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A Simple Guide on How to Update the McAfee VirusScan Program

written by: Zack Jones•edited by: Aaron R.•updated: 6/10/2011

Are you confused about how you can update the virus signatures on your McAfee VirusScan program? Read this article to find out how you can do this, simply and easily.

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    Why Update?

    A computer anti-virus program is only as good as the virus signatures it has. The signatures are the primary means for identifying a virus-infected file on your computer. If the program cannot identify a file successfully, it cannot deal with it and the virus hazard remains present. What's worse, you may think that you are protected because you have the anti-virus program installed and running on your computer. But using your computer without an updated anti-virus software is like driving a car at top speed without your seatbelt on, not something you would want to do. Also, it is possible that the updates of the program enrich it with newer features, although this is something that's not cross-referenced. Whatever the case, updating your McAfee anti-virus program is something quick, free and relatively easy, it's good to do it as often as possible, even if you don't know exactly what the latest update process entails. So, just follow the four steps in the next section and you'll be equipped with a more secure computer at your disposal.

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    Step-by-Step Virus Signature Updating

    It is assumed that you already have McAfee VirusScan installed and running on your PC. If you do, you should be able to see the program's characteristic icon on the tray bar (a red square with a large "M" on it). To perform a virus update, you need to do the following:

    1. Right-click on the tray icon we just talked about. Having done this you should be able to see a menu, similar to the one in the figure below.

    McAfee VirusScan Tray Menu 

    2. Click on the option titled "Updated" (the highlighted one in the previous figure). After you've done this you should be looking at a new window, just like the one in the figure below.

    McAfee VirusScan Update Menu 1 3. To update your McAfee VirusScan program, just click on the first button that is titled "Check Now." Having done that, the program should commence the updating process and you should see a new window just like the one in the figure below.

    Updating in Progress 

    4. From this point onwards, everything is in auto-pilot; you don't need to do anything else. Once the program is finished, you'll see another window saying that the program has updated successfully and you can return to your work.

    Note that in order to minimize the virus infection risk, you should update your anti-virus program regularly (every week or so would be good). If you don't want to do this process manually again (as it is quite tedious and it's easy to forget to do it at regular time intervals), you can set the program to do it on its own. To do that, repeat the first step and on the second step, instead of clicking on the first button, click on the second one instead (titled "Configure"). Then, you should see a new window that looks just like the one in the figure below.McAfee VirusScan Update Menu 2 The default option works fine, but the second option is good as well. After you are satisfied with your choice, click on the OK button and then on the X button of the previous window (top-right corner), or continue with the updating process (step 2 onwards).

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    Other Options for Protection

    Although the program guarantees some security agains viruses, it is recommended that you remain careful when downloading software from the internet, especially if they are available to you for free. Some of these programs, although developed by legitimate people, often carry other malicious software in them (such as spyware, trojan horses and worms), which the VirusScan program may not be able to recognize. This is why it is recommended to have an anti-malware program installed as well (such as Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware), that you use to scan any executable file you download to your computer. Other (commerical) software that you might want to look into are the following:

    • ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite
    • BitDefender Antivirus
    • Kaspersky Internet Security 7.0
    • Windows Live OneCare 2.0

    If none of these programs cut it for you, check out a more complete list of anti-virus software and some of the comments to help you decide on which alternative to investigate in greater depth.

    If you are satisfied with this program and you want to continue using it, it is recommended that you read more about McAfee VirusScan's upgraded version, in case you decide to invest in this enhanced (commercial) version of it.
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    Source: Author's own experience with the program

    All images used in this article were screenshots taken by its author