How to stop viruses

Written by april kohl
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How to stop viruses
Like their biological counterparts, computer viruses disrupt the systems they infect, causing chaos while they replicate wildly. (Microorganism image by Moon Art from

Viruses are the bane of any modern computer user's existence. A virus is malicious software that disrupts the flow of your computer's operations, destroying data and causing grief wherever they go. They spread like wildfire through unprotected computers and can even infect the systems of veteran users if given half a chance. Knowing how to stop viruses is a must if you want to keep your information safe.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Computer
  • Internet connection

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  1. 1

    Download and install anti-virus software. This will allow you to scan your computer for infections, meaning you can remove viruses that are already in your computer. Modern anti-virus software also includes a monitor system that will check data coming into your system in real time, meaning you can stop viruses before they infect your computer. Choose either a recommended anti-virus from a major brand or one of the recommended popular free anti-virus systems.

  2. 2

    Download and install anti-malware software. Malware is software that installs itself on your computer and then causes a degradation of your system while it runs. Some malware simply spies on what you are doing and reports back to marketing companies so they can inundate you with adverts tailored to your interests, while others download and install viruses. Use a recommended anti-malware program to scan your computer for malware and remove it. Allow this program to run in the background to defend against future threats.

  3. 3

    Download and install the latest security patches for your operating system. This will help plug any “holes” in your computer's in-built security systems, which can help prevent viruses being able to enter your computer through a “back door”. Either download the security patches automatically using your computer's auto-update function or visit your operating system manufacturer's website to download and install the packages manually.

Tips and warnings

  • If you use an email system that opens your mail in a “preview pane” (as Microsoft Outlook does), turn this off before opening any more emails. The preview pane does not just give you a “preview” of the email, it runs any attachments that came with it, including any viruses these contain. Turning off the “preview pane” therefore reduces your daily exposure to potential threats from email viruses.
  • Because new viruses and malware are being released every day, there is no guarantee that your virus scanner and anti-malware software will have a complete database of every virus or malware program that you can catch. You should therefore update your anti-virus and anti-malware software regularly, either using their in-built update options or by downloading the latest versions. This will keep your computer as secure as possible.

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