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Updating antivirus software

To show the steps to make sure your antivirus/anti-malware software has the latest protection updates.

Viruses and spyware are a fact of life for home computer users today. When these malicious applications find a way onto your computer, they cause all sorts of problems: file deletion, loss of functionality of the computer, even identity theft. The best way to avoid problems with malware on your computer is to have good protection against it, like anti-virus/anti-spyware software. But did you know that, without regular updates to the software, it may not be protecting your computer against new infections?
Since the functionality of your protection software relies on regular updates, it’s important to know how to get those updates on your computer. To do so, read on.


  1. An internet connection.
  2. A PC with a Microsoft Windows operating system (XP, Vista, 7).
  3. Anti-malware software (Norton, MacAfee, etc.).
  4. An active subscription to the anti-malware software.

First, we need to make sure you have an active subscription for your anti-malware software. (Updates will not download if it has expired.)

  1. Open up your anti-malware software.
  2. Look for a “Subscription” or “Account” option. Verify that your subscription is current and that you do not need to renew.
  3. If you do need to renew, click on “renew”. If your subscription is several years out of date, it’s recommended you have the software removed, and new protection software installed. Since your computer is probably massively infected if this is the case, it’s best handled by a Geek Squad Agent or other computer professional.


Any anti-malware and protection software that you install is only as good as its last update. You always want your software current so that it can protect you against the latest malware out there.

  1. Look for an “Update” option on your anti-malware software.
  2. Click on the “Update” option and let it run. It may prompt you for the interaction. Note: This process can take a few minutes, but do not proceed until it is finished.
  3. In some cases, some updates may rely on other updates being installed first. Make sure to click on “Update” option and let it run again, and keep doing so until it indicates that the software is up to date.


Now that your software is updated, you’ll want to set it to do so automatically in the future. To do so, in the “settings” section of your protection software, make sure to do the following:

  1. Set to Autoupdate at least twice a week.
  2. Set to run a virus scan a minimum of twice a week.
  3. Set the “Auto Protect” (or virus shield) option to on. (Normally default)


Whether you think your PC is infected or not, now would be the time to run an on demand scan of the PC.

  1. Go to the home screen of your protection software.
  2. Click on “Scan” or “Scan Now”.
  3. You should be presented with two options:Quick Scan: This option is the quickest method for scanning your PC, as it only scans folders most commonly targeted by malware.Full Scan (recommended): this takes longer, but is the best choice if you think your PC are infected — as it will scan every single file on your system
  4. If the scan is complete, and it found no malware, you may close out the application. If it found an infection, continue on to number 5.
  5. You will be presented with the option to “quarantine” or “delete” the malware your software as found. Quarantine archives the files into an area that can’t hurt your PC. Delete removes the files permanently, and in most cases, is the right choice.
  6. Once the malware has been removed or quarantined, you may close the window.