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.
1.) 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.
2.) 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.
- Windows 10 and 8 have Windows Defender, which is a free anti-malware application provided by Microsoft. It’s already built-in.
3.) 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.