The Computer Virus Part II
Brian Doig, BEng, Comptia A+, DCSE
In my last article, I reviewed what a computer virus was and the best ways to avoid infection. In this article we examine how to deal with virus infections. Before we begin, I am reminded of the First Law of Computer Viruses Just because you computer is acting strangely doesnt mean that your computer has a virus.
Many people blame their computer problems on computer viruses. Most users will begin installing several anti-virus programs, registry editors, disk doctors and every other virus removal tool they can beg, borrow or steal in the hope their computer will be cured. The reality is most problems that have a virus like appearance are really software configuration errors such as, incorrect drivers. With all of these remedies installed, more harm than good came to the computer.
If you do have a computer virus dont panic! More harm can be done if you over-react to the situation. Visit your virus-scan software manufacturer's Web site and install any virus updates that are available. If your anti-virus scanner identifies the virus by name, search the Web for information regarding your specific virus by typing the name of the virus or its associated file into a search engine followed by the word "virus." For example, "Melissa virus," "BubbleBoy virus," etc. Unplug your network cable to prevent your computer from transferring the virus to other computers.
Most anti-virus software will automatically remove or heal the threatening and infected files and prevent any serious file damage. However, there are some viruses that require additional steps to be taken.
One of the most common locations a virus will try to hide in is in the system restore. Many times viruses cannot be removed properly in Windows ME or XP with out first disabling the System Restore features. If you are not familiar with this process you can Google - disabling system restore. Once the system restore is turned off, run another virus scan to make sure the virus has been dealt with properly.
Now it is time to get a second opinion. Several manufacturers of anti-virus programs provide web-based virus scanners. These virus scans are independent of your system and provide an excellent way to verify that your system is cured. Two of the most popular web based virus scanners are " Until next time, Surf Safe.