This would be a great time to multi-task and get the gunk out of your computer. During the Emmy awards, there are plenty of slow moments when you can get to more important things like scanning your PC for malware (viruses, worms, Trojans, spyware).
Get New (Free) Anti-Virus Software
If the license has run out on your Norton, Symantec, McAfee, or other brand of anti-virus, don’t renew it. Instead, download AVG anti-virus. It’s a great anti-virus program, and it’s free. We use it on our Windows systems and recommend it to our friends. Several businesses we know of use the commercial versions of AVG as well. Get it here:
Scan Your Computer, Twice
After you install AVG (or if you are still using another brand, which is working well and up-to-date), you need to scan your entire hard drive for viruses. Each brand of anti-virus does this a little differently. Make sure you scan the entire hard drive; if your computer has more than one hard drive, scan them all.
There are also several good online virus scanning programs available. Scanning your PC with your local anti-virus scan and an online virus scanner is like getting a second opinion. There are several good online virus scanners, here:
- Panda: http://www.pandasoftware.com (look for the ActiveScan link on the home page)
- Symantec: http://security.symantec.com/sscv6/home.asp?langid=ie&venid=sym&close_parent=true
- Trend Micro: http://housecall.trendmicro.com/
- Kaspersky: http://www.kaspersky.com/virusscanner
- CA: http://cainternetsecurity.net/entscanner/
…all of the above companies are commercial organizations of the highest quality.
Most or all of the above online virus scanners require you use Internet Explorer. Most of my readers know that I strongly recommend Firefox with the NoScript and FlashBlock add-ons for the safest online browsing, but once in a while it’s necessary to run IE.
Set Up Weekly Scans
It’s a good idea to have your anti-virus program automatically scan your PC every week. This provides an added protection, by having your anti-virus program search for viruses that may have somehow gotten by your anti-virus program.
I recommend you have the scan run overnight – have it start well after you go to bed, but give it enough time to complete before morning. On some larger (and older) PC’s, a virus scan can take a few hours.