A computer virus is essentially a category of malicious software that is designed to make alterations to computer programs in other to impede overall operation and/or performance of the computer. Similar to the biological viruses, a computer virus cannot successfully propagate itself without a host subject. Computer viruses replicate, multiply and encroach themselves in the host programs which could be a data cache, file or system driver. This group of malware infiltrates the host computer’s programs, attaches itself to the programs and begins to recreate itself so as to proliferate the entire computer system thereby corrupting the files, mutilating programs and modifying computer system operation processes.
The risks of getting infected by computer viruses mostly stem from engaging in one or more of some vulnerability-promoting actions such as downloading infected attachments on the internet; clicking on infected links in emails and weblogs; patronizing unsafe websites as well as through the transfer/ exchange of data.
There are numerous types and classifications of computer viruses. Notwithstanding, these malware in all their ramifications only serve to be detrimental to the computer system and its associated programs. Some major computer virus categorizations include the following;
- Macro Virus
This virus is associated with certain programs that contain macros. This type of virus infects these programs and allows them to run automatically.
- Boot Virus
This set of viruses infects the boot sectors of either removable storage devices like flash drives or that of the hard disk. In some cases, both storage platforms can be infected and it results in the computer being unable to boot.
- Resident Virus
A memory-resident virus installs itself in the Random Access Memory (RAM) after being run, and remaining there to infect other data-processing operations.
- Directory Virus
This virus modifies the paths that indicate file locations. After infecting the directory, the location of the final destination of the moved files becomes unknown.
- Overwrite Virus
As the name implies, an overwrite virus renders the original program incomprehensible and useless by corrupting and deleting the program information.
Computer virus infestations can impede computer operations in a lot of ways such as slowing down the speed of data processing and also corrupting databases and promoting information loss.
Engaging in preventive measures is the most advisable approach to forestalling virus attacks in computers. These preventive measures could be either through the use of reliable antivirus software apps as well as periodic updating of computer applications and programs.
Removing viruses from computers that would not even boot can be achieved in a number of ways.
- Firstly, the computer should be started in the Safe Mode setting. This is usually achieved in the Windows Operating System by pressing the F8 key just before the OS launches and right after startup. Loading Safe Mode in the Mac Operating System is achieved by holding the Shift key while the system boots. After starting up the computer in the Safe Mode, it is advisable to run efficient antivirus software to try to detect and remove the malware accordingly.
- If the above-mentioned method does not work satisfactorily, the computer operating system can be repaired. This can be achieved by booting the computer from the installation disk or USB drive and following the prompts and instructions on the screen appropriately.
- Finally, another method of virus removal entails total reinstalling of the computer Operating System. This should only be considered as a last resort if other procedures fail. It is recommended that the files and information should always be backed up prior to the reinstallation to prevent loss of information.