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Avoid Viruses in Windows Vista

Viruses travel not only in e-mails and programs, but also in screen savers, themes, toolbars, and other Windows add-ons. Because Vista doesn’t include a built-in grogram to protect your computer from viruses, follow these rules to reduce your risk of infection:

  • When shopping for an antivirus program, look for one that runs automatically in the background. If you don’t yet have an antivirus program, open the Control Panel’s Security area, choose Security Center, and click the Malware Protection section’s Find a Program button for free trial offers.

  • Tell your antivirus program to scan everything you download, as well as anything that arrives through e-mail or a messaging program.

  • Only open attachments that you’re expecting. If you receive something unexpected from a friend, don’t open it. Instead, e-mail or phone that person to see whether he or she really sent you something.

  • Don’t run two virus checkers simultaneously because they often quarrel. If you want to test a different program, first uninstall your existing one from the Control Panel’s Programs area. It’s then safe to install another virus checker that you want to try.

  • Simply buying a virus checker isn’t enough; you must also pay an annual fee to keep your virus checker smart enough to recognize the latest viruses. Without the most up-to-date virus definitions, virus checkers detect only older viruses, not the new ones sprouting daily on the Internet. (The newest viruses always spread most quickly, causing the most damage.)

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