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I Think I Have a Virus
The Internet continues to grow, while more and more people are getting online for either work, school, or home reasons. Along with the influx of people comes the continued presence of the malicious computer threats. Viruses, malware, and spyware all call the Internet home and are waiting for the opportunity to call your computer home as well.
Most people are aware that antivirus and antispyware programs are the way to go in order to prevent the infection of a computer's operating system, but what if you don't have an antivirus program? There can be reasons why a computer may not have an antivirus program - a new computer, current program has expired, system upgrade hasn't given you the time to install one - and there are so many out there, from free versions to paid versions.
But sometimes you don't want to go through the whole hassle of getting one, at the moment. Maybe your virus protection has expired or a recent update has rendered it a bit out of whack. What do you do?
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Free Online Scans
Several major companies that provide antivirus programs know that sometimes things happen. You're a busy person; maybe you just bought a computer and haven't found a program you like yet. Perhaps you've just done a reinstall of your operating system and discovered your normal program has expired. Maybe this is your first computer and you're just now learning about viruses.
No worries. As the saying goes, you can find anything online and one thing that is helpful is that of the online virus scan. Big names like Trend Micro, Bit Defender, and Kaspersky want to make sure that your computer is running as smoothly as it should, without the horrible stench of a nasty virus (in the hopes that you'll like them and download/buy their software). Here are three popular online scans that you can run on your computer, absolutely free.
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House Call by Trend Micro
The most popular of the online virus scans is that of Trend Micro's HouseCall. Now in it's seventh version, HouseCall is now a downloadable program that now features full, quick, and customizable virus scans for your computer. In previous versions, HouseCall would easily run through a user's browser (though it worked better with Internet Explorer and Firefox) and supposed Windows up to XP; the newest version now has support for Windows 7, as well as 32 and 64 bit processing speeds.
Trend Micro is a fairly popular antivirus company that allows for month of free trials of their popular software, with purchases relatively cheap.
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Free Virus Scans from Kaspersky
Not only does Kaspersky have a free virus scan for download, it also has a free operating system restore tool, an online scanner (which unfortunately is currently down for upgrade), and a free online file scanner in the case you think one of your files could be affected.
- Virus Removal Tool - if you think your computer's been acting a little odd lately, this downloadable tool will help scan for any type of malware, virus, and spyware that could be on your system.
- Rescue Disk - in that hopeless case in which a virus has so taken over your system you can't even get to your system, this download allows you to get in and find the troublemaking issues.
- Online Scanner - sadly, this is currently undergoing some sort of upgrade to make way for a much better online scanning tool. When it's back up, you'll be able to scan for viruses through your internet browser, as well as review the results.
- File Online - the free online file scan lets you browse your computer if you think a single file is the cause of your trouble. Have you opened a weird website and now there's a new program on your desktop? Try running it through here; results are displayed when finished, as well as showing you the Kaspersky database so you see what exactly you have running in the background.
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BitDefender is a relatively new player within the computer virus game, releasing it's first product in 2001. Currently in it's thirteenth version, Defender features several different products for Windows, Macs, mobile, and even Unix operating system. It's free online scan also adds malware to the list it'll check and won't even give bristles to that of your current antivirus program.
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Having an antispyware and virus program installed on your computer is the best way to keep out the viruses, malware, and spyware from getting to your computer and to your files. Sometimes, however, you might have gotten around to installing one or perhaps you're getting false positives and you want to know for sure if you've got a virus.
With these free online scanners, you can quickly scan your system to verify if your system's safe or if you might need to get that antivirus protection.
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HouseCall from Trend Micro, http://housecall.trendmicro.com/
Free Virus Scan from Kaspersky Labs, http://www.kaspersky.com/virusscanner
BitDefender Online Scanner from BitDefender, http://www.bitdefender.com/scanner/online/free.html
Image Credit: Trend Micro, Kaspersky, and BitDefender/author