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September « 2009 « ZolexPC Blog About Us - Remote Computer Support & Help | Zolex PC

Why didn’t my Antivirus software stop a virus from infecting my PC?

This is a fairly common question someone may ask after contracting an infection even with their Antivirus software active. The bottom line is no level of protection can 100% protect or guarantee that your PC will never contract an infection. Many reasons exist for this and I will cover a few here.

First off there are new viruses and infections coming out everyday. Though your Antivirus software may update daily, it cannot block or cure the virus until it knows it exists and then be fixed. This is why your Antiviurs software updates daily and in some cases every 4 hours. This turns things into a constant battle between Virus makers, and Virus Protectors. Similar to speeders who use Radar Detectors versus the police with their Radar Guns. The police come out with a new Radar Gun, and the Radar Detector manufactures come up with a new model (update) to detect the new Radar Gun so they can avoid getting a ticket. The Police then come up with a new way of catching the speeders, followed by a new model of Radar Detector again. This goes on and on. Virus makers and Antivirus Software are in the same kind of battle. This isn't going to change anytime soon.

Another reason why an infection may get through your defenses is if you click on the infection by accident or open it. If so then you have just opened the door to the infection while, letting it run wild on your PC. In layman's terms it is game over, you are infected and the virus is doing what it wants for the most part. Many viruses are made to weaken or hide from your Antivirus software. Once the Virus gets a chance to run, it can tell your Antivirus to leave it alone, take down your firewall, disable your Automatic Windows updates and wreak all sorts of havoc. You click on the infection and "You've got Trouble".

Now for the good news. Even with everything listed above your chances of getting infected with an existing and up to date Antivirus software and Antispyware protection are greatly reduced. By keeping your system's security software up to date and Windows as well, you are leaving yourself only exposed to the newest infections that are out there. Since the Security Software updates frequently you are only vulnerable to a smaller number of infections for a shorter period of time. (until the next update is released) If you never updated or had no software installed then you would be vulnerable to an enormous number of infections in search of unprotected PC's.

Look for the signs that you may be infected. For example if while surfing the internet a program tells you that you are infected and it isn't your Security Software(AVG, Norton etc), you can be pretty sure it is a virus trying to penetrate your defenses. In this example it is best to close your internet browser and run some scans with your existing Antivirus software or Antispyware protection. If you discover that your machine is infected and your Security Software can't remove it, then you will need to call in the professional Virus removers (ZolexPC).

If you stay vigilant and keep your security software up to date, while being very careful where your surf and what you click on, you should be relatively safe in your internet travels. Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the week.



Do I need to upgrade my current PC to Windows 7 when it is released in October?

The answer to this question is usually no. Windows 7 is the successor to Windows Vista, which was the successor to Windows X, which was the successor to Windows 2000P and so on down the line. Windows 7 is scheduled to be released Oct 22, 2009. There are multiple reasons why you should not upgrade your current PC to Windows 7.

First off if you are currently running Windows XP, you do not have an option of a direct upgrade as just inserting a CD in your PC and clicking next. For the average home user this disqualifies most from still going forward from XP to Windows 7. If you still decide to do it the procedure is this:

You'll need to back up your current files and settings to another PC, device, (flash drive CD, DVD etc). Next perform a clean installation of Windows 7. Then reinstall your backed up files, settings, and programs to Windows 7. Even with that users still running Windows XP may find that the age of their PC and the hardware that is on it cannot run Windows 7.

Microsoft even recommends that those customers running Windows XP purchase a new PC with Windows 7 as opposed to trying to upgrade from the process described above. Bottom line is if you have XP, save your data and buy a new PC if you want want Windows 7. The good news for XP that choose not to upgrade is that Microsoft is supporting Windows XP until April 8 2014 so you can keep it if you would like too for the next 4 years.

For those of you who are running Windows Vista, the decision isn't as clear cut. Vista can be easily upgraded to Windows 7 via CD and lots of clicking on Next with all data saved and programs transferred over. That is certainly a plus to upgrading your Vista PC to Windows 7.

However as with any new Operating System or product there are usually bugs to fix and discover. There will be patches, fixes and updates. This is just as true with New designs of cars/models. If a new model/design of a car comes out. By the second or third year, improvements have been made as they have had some time/data/feedback to address issues that were reported to them. Maybe a bit more horsepower, or a slight product defect in 1 st year models that was corrected for later models. Windows operating systems should be viewed in the same regard. Give Microsoft time to put out Service Pack 1 for Windows 7 before considering before upgrading to it from Vista. Let them fix the as yet to be discovered faults and exploits.

The Average Home User doesn't need to have the latest technological advancements. They want their computer to work with as minimal problems as possible. To be easy to use and comfortable while using it. Jumping up to Windows 7 if you are happy with Vista is not worth it.
Unless you are one of those people that must have the newest toy on the market, I would advise against upgrading your Vista machine to Windows 7 at this time. Six months from now once Windows 7 has been through plenty of testing from consumers etc, we may reach a different conclusion.

If you want to upgrade to Windows 7 and you have Windows XP, time to buy a new PC. If you want to upgrade to Windows 7 and you have Windows Vista, you may do so but it is not advised at this time. Sit back and let others experience the issues/problems that will happen with a new operating system. Why experience the Growing Pains if you don't have too? Save your money for now.

Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the week.



