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FAQ

What will happen if a virus is detected in my antivirus program?

The million-dollar question!

Ideally, you would like your antivirus software to clean the infected files or eliminate them completely.

How it does this will depend upon which program you’ve installed but, generally, most security applications will attempt to transfer questionable files into a quarantine area to quickly eliminate the danger of an infection spreading. Once there, the program will most likely give you the choice of trying to eliminate the infection or simply deleting it altogether.

Will antivirus software slow down your computer?

It will slow down any program running on your computer and antivirus technology is no exception.

Whenever you run a scan, particularly a comprehensive one, the application will use CPU cycles to get the work done. If you happen to be running different programs at exactly the exact same time that, between them, are using a substantial amount of processing power, you might notice some slowdown.

All in all, the effect should be negligible, particularly if you’re using a modern computer, but some antivirus programs are larger resource hogs compared to others. Fortunately, that’s something we cover in our comprehensive antivirus reviews.

Does that antivirus vendors are responsible for writing the viruses they’re trying to protect me from?

Elvis is dead, the man did land on the moon and antivirus vendors don’t write viruses.

This old nugget is a conspiracy theory that’s been doing the rounds for quite a while now. Though it still makes us chuckle to consider the consequences if it had been accurate, the fact that anybody still believes it might be is also a source of intense frustration.

There are, quite literally, millions of bits of malicious code out in the wild and no firm would have the opportunity to write all of it.

Criminals and other attackers are responsible for creating thousands of new viruses every day though and they do this with the purpose of making a lot more money than an antivirus vendor could ever hope to by providing the remedy to a problem some foolishly think is of their own making.

The only conspiracy — or unethical practice — surrounding the creation and application of malware is the manner in which certain government agencies have deployed it, i.e. that the US government’s use of Stuxnet to target nuclear centrifuges in an undercover facility.

Why did my new antivirus program just detect something that the older one missed?

To detect malicious code on your computer, antivirus programs depend on virus signature databases for the most part.

Despite the fact that these are now largely stored in the cloud as opposed to on your hard disk, they continue to be vendor-specific for the most part.

Thus, one company may have identified a threat that another has overlooked.

The chances of a respectable firm not having a signature for a new piece of malware for any amount of time is slim but it does occur in the short term.

I have downloaded a new antivirus program, do I want to uninstall the old one before running it?

Absolutely, yes.

Though there are always exceptions to the rules, two antivirus programs should generally never meet up on exactly the exact same system — they do not play well together and might even detect each other’s database of virus signatures as a hazard.

The answer, therefore, is to always delete 1 antivirus program before installing another.

It is just good practice.

You can read more here on running extra security programs in the event you already have an antivirus installed.

Can a free antivirus program offer adequate protection?

There is an old adage that says you get what you pay for and in the event of antivirus software that is kind of true.

That is not to say free antivirus applications ought to be dismissed out of hand, however — some are really very good and might well be adequate for some people.

Concerning independent testing, AV-Test. Org results over a time period show that free antivirus programs do, overall, score lower than the paid-for alternatives in the market and our own experience has taught us that free programs also tend to suffer from a lack of additional attributes, less than stellar support, an obsession with up-selling, or a combination of all three.

Whether or not some of these issues are a deal-breaker for you will probably depend upon what you use your computer for, how you value your data and your personal financial situation.

In any event, installing any antivirus program is preferable to having none at all, though you really do need to be watching out for free imitation antivirus programs which are better than the viruses that the want to avoid in the first location.