installed it on did not have any problems. It also is very user-friendly.
When testing any anti-virus software I usually install it on a few of my customers computers. Most of my customers are computer illiterate and anything that is confusing to them is a nightmare for me. If I put something that they do not understand on the computer, they will ring me. Unfortunately I haven’t got all day to spend on the phone, and therefore I only stick to Virus Removal Software that is user-friendly and does its job.
It is no good testing software unless is it is done by a real user.
I do agree that “Malwarebytes” is great when you do have a virus, and I have recommended this myself, as it picks up stuff that others can’t. However I have been using Avast antivirus software even after my trial version ran out. The thing is, it didn’t annoy me and I never got a virus, so why would I need to recommend other Virus Removal Software that would find a virus for me.

Virus removal help online

Microsoft safety scanner If you are running a Windows operating system you can go to Microsoft and download a scanner.
Major Geeks Forum These major geeks have people in their forum that specialize in removing viruses. If you are tempted to remove the virus yourself then I suggest you go to a forum like this and ask for advice.
Bleeping Computer Tutorial This is another forum where you can go and asked for advice and they have people that are very experienced in removing viruses. When you go to these places make sure you give them as much information as they need to help you.
Here is a list of free online virus scanners:
Symantec Security CheckPanda ActiveScanTrend MicroKaspersky labbitdefender, and there are so many more. There is no guarantee that these free scanners will cure your computer but they might just confirm the fact that you actually have a should not rely on these online scanners as you should already have some virus removal software installed onto your computer. Along with the software securely installed and updated regularly, and following these extra 10 ways to protect your computer from viruses, I guarantee that your computer should be safe.