How to Run Anti-virus Software

by Angela Campbell

Viruses and other malware can destroy a computer's operating system, steal a user's personal data and download malicious files to the hard drive--all without notice. New computer viruses are created each day, so it's vital for PC users to protect themselves against these and other malware by installing anti-virus software. There are many versions of anti-virus software available for free and for purchase. For beginners or experienced computer users alike, running anti-virus software consistently and keeping it updated can help avoid serious computer problems and identity theft.

How to Run Anti-virus Software

Install the software. Anti-virus software can be bought online or at an electronics store and it is also available for free from some manufacturers such as AVG. Popular options such as McAfee, Norton and Kaspersky Anti-Virus can be downloaded in trial versions or bought at Insert the CD-rom that comes with the software to begin installation or click on the .exe file downloaded to your computer. Follow the setup instructions to install the software.

Click on the desktop icon for the anti-virus software you've installed or open the application by going to your start menu and choosing the application. An operating window should appear giving you options such as Scan Computer, Maintenance or Settings.

Set up your preferences. Anti-virus software should always run in the background while your computer is turned on, so you need to verify that your settings show this function as set to "on." Most software automatically sets this as a preference upon installation, but it's always a good idea to make sure your preferences are set to automatically update and automatically detect threats.

Complete a full system scan. Click on the application's icon and choose to run a full system scan at least once a week. A full scan can take hours to complete, but you can generally work in other programs while the anti-virus scan runs in the background.


  • close Never run two types of anti-virus software on a computer at the same time. This can cause a conflict that can affect your operating system and allow viruses through.

Items you will need

About the Author

Angela Campbell began writing professionally in 1997 for Easley Publications in Easley, SC, and later for Gannett newspaper properties. A graduate of the University of South Carolina's mass communications and journalism program, she has won numerous South Carolina State Press Association awards for spot news reporting, business reporting, feature writing, photography and page design.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera ajuda ! virus! image by Mauro Rodrigues from