<firstimage=”//static.makeuseof.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/intro1.jpg”>It’s highly likely that you’ve had some sort of experience with a computer virus in the past. If not, then lucky you – but you can never be too safe, especially if you’re running Windows.
Online free anti virus scan apps have been around for a while, and whilst they’re no match for standalone software they certainly have their uses. Perhaps you’re on an unfamiliar PC that’s acting a little strange? Or maybe your existing software has been disabled, and you’ve frantically restarted in Safe Mode looking for a solution.
Below you will find 4 websites to check and verify that your PC is virus free, and 3 to upload and check individual files to help prevent an outbreak. Let the scanning begin!
Online PC Scanners
This free scanner will work in all major browsers, and requires a quick addon to be installed before you can scan. Simply visit the site, click Scan Now, agree to the installation and accept the EULA.
Your PC will then be scanned in record time to let you know whether or not you’ve got any nasty viruses, trojans or other malware hiding in your PC’s memory. It won’t scan your whole hard drive, but if your PC is acting up and you suspect malicious software is to blame, QuickScan should find it.
For a quick scan of running processes choose Quick Scan or if you’d prefer to delve a little deeper you can opt for a Full Scan. Once you’ve chosen click Scan now and you’ll be prompted to download either an extension (if you’re running Firefox) or an ActiveX control (if Internet Explorer’s your thing).
The scanner will update its definitions and then run the scan of your choice before delivering the good or bad news.
Housecall is completely browser independent, which means you can access it from any web browser. It achieves this by packaging the scanner into a small executable file which when run scans your PC for any signs of malware.
There are two versions to choose from – 32bit and 64bit – and you should make your choice based on your operating system. In case you’re wondering what version you’re running, open Control Panel in your Start menu and choose System. Once you’ve downloaded the file, run it and the definitions will be updated for you.
After you’ve accepted the EULA click Scan Now to see what’s lurking on your PC.
You’ll need to authorise the Java applet to run before the scanner will launch in a separate window. You’re then free to choose between Quick Scan, Full Scan and a customized My Scan (where you choose which bits of your hard drive to check).
Once you’ve chosen the scanner will update its definitions (it’ll take a few minutes, but stick with it) and your PC will be checked for problems.
Individual File Scanners
The VirScan service allows you to upload a file (up to 20MB) and check it against more than 30 other sets of definitions from the web’s finest anti-virus solutions.
You can upload .ZIP and .RAR files with a maximum of 20 compressed items, and even give the archive a password of “infected” or “virus”. Simply click Choose File followed by Upload and your file will be scanned, showing you the results in your browser.
With support for both file upload and URL checking VirusTotal is a popular online virus scanner (so check the server load before you submit). Not only can you upload via the web form on the homepage, but you can email your files (again, 20MB maximum filesize) to email@example.com with “SCAN” in the subject field.
You will then receive your results via email once your scan has been complete. Much like VirScan, VirusTotal uses a database of definitions assembled from all over the web.
Operating much in the same way as the previous two engines, Jotti allows you to upload a file of 20MB or less for submission to a selection of the web’s anti-virus engines.
You should know the drill by now – click Choose File and then Submit file to receive your results.
Online solutions are a great way to protect your data but these services are still no match for installing a dedicated virus scanner on your machine. There’s plenty of completely free solutions out there, some of which have adverts and the odd pop-up and others that just sit there and do their job.
We’ve got a list of the 10 best right here, and it’s also worth watching out for spyware with programs like Malwarebytes and Spyware Terminator. No virus scanner is completely immune to attack, and the best thing to use whilst browsing the web is your common sense.
Have any of these services helped you out in the past? Ever tackled a particularly vicious virus? Got any security tips? Sound off in the comments.
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