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How to Remove Computer Viruses

Computer infections and attacks are often collectively labeled as computer viruses. The actual term would be malware, short for malicious software. Viruses, worms, and Trojan horses are all types of malware, and are usually contracted by opening an infected email attachment, or through a network of computers, and sometimes through other types of Internet connections.

If your computer starts running slowly for no apparent reason, giving repeated error messages, or unexpectedly shutting down programs or the computer itself, you may have a virus or another type of malware infection. Here’s what you should do:

1. Get an antivirus program. You should have an antivirus program installed and constantly running on your computer, especially if you are connected to a network or the Internet. If you don’t have an antivirus program, download one immediately. If you want to be extra-careful and can afford it, buy a subscription antivirus program. They are more in-depth, offer technical support, installation CD’s, and other helpful features. You can also download free antivirus programs. These won’t have the features above, but they often include the essentials-computer scanning and automatic updates. There are several computer service sites that give ratings on antivirus programs and packages. Download.com has several recommendations and reviews for free antivirus programs.

2. Be sure the antivirus program is updated. Even the best antivirus service will be useless to new threats if it hasn’t been updated with the most recent virus definitions. If you open the antivirus program interface, there is usually a very clear indicator for each category of security that will notify you whether they are updated or running properly. If an update is necessary, follow the recommended steps to download the updates. You will need to be connected to the Internet to do so.

3. Run a full system scan of your computer. Also on the antivirus program’s interface will be a section for scheduled scans, etc. There should be an option available to run a full scan on the computer right away. If your computer does detect a virus or threat, follow the recommended actions.

4. Download a virus fix (if necessary). Sometimes when your computer detects you have a virus, you can find a virus fix online for that particular virus. If you are able and it is necessary search for and download the fix. You may need to ask a computer technician to help you with this step.

5. Take your computer to a technician. If all else fails, it is better to get your computer professionally handled than to let the problem worsen. Viruses spread, just like a flu virus, so if you do not handle it right away, it will continue to spread on your computer until it is not longer usable. Try to back up your personal files to another computer, CD’s, flash drives, or an external hard drive before you take your computer in, as they are sometimes lost in the process of removing viruses.

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