How to Virus Scan Your Computer

By Techwalla Computers Editor

To ensure there are no viruses on your computer, you should do a full virus scan with an anti-virus system that regularly updates. You can scan manually or program your software to scan automatically at the same time each week.

Virus Scan Manually

Step 1

Close all unnecessary programs. Scanning will take up a lot of CPU and hard drive time. Closing any programs that use CPU resources will make the scan run faster.

Step 2

Open your antivirus program. Many antivirus programs have a "control center" or a "wizard" interface that gives you full or guided control of the program.

Step 3

Update your virus definitions before you run the scan. If you don't, you may not detect any recently released viruses on your computer.

Step 4

Scan your computer. Running a full scan can take a long time, especially if you have a large hard drive full of programs. It's best not to interrupt this process. Leave your computer and come back when it's finished.

Schedule a Virus Scan

Step 1

Open your antivirus program. Schedule the automatic update to run before the virus scan. It's important that the update is run automatically in addition to scans. If updates are not run automatically, they can easily be forgotten.

Step 2

Schedule automatic virus scans in the control center of your anrivirus program. Choose a time that you won't be using the computer, but when you know the computer will be on. If you choose to run the scans at night, remember to leave your computer on.

Step 3

Verify the scan. Check your computer at the time the scan was scheduled to begin to ensure that it runs. Schedule the scan to run at a time when you're around to verify it. However, don't schedule for a time when you have to work. The scan can dramatically slow your computer.