A virus is a computer program, designed specifically to offend one’s sensibility by replicating itself into the programs you have stored in your computer. For high-end users, a few staccato taps is all it takes and the threat is gone.
Not all are malicious, though, but those that are can break you. At best, it will simply waste your time – at worst, it will eat up disk space with its replications and slow down your computer. It can cause a program to operate in an incorrect manner, and because misery loves company, it would sometimes spread itself to other users and cause harm on their computers.
Of course, nothing still works as best as prevention. Anti-virus software is installed onto the computer – truth is, it is one of the first to be installed. Install one, and always update it. New viruses are born everyday, and some will leak through with less than stellar anti-virus.
The software checks files against signatures of identified viruses. Signatures can be specific behaviors, file sizes, or both. Though very important, most people would only be reminded of the anti-virus when it’s too late – the virus had wreaked havoc already and you are forced to reformat your hard drive and lost all that important data.
You decided to perform a scan, and you read a message telling that the computer is unable to scan for a virus.
What to do?
Before you panic, first check the property of the file you wish to scan. Some files are permanently locked by the system – still there are files that are located in password-protected archives. Such files cannot be scanned – a normal thing and not a cause for panic. Or the attachment could have been corrupted already, and so the scan was unable to be executed.
If the above files do not fall under the categories presented and you want to make sure if you are safe from viruses, unable to scan notwithstanding (though your anti-virus refusing to scan your hard drive is a virus-presence giveaway), press CTRL+ALT+Del. Click the Task Manager and the Performance tab. If the CPU usage plays around or is exactly 100% and you aren’t using any program, a virus had occupied your computer. Inability to activate the Task Manager is another giveaway.
In the event that your computer stops working smoothly and does not take kindly to scanning, restart your computer in Safe Mode to perform a scan. Open the computer and quickly press F8 until the Startup menu appears. Then press 3 to enter the computer in Safe Mode.
If the above does not work, hold the left-shift key instead of pounding the F8 key upon booting up. Then press F5 until a message appears – “Windows Is Bypassing Your Startup Files”. Then you’re home free. Perform scans to your heart’s content.
When everything is fine and dandy, you may want to uninstall your current anti-virus and install a better one – and remind yourself to update always.
--- Maddie Wesson, 2006