- What is a virus?
- other security breaching programs
- How antivirus programs work
- What does AV software protect me from?
- Differences between AV solutions
- What is an online virus scanner?
- Why would I want a personal firewall included?
- Why do I need protection from e-mail?
- Why do I need protection from IM?
- Upgrading your AV software
- System requirements
- Free vs Fee AV
- Questions to ask the retailer
- Technical support
Does it have a right-click shell extension to scan files?
A shell extension is a small system utility which gives users the ability to manipulate the settings of the PC through the operating system.
Often, one of the features overlooked by antivirus protection is the usability requirement of quickly double checking a file before using it. Many antivirus programs only automatically search certain file types based on their extensions, so look for a shell extension that forces a scanner window to open and immediately scan any file selected as opposed to one that just launches the scanner interface.
Does it make boot disks and/or have a CD-ROM that can be used for cleaning an infected PC?
Boot disks are required to recover from a nasty boot sector virus, and having the scanner on a CD-ROM means it should be a snap to repair even an infected PC that doesn't have an antivirus program installed.
Product Activation. What is it? And how does it affect me?
Product Activation is a process where a user or application contacts the manufacturer (usually via the Internet, but it can be by phone or fax). It lets the software vendor know some information about the application running and to provide a response that may trigger a change in the application. In the case of antivirus programs this is important as the software activation will signal the beginning of the time cycle for free updates.
This guide was last updated June 2005