Tip & How-To about Dell Dimension 4600 PC Desktop

Viruses and Virus Removal - Free Online Virus Scanners

Why Use An Online Antivirus Scanner?

1.) these tools reside in a protected database seperate from your computer and provide an ability to capture a virus more frequently than your personal scanner.

2.) the database of the online scanner is not only more reliable but more current than your personal scanner could ever be.

3.) they're free.

How The Work
Online virus scanners need access to your hard drives. To do this they must utilize a tool you download as an active interface between your computer and the online scanner. Today, the technology of choice for this is an Active X control.

If you use Firefox and travel to an online Virus Scanner site, the process will fail because of the Firefox browser. This is true for Netscape and Safari.

Specifically, for Firefox users, you will notice the FF icon in the lower right side of your browser window frame. To change rendering engines to an Internet Explorer engine you only need to click once on this icon and you will see the FF icon change to the IE icon. You are now ready to revisit the online scanner and access the Active X control.

However, some online scanners use Java Technology and bypass the need for an Active X control. To stay current with the Java engine please visit http://www.java.com/en/download/manual.jsp

Problems With An Active X Control?
If your security settings inherently prevent an Active X control, you will need to tell an Alert Box Prompt to temporarily allow Active X controls. Beyond that, you may need to tweak your security settings to be 'prompted' vs 'deny' Active X controls. In Windows, go to Control Panel an click on the Internet Options icon and then the Security and Privacy tabs.

Now, you are ready to use an online scanner. How do they work?

An online scanner, with the use of an Active X or Java control, begins scanning your hard drives much like you would expect and watch from your own local resident virus scanner.

Normally, these online scanners do not 'Prompt' you to respond to each and every threat as it is discovered. After the scanning process is complete you will be provided with a summary of threats found and asked what you want to do. As techs, we often take no action but do print the report. We have our own forensic reasons to not remove a virus. Perhaps it helps us to make judgment calls and generate tasks for our teams across a corporate network, or as consultants we can show the 'powers that be' at a company what they need to do and why.

YOU, will want to choose clean now.
As a consumer and personal computer user, show allow the online scanner to clean your system.

What Else Can You Expect at This Point
Don't be surprised and expect to be offered a product to purchase as an alternative to what you have or to have one should you not already have one.
These sales pitches are low key and are almost universally NOT intrusive. You can simply decline and move on.
Why are these offered and low key sales pitches? It is inherently better for the greater good to have clean systems in use today and not have people unknowingly using zombie machines infected with viruses an malware that use your machine to send copies of the virus out all the time you are online.

Once You Have Used an Online Scanner, Are You Now Safe Forever?
No. Its as simple as that. As a user, it is a requirement that you conduct regular scheduled maintenance on your machine. Today, as opposed to Defragging, a Virus Scan is more important. Use your own scanner for diligence duties as you work and surf the Internet and use the Online Scanner either weekly or monthly, but please use them.

I'm going to list many online scanners, some are better than others in their user interface and environment. Some nag you much less than others about purchasing their product services. But, they all do exactly the same thing.

How Does That Compare to Ratings You've Seen on Scanner Performance?
No single user scanner will catch every virus every time. The reasons for this are in one case simple and another rather complex and I won't attempt to explain that to you.

Primarily, some viruses are capable of detecting some of the resident user scanners and defeating the scanner rather easily. They can do this by spoofing you into believing the scanner is running while it actually is not. Other viruses called polymorphic, wait until your scanner has scanned one folder and then copies itself to that now scanned folder. A well written scanner can detect this action, but only if it is not defeated from doing so by the virus already. You may ask, "Is this really a problem for little me?" Yes, you bet. While its true, this was more of a problem for high security firms in the past: banks, military installations and government agencies, the coding has now trickled down to 'kiddie koder virus authors'. "Kiddie Koders?" These are people that have just learned how to write code and write a virus to 'watch and see' how they do. Others, belong to and thus act much like clubs and write viruses as competitions within their clubs or more normally clubs vs.club competition. The age groups in these 'clubs' varies but they are mostly men, some women, in their teens who haven't established a firm set of wrong vs. right principles to live by. As such, they are often innocently unaware of the impact of their actions. The US Courts handle each case differently but do go rather easy on the under 18 crowd. Very talented authors over the age of 21 often get recruited and hired by anti virus companies and the US Government.

Who Else Writes Viruses I Need to Worry About
Enemies of America. Yes, no kidding. Some terrorist groups are dead set on disrupting the "American Way" of life and more importantly Capitalism. This mean ''YOU". Sounds a bit cliché doesn't it, but sadly its true.

Okay, Here's Some Online Scanners You Can Use.
[Due to space limitations on this Tip Page, I will only post two comprehensive listings, there are others, many others, who I will provide a simple URL and not a listing as you will see in these two leading companies. As there are so many companies offerring this service I RECOGNIZE I CANNOT LIST THEM ALL. Please don't email me about them.]

NOTE: There are others, and I will no doubt miss a few. I will update this post as it is warranted. If I miss one you know about just comment to this post in the box below. It will become a part of this page and I'll add them to any revisions.

When noted below, system requirement needed are displayed when necessary. If they are not listed below, some requirements may still apply.
This is particularly true for Windows vs. Macintosh in many cases.

Please Note: Narrative content presented in conjunction with these listings, their tools and urls are copyright and trademark protected by these respective companies and should be respected as such.

Thanks to these leading antivirus companies in compiling this list.

I'll start with a well known (to IT departments) firm that conducts exhaustive research in anti virus defenses.


Kapersky uses Java and not Active X.

Be certain to select the link under the magnifying glass to scan your machine. Should you only want to scan one file, scroll down and select the "File Scanner" link and read the requirements carefully.

Kapersky now includes a new term for particular malware, calling it 'crimeware' and this is very appropriate in todays landscape.

Attention: Kaspersky Online Scanner 7.0 may not run successfully while any other antivirus program is running. If you have another antivirus program installed, please turn it off before running Kaspersky Online Scanner 7.0.

Read the system requirements carefully, especially if you are using Vista.

Trend Micro™ HouseCall is an application for checking whether your computer has been infected by viruses, spyware, or other malware. HouseCall performs additional security checks to identify and fix vulnerabilities to prevent reinfection.

Important Notes about HouseCall 6.5
HouseCall 6.5 has two independent Core Engines to choose from:

  1. The ActiveX Core Engine: to use this engine, please adjust here the IE browser’s Security level to Medium at least and be sure that signed ActiveX objects are enabled.
  2. The Java VM Core Engine- to use this engine, please install the Java VM from www.java.com.
Be careful to read the system requirements, especially Mac Users.

Posted by on

Dell Dimension 4600 PC Desktop Logo
Not finding what you are looking for?

3,640 people viewed this tip

Ask a Question

Usually answered in minutes!

Top Dell Computers & Internet Experts

Lee Hodgson
Lee Hodgson

Level 3 Expert

4810 Answers


Level 3 Expert

1997 Answers

Michael Thomas
Michael Thomas

Level 3 Expert

3056 Answers

Are you a Dell Computer and Internet Expert? Answer questions, earn points and help others

Answer questions