Software

Computer Viruses: What You Can Do To Stay Protected

VirScan LogoIf you’ve ever had one, you know how frustrating virus can be. Not only do they take over your computer making it difficult to work, but they can do damage to files, send out spoof emails on your behalf, obtain critical personal information from your computer, and other scary stuff.

So how do you keep from getting viruses?

Keep Your Antivirus Software Updated

By running a trusted antivirus software for starters. Although it is simply not

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enough to just have the software loaded on your computer, you must also keep it updated.

Think of your antivirus software like a dictionary. When new words come out, do they automatically get added? No, instead a new edition is produced and distributed. (Okay, so this has changed a little a lot since the Internet, but you get the idea).

Similarly, when a new virus comes out, your virus software doesn’t necessarily know about them. Instead, it needs to be updated so that it knows that there is a new virus out there. Once it knows about the virus, it will know to look for it and will quarantine it if found so that it doesn’t impact your computer.

But, simply keeping your antivirus software up to date may not be enough. Sometimes you have to take extra steps to ensure you don’t get a virus.

Scan Files Individually Before Running Them

While it’s important to only download and run files from trusted sources, sometimes stuff happens and the person sharing doesn’t realize they have shared an infected file until it’s too late.

If you are unsure of a file, particularly if you downloaded that file from the web, an email attachment, or other source that could potentially be questionable, check the file before running it.

Sure, it may seem like an extra step, but typically viruses can’t get into your system until they are executed, such as by opening a file or installing software, so if you check your file before you even open it, you could be saving yourself a lot of work later. (*Note while executing is the typical way to “activate” most viruses there are many different types of viruses that operate differently from one another, so the actions taken to become infected may vary.)

Most of the time your files will probably be clean, but all it takes is one infected file to ruin everything. While you can use your existing virus scan software to scan individual files (most virus software has this option), sometimes you just don’t have the time to wait on software.

When this happens, there are other options, such as checking your files online, using an Internet virus scan built for scanning only files (as opposed to scanning your entire computer).

There are some great places online to scan files, but one site we like is VirSCAN.org. This free site allows you to upload as many files as you like, but there is a 20Mb limit per file. Simply upload the files you are concerned with, and scan them. VirSCAN will tell you whether or not they’re infected.

If the file is infected, DO NOT run it. Have your virus software quarantine and remove the virus. Or you can manually remove the virus if know how to view and delete system files, program files, and registry entries (potentially).

It’s important to keep in mind that while VirSCAN won’t replace your antivirus software, it is a good tool to use for spot checking files before you run them.

Using both an antivirus program and spot-scanning individual files, can be an effective strategy for ensuring your computer stays virus free.

Do you have a favorite antivirus software or website? Leave us a comment and tell us about it.


Julie Strier is a freelance writer who likes to help you keep your computers virus free. Email:julie@mybusinesswriter.com. Website: www.mybusinesswriter.com.

Year End Wrap Up – Creating a Better Business with Better Employees

Employee of the Month

Image Credit: The Eggplant

One thing that all business owners have in common is the drive and desire to make their business better. While there are many avenues to take to accomplish this, one of the quickest ways to help ensure success is through your employees.

Every day, your employees are representing your business. It is often their voice or face a client sees long before they know who you, the business owner, are (unless you run a one man show, of course). Additionally, employees help make your business function and run on a daily basis. Without them, your business would come screeching to a halt,

or at the very least, would have to be severely scaled back.

So doesn’t it make sense to take care of your employees, so that they in turn take care of your clients, and ultimately your business?

There are many ways you can appreciate and care for your employees. Increased schedule flexibility through remote access, increasing productivity by relaxing the rules, or even allowing music in the office can all go a long way in fostering a better relationship with your employees.

Throughout 2012, we posted many articles about helping you strengthen your business through better employee interactions. Here are some of the highlights.

Productivity

Motivating Employees to be More Productive: Motivation, when done improperly, can cause more harm than good. Learn the three factors that are key to truly motivating your employees in a way that will achieve the results you want.

Unstructured Time Gets Results: Should you manage every aspect of your employee’s workday? Many big companies are finding increased success and innovation by providing unstructured time for their staff.

Creativity in the Workplace – How a Skunk Works Program Could Work for You: Contrary to popular belief, allowing employees to play during the workday could yield HUGE results for your company. Here’s how some big tech companies are making play time a priority, and they results they are achieving because of it.

Why You Should Allow Music in the Office: Want employees to be more productive and more satisfied at work? Let them listen to music. This article explores why and how allowing music in the office can benefit your workplace.

Should You Monitor or Blog Internet Activity at the Office?: Contrary to popular belief, blocking the internet at the office could do more harm than good. This article reviews the pros and cons of blocking the office internet, so that you can decide if it’s truly in your best interest.

Remote Access

The Benefits of Having Remote Workplace Access: Allowing remote access into the office is more than just a fancy new toy – it’s a powerful tool that can help you and your employees do business more effectively. Read this article to learn about the benefits of allowing remote access to your business.

Ensuring the Productivity and Success of Remote Employees: Setting up remote access doesn’t necessarily guarantee employee productivity. Here are some tips to help set expectations and guidelines for remote access to help ensure productivity and success.

Technology

How to Replace All the Computers in Your Office, Without Breaking the Bank: Your employees are only as good as the equipment they’re given. So why not upgrade the office computers? We have creative ways to do so, that won’t break the bank.

