How to Install an Antivirus

Three Methods:WindowsMac OS XLinux

Viruses and malware can cripple your computer and destroy your files. Antivirus programs are designed to find and intercept viruses before they do any harm. An antivirus program is essential on a Windows PC, and can be very useful for Mac and Linux users as well. Check out this guide for whichever operating system you use.

Method 1
Windows

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    Understand the need for an antivirus program. Windows is the most virus-prone operating system (OS) out of the three major OSes. It has the most users and the weakest built-in security. Antivirus programs will defend your computer from malware that comes through email, flash drives, downloads, websites and more.
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    Acquire an antivirus program. There are several popular free options available that do a good job of protecting the average user. These programs are updated frequently with new virus definitions that recognize the latest threats.
    • If you frequently deal with files or websites that are virus-infected, you may want to opt for more powerful paid protection. Paid antivirus programs are typically available for a yearly subscription fee.
    • When downloading free or paid antivirus programs, ensure that you are downloading from a trusted source. There are many programs out there that claim to be antivirus/antimalware but instead install malware themselves. Read reviews and download products from companies that have been around for a long time.
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    Install the antivirus program. Make sure that no other programs are running while you install the antivirus. You will most likely need to be connected to the internet to download additional files and updates.
    • Some free antivirus programs come packaged with toolbars for your web browser. These can add protection but also change your search options and bog down older computers. You have the opportunity to opt out of these changes during the installation process.
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    Update the program. After the installation is complete, reboot your computer and update the program. The file that you downloaded is likely not the most up to date version, so you will need to connect to your antivirus program’s servers and download the latest updates. Most antivirus programs allow you to right-click on the icon in the System Tray while it is running and click Update.
    • Update your definitions on a weekly basis. Most antivirus programs are set to automatically update. Double check the settings for your program to ensure that you are receiving the necessary updates.
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    Scan your computer. Once you have the program installed and updated, it’s time to scan your computer. This could take several hours, depending on the number of files being scanned and your computer’s speed.
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    Set a scan schedule. Antivirus programs are most effective when they are automated. Open your antivirus program’s settings and look for the Schedule option. Try to schedule a time when your computer will be on but you won’t be using it. Ideally you should be scanning once a week; scan more frequently if you deal with potentially infected files on a regular basis.
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    Keep Windows updated. The best way to keep your computer protected is to always make sure that your copy of Windows is up to date. Microsoft releases security updates for Windows on a regular basis, fixing exploitable areas of Windows.

Method 2
Mac OS X

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    Understand the need for an antivirus program. Mac OS X has long been much more secure than Windows, due to the way that the system software has been designed. In the past, less people used Mac OS, which lead to less viruses being developed for Mac. While the population of Mac users has increased dramatically, it is still not as popular as Windows, which is where the majority of virus development happens.
    • The most important use for antivirus on Mac is stopping the spread of malware to other computers. Viruses are very easily spread through email, and while you may not get infected yourself, you can spread the virus to other computers that may not have the same protection as your Mac.
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    Acquire an antivirus program. Because of the low chance of infection on your machine, there is little need to get a paid antivirus solution. Instead, download a free option that is designed from the ground up to work with Mac OS X.
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    Install and run the antivirus software. Because the risk of infection is low, you don’t necessarily need to constantly scan your system. Instead, use your antivirus program to manually inspect suspicious files and emails.
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    Update Mac OS X. Apple releases security patches on a regular basis to close any exploits that have been discovered. Keep your Mac up to date to ensure that your system is as secure as possible.

Method 3
Linux

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    Understand the need for an antivirus program. Out of the three major OSes, Linux is the most secure when it comes to viruses. This is due to both the low population of users as well as the inherent security of the system software. Because applications are installed directly from the distribution, there is little chance of files being infected.
    • The most important use for antivirus on Linux is stopping the spread of malware to other computers. Viruses are very easily spread through email, and while you may not get infected yourself, you can spread the virus to other computers that may not have the same protection as your Linux machine.
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    Acquire an antivirus program. Check with your repository to see what antivirus options are available for your Linux build. Most builds have antivirus programs available as freeware. These programs have been vetted by the Linux community and are designed to take minimal system resources.
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    Install and run the antivirus software. Because the risk of infection is low, you don’t necessarily need to constantly scan your system. Instead, use your antivirus program to manually inspect suspicious files and emails.
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    Update your Linux build. Updating system software with Linux updates all of your program builds as well, eradicating any exploits that have been found. The process is mostly automated. Be sure to check your settings to ensure that your Linux installation is updating appropriately.

Article Info

Categories: Spyware and Virus Protection