Can I get Viruses, through programs such as Facebook, or Instant Messaging? (AIM)

The simple answer to the question is yes you can get viruses, infections, trojans, malware etc. from these programs. However you will only get infected from these if you authorize the infection, usually accidentally from a Facebook application. Since Facebook has become extremely popular and now has a worldwide reach it has become a good source to spread infections. Virus makers have specifically targeted Facebook and are constantly probing it for weaknesses and exploits.

These infections though all require the user to click on something be it an application or some Quiz etc. The Koobface Worm is a prime example. It comes from a message from one of your friends with a link to a YouTube video. The YouTube video is really a nasty worm. Read this short story here for more details : ( http://dailycontributor.com/koobface-worm-hits-facebook/2035/)

Similar to infections or viruses transmitted via email, they always require the user to start the process via a click to launch the infection. Once the infection has been launched, your PC is now open and exposed to multiple threats. In essence it is liking ringing the dinner bell. Once your PC's defenses have been penetrated from one infection you expose yourself to multiple infections such as viruses, trojans etc, which can lower your guard and disable your Antivirus software entirely. Many of these are made to spread via Facebook to your Friends etc. causing even more chaos. It therefore becomes extremely important to make sure your PC isn't infected, that you are very careful when using Facebook Apps and clicking on Facebook email links.

The safest way to still enjoy Facebook is to Google some of the Apps you may wish to download or see just how long they have been around for. For example one of the more popular apps is Yoville, which has been around for quite some time. As their are millions of users, it is a safe app. New Apps come out almost daily for Facebook so use your best judgment
when downloading them or allowing them access to your account. These nasty infections can grab all of your Facebook friends info etc. and send out fake mailings to them trying to get $$$ or personal information from people. You may have read a few of these articles in the news. A story about a friend who was stranded in London with no $$$$ etc. This message would come in your Facebook email from someone you know, maybe a good friend who you trust. You may be tempted to believe and provide the requested information or even $$$$ to help them out of trouble etc.

As for getting infections through Chat programs such as AIM, MSN Messenger etc. the only way you can get infected is to first accept the file being transferred to you and second to open/click on it once you have it on your PC. The simple solution is know who is sending you the file. With chat things become a bit easier as most likely the person who you are chatting with would not directly send you a virus and has probably run the same file on their machine. This is all predicated on the fact that the person you are chatting with is a friend and not a stranger. If you are chatting with somebody new or someone who you don't know, be extremely careful about accepting files from strangers. You don't know who is really on the other end and the results could be disastrous for you and your PC.

Bottom line is Facebook is great but use it wisely and carefully. Ask others before installign an app if you are not sure. Google it. I myself use many Apps on Facebook and have no problems at all. Facebook is fantastic for a lot of things, but because of it's increasing popularity and usage, it becomes a source and target for viruses due to it's success. Chat clients and programs are excellent tools and a great way to stay in touch with people but they can also be used for malicious purposes. Use your common sense and best judgment.

One of the keys to keeping your PC healthy and safe is to remain vigilant and be careful about what you are clicking on, who is the source?, Is it trusted, What is the title of the file/app/pic etc. If you do ever get infected and can't solve the problem yourself you can always call in the Professionals. Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the week.



Drivers, Drivers, and Drivers

What is a driver? and what do they do? are questions that are pretty common for the average user. Drivers (software driver device driver, virtual driver) are the means by which a device (Printer, Scanner, Digital Camera, CD ROM Drive, External Hard drives), communicates with the main brain of the Computer so everybody can work together and be on the same page. Drivers allow hardware, software and even virtual devices and drives to all communicate with each other. Drivers are the middle men or interpreters for devices to all work together with the CPU.

A few years back Drivers were usually found on CD's that came with your Printer, Scanner, Digital Camera etc. You would simply insert the CD and follow the on screen instructions. This is still used today but now the operating system may have the drivers for some devices or hardware already pre-loaded in Windows itself, and if not is always available via the Internet, so you may not even need the CD. The Internet is the best place to go for the latest drivers (updated). All manufacturers will have their latest drivers posted usually in their Download/Drivers section on the website. As mentioned in last week's blog (for those of you who read it.) do not download your hardware drivers from Windows update as they usually aren't the latest and most up to date drivers.

Current drivers are usually very important when it comes to video cards for gaming purposes. Many of the newest games require high end video cards. The drivers for these video cards are constantly being updated and released. With Video Cards and new drivers can give you increased performance, more reliability. This is also true with Drivers for other devices etc., but can be noticeable with the Video card ones.

Most driver installs can be done by the average home user and many come still with the CD so it is easy as put the CD in and follow the instructions. This works fine for video cards, sound cards, and other devices. When it comes to Routers for your Wireless Network, installing the device and Configuring the Device are two different things. For example setting up a Wireless Network and securing it may involve getting the drivers for your Router, which should be easy to install but configuring it to work within your network could be more complicated. In instances such as these have someone who knows what they are doing take care of it for you. Most of us can build a doghouse for Rover to live in, but most us can't build a house for our Family to live in.

Be careful when downloading drivers, not to install Beta Drivers as these are drivers that are still being tested and could have bugs or cause your system some harm. You should install the latest officially released driver.

So to sum up, the average Home user can and should install most drivers for devices they purchase such as a digital camera, printer etc. However some devices can still be installed may need to be configured by someone with a bit more experience. Try it and if you get stuck call in the pros. Thanks again for reading and have a great rest of the week.



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