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Keep Your PC Running Clean
by Lenny Bailes

A virus doesn't just pose a danger to your system's data--it puts a big hit on your productivity, too. Free Windows 95 anti-virus utilities may be a little less reliable and efficient than their commercial counterparts, but they beat having no protection at all. And we found three you might want on your Desktop.

Eliashim's ViruSafe Web (http://www.eliashim.com) monitors 32- and 16-bit versions of Netscape Navigator, Microsoft Internet Explorer, America Online's Web browser, Mosaic/Air Mosaic and other browsers. It warns you if you attempt to open or download infected Microsoft Word and Excel documents in your browser. ViruSafe Web also intercepts attempts to open infected documents in Netscape Mail and includes a simple scanner that lets you check all files on your hard disk one by one. If it finds a virus, you can either delete the infected file or ignore the warning. There's no cleaning utility.

ViruSafe Web caught all the macro viruses we threw at it, and some common DOS viruses that typically infect COM files. However, it missed many other common DOS viruses. ViruSafe Web offers no protection within Word itself if you open an infected document that's already on your hard disk.

Another freeware Good Samaritan--Padgett's Word Macro Antivirus v. 1.10 (http://www.netmind.com/~padgett/getmacro.htm)--provides protection for versions 6 and later of Word. The program is a Word template that disables common document start-up macros. Most Word viruses use the AutoExec and AutoStart macros to do their dirty deeds to your documents and stylesheets. The Padgett template stops these macros from executing but also adds an icon to the Word toolbar that allows you to inspect all active document macros at a glance.

Padgett's Word Macro Antivirus
Critter Catcher. Padgett's Word Macro Antivirus keeps your system clean by preventing macros from executing and includes a Close Doc button for safe exit.

ARFAV (http://www.shareware.com, CompuServe PCUtil Forum) is a DOS antivirus utility that also lets you create an emergency rescue floppy. The authors take a creative approach to preventing hard disk infection. Instead of simply scanning your hard disk for infected files, ARFAV searches for common DOS utilities and inoculates them with transparent code that fights off most file viruses. When a virus attacks COMMAND.COM, DOSKEY or another utility, the ARFAV inoculation fends off the infection, nullifying the effect and preventing the virus from replicating. If you're uneasy about altering your program files, ARFAV can also save the original of each inoculated application with a BAK extension that will hide it from viruses.

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Copyright © 1997 CMP Media Inc.