I have no virus protection on my PCs at home. Pretty scary huh?
Actually, no. I’ve had a few minor run-ins, but nothing that couldn’t be fixed pretty quickly. Not using Internet Explorer, instead browsing the web with Firefox gives me minor protection, but that’s not the real answer.
The fact that lots of my friends have been infected implies the problem is more than just being susceptible. There is a certain innocence in the operator that adds to the threat.
Every friend whose every been infected has had virus software on board! Every single one. Sometimes it wasn’t activated, but it was there.
As far as I’m concerned, anti-virus software is nearly worthless. Test after test shows most viruses are released into the wild before anti-virus software has been updated. AV software is most valuable after the fact, when you’re trying to disinfect.
When friends call, there is one thing I always suggest first: Restore. This might be the best feature in Windows XP, though it is little known outside the geek community.
Windows XP’s Restore function turns back the clock on your PC. Any mail, saved data files and downloads remain. Any programs installed or changes to the registry (Windows’ index) disappear, though the files that could reinfect you do remain lurking on the hard drive.
If you’ve installed something awful, most likely it will become inert!
Restore is found by clicking the Start button and then finding your way to Help. It’s hidden in plain sight. That last sentence comes from experience. Everyone’s first reaction is, “I don’t see it here.”
Oh, one more thing. After restoring is complete, I do suggest at least one ‘scouring’ by an anti-virus program to clean out the junk.
Right now (and this changes) my favorite is from AOL… really. AOL’s Active Virus Shield is a rebranded version of the top rated Kaspersky program, but it’s free.
I guess even AOL realizes less of this garbage is good for everyone and will save them money in the long run.