The Most Common Antivirus Installation Mistakes

Installing antivirus software on your PC isn't up for debate, but before you go installing that new application, make sure it's the real deal.

When it comes to computer security, are you locking all the windows but leaving the front door wide open?

Installing antivirus software — a critical part of protecting your system and data — can get tricky at certain points. Installation oversights and mistakes can leave your PC more vulnerable to attack than before you started. Here are a few things you should avoid to stay safe.

Skimming Over the Compatibility Requirements

Antivirus applications require a minimum processing speed to run efficiently. They also need a specific amount of RAM and hard-drive space. If you lack the necessary RAM, you might be able to install and run the program — but the software could freeze your computer when it looks for the resources it needs and can't find them.

Ignoring Competing Antivirus Applications

Some PCs already have antivirus software installed as part of a package, or have a trial version that came with the system. Sometimes, these applications start up automatically — usually without the user’s knowledge — and an attempt to install another antivirus application can cause incompatibility.

Review your programs to see if any antivirus software is already present. If so, you may need to do an un-install to remove it. Software removal tools are available that can help clean these programs off your machine. But be sure that any tool you use is from a reputable company. You don’t want hackers helping you to remove protection from your PC.

Not Booting into Safe Mode First

If your computer is already infected, it may be running a virus that interferes with the installation of antivirus software. Booting into Safe Mode may allow you to install the program more easily or at least do a virus scan. Safe Mode bootup starts the computer with a limited set of files and drivers and without start-up programs (a common place for viruses to hide).

To use Safe Mode in Windows 7, press and hold the F8 key as your computer restarts. A window will come up: Advanced Boot Options. Use the arrow keys to highlight Safe Mode option, and press Enter. Log on to your computer with your administrator password and attempt to install the software. When finished, restart the computer normally.

Skipping an Online Scan

If antivirus software can’t install in Safe Mode, it’s possible to try to remove the virus manually so that installation can be done later. For this tactic, try an online virus scanner from a reputable firm like Kaspersky.

An online virus scanner can quickly identify a range of viruses, worms, Trojan Horses and spyware. They can also determine if any threats within the Windows system might be thwarting installation. If security threats do exist, the online scanners will recommend tactics for removal.

Not Making Sure of the Internet Connection

In order to get the most recent updates to a security package, antivirus software needs an Internet connection. It’s possible to install the software without a connection, but your protection will be limited until the application can take full advantage of updates.

By avoiding these oversights, you’ll help your antivirus software do its job properly. Not only will you lock the windows and doors, but you’ll also keep them locked.

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