So you have AVG or Avast! installed, as well as a software firewall like ZoneAlarm, Tiny or Kerio, right? The XP firewall is one way, you need a two way firewall so I’m afraid the built in Windows one isn’t good enough.
You also download regular updates for them? All those are free or have free versions BTW.
What happens if you don’t or a virus gets through your defences, a new virus or by you installing some dodgy or infected software? This is particularly bad on Windows XP as a virus has so many additional places to hide, like the system restore files.
So you think you have a virus, what do you do? If it hasn’t disabled your antivirus software then you can go through the next paragraph, if it has skip down one paragraph.
First configure your antivirus software to quarantene infected files, not to delete them. You may just have your novel as an infected file and deleting it would be bad. While you are configuring it, make sure it is scanning all files, no exceptions. Now run an update on your antivirus software, dowloading both program and virus definitions. When you have gone through those three steps scan all your hard disks, which will take some time. Once it is complete, reboot, now scan all your hard disks again – this makes sure nothing is hiding. After this you *should* be all clear if your antivirus has definitions to find the infections. If you want to be sure that nothing is hiding on your harddisks then go to the next paragraph.
If the virus has disabled your antivirus – or you no longer trust your installed antivirus, which is sensible – then you need a different kind of scanning. This is the most secure option and the one I’d reccommend if a virus gets past your defences. Download and burn a Linux based LiveCD, it will securely scan your Windows files without either getting disabled or infected.
Insert or Ultimate Boot CD both contain Clam Antivirus with GUI avscan. They contain a lot of useful tools as well as antivirus, I really, really reccommend you get and burn one of these two right now while your PC is running fine.
F-Prot is a free virus scanner that you can run under Linux. You can install F-Prot with Knoppix’s live-software installer, covered in . The live installer needs a working Internet connection to download the program, and the program itself needs to be able to download updates as well.
Click K Menuâ†’KNOPPIXâ†’Utilitiesâ†’Install software, select f-prot, and click OK to start the installation. Once the installation finishes, click K Menuâ†’KNOPPIXâ†’Extra Softwareâ†’f-prot to start the F-Prot GUI.
After you launch F-Prot, immediately select option 4, “Do Online Update,” to make sure that you have the latest list of virus definitions (see ). Once the update is finished, choose “Select partition(s)” from the F-Prot GUI, or if you have already mounted the partition, you can choose “Select a directory/file” to pick the directory to scan. Once you choose a directory, you are dropped back to the main menu where you can then choose Scan to start the scanning process. A progress meter appears, and the length of the virus scan varies, depending on the size of the directory you are scanning.
Using the LiveCD method will thoughly scan your harddisk and ensure that any virus that’s known is removed. If you still think you have a virus then backup your scanned files to CD/DVD and do a full format and reinstall.
Original idea for this post came from here.