If you wish to download from the internet any software, (a program, .exe) or any document which may include a macro that executes instructions once downloaded on your machine (or if you receive an attachment by email) it is vital that you follow some basic safety procedures to protect your computer.
When you first request an internet download (by double clicking on a link) your browser (e.g. IE or Netscape or Konqueror etc) brings up a box asking if you want to Open, Save the file, Cancel or offering More Information. Choose SAVE. It is vital that you DO NOT OPEN it straight away. Always get your computer to save it as this allows you to check it for viruses before it can do any damage. If your browser doesn't ask whether to Open, Save or Cancel. Immediately cancel by closing your browser.
Once you have clicked SAVE, a window should popup showing the location in which the file will be saved. You can alter this location if you choose. It is a good idea to save it in a directory away from your program and data files. Wherever you save it, make sure you take a note of both the name of the file and the directory in which it is being saved.
When it is saved, open your anti virus software. You need to ensure that your anti virus definitions are up to date before you check the file for viruses. As an example Iíll outline the Norton Antivirus procedure. To do this click on Live Update. Norton may ask if it should connect via the internet, if so say yes, or it may just require that you click Next to obtain the updates. When it has finished checking for updates it will either bring up a box listing items found to update and ask if it should update them or tell you that your virus definitions are up to date. If updates are found you should click Yes or OK to start the update. This may take a few minutes so wait until it advises that your virus definitions are up to date. Then click on Finish.
You are now ready to check the file you downloaded for viruses. Click on SCAN FOR VIRUSES on the left hand menu of the Norton window. This will bring up a box giving you the option to Scan All Hard Disks for Viruses, Scan All Removable Drives (floppies), Scan A Floppy Disk, Scan One or More Drives or Folders, Scan One or More Files.
Choose Scan One or More Files. A box will popup like the one you saw when you saved the file. By clicking on the little yellow icon with the up-arrow on it find the directory in which your file was saved. Click on that directory and it should bring up a list including the file name youíre looking for. Click on the file name to start the virus scan. If your Anti Virus software tells you that a virus has been found it will quarantine it. Follow the instructions to remove the virus from your machine. If it comes up and says that no viruses are found then should be able to safely open or run the file or attachment.