Sunday, November 27, 2005

Norton Anti-Virus (My First Choice in Virus Protection)

If you’re looking for a program that sits in the background and protects your computer from malicious code while you perform other computing tasks, you’ll appreciate Norton Anti-virus. For the most part, the software runs automatically without any intervention from you, provided you accept the default configurations.
While installing the software, you’ll encounter the Information Wizard, which will help you register the software. The wizard also prompts you to select and configure several post-installation tasks, including Live Update (uses your Internet connection to obtain program and protection updates) and Rescue Disk (an option for Windows 98 Second Edition and Windows Me users; records a duplicate set of system startup files and drive partition information). Plus, the wizard will ask you to make a decision about setting up a weekly scan, an option available via Task Scheduler to automatically schedule a weekly scan of local hard drives, as well as perform a full system scan, which lets you manually scan your entire computer or individual floppy diskettes, drives, folders, or files. Of these four options, we recommend that you select all the tasks available on your system and follow the on-screen instructions.
After you get the software up and running, Norton Anti-virus monitors all incoming—and, in some cases, outgoing—files and checks them against its database of virus definitions. If a file matches one of the virus definitions, Norton Anti-virus automatically recognizes the threat, but the way in which it handles the threat depends on how you configured its AutoProtect feature.
AutoProtect does what its name implies: It automatically protects your system and sends you an alert when it detects malware or malware-like activity. The manner in which you proceed after you receive an alert depends upon your OS (operating system). If you use Win98 SE and WinMe, you’ll see an alert that indicates which file Norton Anti-virus deleted; click Finish to close the alert box. If you use Windows XP, you’ll see an alert that explains which file Norton Anti-virus repaired or deleted and what type of threat (virus, worm, or Trojan horse) attacked the file. If your Internet connection is active, you can then click the malware name to visit the Symantec Web Page that includes more details about the threat. To close the alert, click OK. If Norton Anti-virus can’t repair the file, it shows you two alerts; the first tells you that it couldn’t repair the file, and the second indicates you no longer have access to the file.
Most users should stick with AutoProtect’s default options. But if someone already changed the default settings, you can restore them by clicking the Options button at the top of the Norton Anti-virus software interface to open the Norton Anti-virus Options dialog box and modify a few options. First, select AutoProtect in the left pane. For the best overall protection, select the first three protection checkboxes: Enable AutoProtect, Start AutoProtect When Windows Starts Up, and Show the AutoProtect Icon in the Tray. Unless you’re extremely experienced in handling malware, select the radio button next to Automatically Repair the Infected File under the How to Respond When a Virus Is Found heading. Next, select the radio button next to Comprehensive File Scanning. Click OK to save your changes and close the dialog box.
This automatic protection procedure is only effective if your definition database is current. That’s why Live Update is such a valuable tool. Every four hours when you’re connected to the Internet, Live Update checks for updates to virus definitions and downloads and installs the latest definitions on your computer.
We highly recommend taking advantage of Live Update, but if you choose not to implement Live Update when you install Norton Anti-virus, you can always enable it later. To do so, open the Norton Anti-virus Options dialog box and select Live Update from the left pane. When you see the Automatic Live Update heading appear in the right pane, select the checkbox next to Enable Automatic Live Update. Also, make sure you select the other options Symantec recommends: Apply Virus Protection Updates, Apply Updates without Interrupting Me, and Notify Me of Norton Anti-virus Program Updates. Click OK.
Now, each time the software detects a new virus definition, it will download and install it onto your hard drive, often without you realizing it.


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