An antivirus is one of the most important components of a system security. Even the smartest computer user cannot ignore it. But while most of us are aware of the purpose of antivirus software, not many are aware on how antivirus software work.

How Does Antivirus Software Work?

1.An antivirus works in the background while you’re using your computer work on the system. The software has definition files which contain the signatures for worms, malware and viruses.

2.Antivirus companies release these definition updates to ensure that your system remains protected from malware.

3.The best antivirus checks every file. A Zip archive file, an EXE file, a word document etc, are all scanned by the software. It also checks every program that you run on the system.

4.Antiviruses also check the files and the programs that you run on your computer, for all of the known and the unknown (new) virus, malware and worms. It stops infected files and programs from running on the system. Most of the time, such programs are put into “quarantine”.

5.The working of the software also depends upon its settings. The settings may also leave certain task at your own discretion. For example, the settings of the software on your system may also show a pop-up related to the program and ask you to run or delete the file if it is found to be infected by virus. You should generally believe what the antivirus says.

6.The antivirus software also prompts for full system scan. The first full scan generally happens at the beginning when the antivirus is installed for the first time. Its purpose is to detect and remove any malicious software and worms that lay dormant on the system. The scans can also be scheduled by the users. Doing a full system scan once a week almost nullifies the need to re-install Windows, if the operating system happens to get corrupted by the viruses.

7.The software helps in repairing your computer.

There are many antivirus programs available on the market. What distinguishes one antivirus from another is the detection rate. Choosing the best antivirus software is relatively easy for the more technically savvy users. Detection rate studies or protection rate studies can help you pick the best software for your system. The higher the detection rate, the better the antivirus software as compared to its competitor’s products.