Just why are viruses harmful? Because they cause damage to your computer components just the way biological viruses are harmful to humans.
Some viruses can be harmless but annoying when they send silly messages or when they crash your computer system. But there are many viruses that can do great harm such as deleting the files that you need to run certain programs or to perform OS tasks. And some viruses pave the way for future attacks by opening up your computer and administrative functions.
Fighting viruses is simple: you need to install software that is called "antivirus" software. You'll need to keep this software up to date and always running on your computer. As well, never open up email attachments from sources you do not know.
Still, the odds are that one day your computer system will become virus infected. You'll lose critical data and programs. Files on your operating system will become zapped. So now what do you do?
The first thing to remember is not to panic. You might not even have a virus. Before you find a cure you need to find out if you have a virus and just what virus it is.
If your computer is still functioning, and you can access the Internet, you'll need to look for known and current viruses. Do a manual scan on your system and look for infected files and virus programs in your computer file system. Remember to search the computer memory as well since viruses can hide there.
Take the time to test several operating functions and programs. Something can go wrong with just one component. This method is not fool proof but the virus might just attacked certain functions and programs.
If your computer is not functioning you'll have to reboot with the use of an antivirus CD or disk. Did you prepare a boot disk? If you do not need to go back to step 0 – before the attack – and do the following: (1) create an antivirus CD and disk to boot your computer, (2) make copies of any software you have on your computer or organize the original versions, and (3) backup all your important files and data.
Scan your computer system once you've rebooted using the CD or disk. Search for the infected files or virus. If you find that you really have a virus infection then you're on to the next phase.
If you're using Windows there is a boot option that you can use called "Last Known Good Configuration". This option usually does not help but you may be lucky. Once you reboot your computer again you will not be able to use this option.
If you're using Windows you can check the dates of some of your main operating system files if they exist. The list is too long to mention here. Look at Microsoft's website for something called "Operating System Files". Or you can make a list on your own by using the WINNT directory and …