Learn about the technologies behind the Internet with The TCP/IP Guide!
NOTE: Using robot software to mass-download the site degrades the server and is prohibited. See here for more.
Find The PC Guide helpful? Please consider a donation to The PC Guide Tip Jar. Visa/MC/Paypal accepted.
View over 750 of my fine art photos any time for free at DesktopScenes.com!

[ The PC Guide | System Care Guide | Data Loss and Virus Prevention | Virus Detection and Protection | Virus Scanning and Antivirus Software ]

Deciding on an Antivirus Software Plan

You must decide what sorts of antivirus software you need, based on how you use your system, and how much risk you are willing to accept. The decision is based on a serious of tradeoffs:

  • False Positives vs. False Negatives: In general, a system that employs a great deal of high-security antivirus protocols and tools, will tend to have a higher chance of catching viruses, but a much higher incidence of false positives as well. A system using few antivirus methods will generate fewer false alarms but will also be more likely to miss a real infection (i.e., a false negative).
  • Convenience and Performance: Some of the more stringent antivirus measures can have a minor impact on the execution speed of the machine, and a more-than-minor impact on the usability of the machine as well. For example, Norton Antivirus by default scans the floppy disk drive whenever you shut down or restart the computer, which is a safety measure but can also be pretty annoying to some people (like me).
  • Cost: It is better to have two or three antivirus software tools if at all possible, but this software is (generally) not free.

I personally tend towards the less-cautious end of the scale; I simply do not exchange enough floppy disks and executable programs to warrant erecting a fortress around my PC. I employ the following safeguards in my efforts to avoid virus infection, and my home system has been virus-free for over five years:

  • I avoid sharing floppy disks with people I do not know.
  • I have my antivirus software set up to automatically scan all of my hard disks and report back any viruses found, once per week.
  • I manually scan any executable files that I download, or any programs I get on floppy disk from unverified sources.
  • I update my virus definition files regularly (although not as often as I probably should.)

Remember that what is right for me, may not be right for you. This is an individual decision that you should make after being sure that you understand the issue and the risks involved. For some people, much tighter security, using tools such as inoculation and memory-resident scanning, may be the best choice.

Next: Backups and Disaster Recovery

Home  -  Search  -  Topics  -  Up

The PC Guide (http://www.PCGuide.com)
Site Version: 2.2.0 - Version Date: April 17, 2001
Copyright 1997-2004 Charles M. Kozierok. All Rights Reserved.

Not responsible for any loss resulting from the use of this site.
Please read the Site Guide before using this material.
Custom Search