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You do not even have to own a computer to know that viruses are running rampant on the internet. Back in the “old days” all a virus would do is mess up your computer. Now with the interconnection that we have through are phone lines and cable jacks, a virus has the opportunity to use your computer to infect others. What is the solution? Try this free (for personal use) virus scanner.

Every computer MUST have a good virus scanner on it. It used to be an option only taken by paranoid users, but with the interconnection of computers it is necessary for everyone to have a scanner installed. The problem is that virus scanning programs tend to be expensive. Take Norton or McAfee. They come out with a new version every year and typically charge for updates to the virus definitions after a time, or at least don’t let you auto update. You can have the best virus scanning program out there; but if your definition files are out of date, it’s worthless.

Enter H+BDEV AntiVir Personal. It is free for personal use, and currently recognizes over 80,000 viruses. Admittedly, this version is a sales pitch for their commercial products, but it does work very well. The only difference that I have found is that I cannot scan drives on my file server. But, the guard software has caught viruses before I have opened files off the server; it’s just that I cannot fully scan the shares.

I have been using AntiVir Personal for about 2 years, and in that time, I have never had a problem traced back to a virus. That’s not to say I haven’t seen viruses on my computer. Several times I have had an alert box come up telling me that a file I’m trying to use is infected. But, I’ve always had the option to stop access to that file and either clean or delete it.

Again, it is vital that your virus definition files are updated often. I’m fairly obsessive-compulsive with my computer, so I run the update program every 6 hours. But, only about 1 out of 4 times does it update itself. I would suggest adding the update program to your scheduled tasks so that you don’t have to think about it. To do this, you will need to change one option to automatically install updates. Otherwise, it will prompt you first. And, the automatic updates are only definition updates. When the program needs to be updated, it will ask you regardless of the setting. This also leads into the only downside I’ve found: any time the virus definitions are updated, the entire file must be downloaded. Not a big deal since I’m on a cable modem, but for dial up it could be problematic as the file is about 2 megs. It would be nice if there was a way to only download a “patch” for the definition file, but for free software I can’t complain.

If you do not currently have a virus scanner installed on your computer, run, don’t walk, and download this program. If you already have one, give AntiVir Personal a try. You may find you like it better.

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