Are Tablet Computers a Viable Option for Work?: Maybe your employees were pushing for a tablet this year, or maybe you just want to update the office with the latest technology. Whatever the case, read this article before you run out and buy several tablets for the office, so that you know what works, and what doesn’t, with your network infrastructure.


Julie Strier is a freelance writer who likes to help you create a better business. Email:julie@mybusinesswriter.com. Website: www.mybusinesswriter.com.

Year-End Wrap Up: Outlook, Windows 7 and 8, Word, and Other Microsoft Related Posts

Year End Round Up - Microsoft ArticlesIt’s almost the end of the year, so we thought we’d take a moment to reflect on some of the articles we’ve posted throughout the year about Microsoft products. Whether it involves Outlook, Windows 7 or 8, Word, Excel, One Note, or other Microsoft related products, we’ve probably written an article about it, packed full of tips, tricks, or other helpful information.

If you missed these posts throughout the year, now is a great time to catch up, and possibly learn something new, and maybe even carry those new skills into the New Year.

Windows Related Posts

4 Windows 7 Problems Solving Tips and Tricks

If you are having a problem with your computer, Windows 7 has many built into tools to help troubleshoot the issue. This article explores those tools, helping you understand not only what diagnostic to run, but also why you should run it.

Bitlocker Drive Encryption: What it is, Where to get it, and Why you need it

Bitlocker is a valuable built in encryption software available in newer versions of Windows (Vista and above), and available on Server 2008 and above. Read this article to learn more about how and why this built in software protects your data from offline hackers.

Pinning Items: A Way to Find Items Faster in Windows7

This article is full of tips and tricks about pinning items in Windows7, so that you can access your most frequently used items faster.

Which Version of Windows 7 Should You Choose: Part I

If you’ve decided to upgrade to Windows 7, but you don’t understand the options, then check out this article, which explores the differences between the versions.

Which Version of Windows 7 Should You Choose: Part II

The second half of the article exploring Windows 7 version options. If you’ve read part one, part II finalizes the discussion, so check it out.

Windows7 Calculator: More than Meets the Eye

Who knew the Windows7 calculator was so robust? This article explores the many features of the new calculator.

Windows 7 Shortcuts

This article contains lots of great shortcuts to help you use Windows7 better.

A Sneak Peak at Windows 8

Looking to discover how Windows 8 is different from previous versions? Then check this article out.

Exploring Windows 8: The Differences Between the Standard, Pro, and RT Versions

Want to understand the difference between the Windows 8 versions before you buy? Then read this article, and save yourself from getting a version that isn’t compatible with your needs.

Microsoft Office Related Articles

Reasons to Upgrade to Office 2010

Are you still using an older version of Microsoft Office? If you’re considering upgrading, check out this list of reasons why you should. There are many great tips packed into this article.

Excel Articles

10 Excel Shortcuts Meant to Save You Time

If you spend a lot of time in Excel, you should read this article chocked full of tips and tricks to help make you a better Excel user.

Using PivotTables in Excel

PivotTables are an easy but powerful way to arrange, organize, and display your data. Read this article to learn about PivotTables and how to set them up.

OneNote Articles

Microsoft OneNote: Powerful Note Taking Software

If you have been looking for a solution that allows you to keep your notes in one place, across multiple platforms (desktop, laptop, mobile device), consider using Microsoft One Note. This article explores why this is a MUST USE piece of software in the Microsoft Office suite.

Outlook Articles

How to Recall a Message in Microsoft Outlook 2010

Oops, did you accidentally send something you didn’t mean to send? Now you can recall the message, if you’re using Outlook 2010 or newer.

Outlook Productivity Tips: AutoArchive

Use Outlook’ AutoArchive features to keep large mailboxes running smoothly and efficiently. Read this article to learn how to update your settings and activate this feature.

Outlook Productivity Tip: Changing How Long it Takes to Mark Emails as Read

Tired of clicking on an email in Outlook, and then waiting a while for it to be marked as read? There’s an easy way to change the time it takes for Outlook to mark the item as read. Read this article to find out how.

Outlook Productivity Tip: How to Create Search Folders

Quickly locate commonly searched for items in Outlook by setting up search folders. Read this article to find out how to setup and use this feature.

Outlook Productivity Tips: How to Save Emails Quickly

Don’t waste time saving emails the hard way. Instead, read this article and learn to quickly save emails with ease, saving you loads of time in the long run.

Outlook Productivity Tips: Quick Access Tool Bar

Learn about the Quick Access tool bar in Outlook, and how it can help you make the most out of  your email software.

Outlook Productivity Tips: Quick Steps

Quickly accomplish multiple step tasks, like organizing emails into specific folders, with Quick Steps. This article explores what they are, and how to quickly and easily set them up.

Word Articles

Formatting Word Documents with Tab Stops

Each time you hit tab in a Word document, you could be messing up your formatting. This article explores how to use tab stops to properly format a document without having to space items manually (which can skew the spacing).

Microsoft Word: Other Document Formatting Tips

Need help adjusting the space between the lines of text in your Word document? Want to discover where that extra return is coming from? Read this article to discover ways to fix hidden formatting issues in your Word documents.


Julie Strier is a freelance writer who likes to help you use your software more efficiently. Email:julie@mybusinesswriter.com. Website: www.mybusinesswriter.com.