Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Trouble with files

Some viruses will delete files at random; others will add files to the hard drive. Then there are viruses that only vandalize portions of files, corrupting them so you can’t use them anymore. However the virus does its damage, the results are the same: a malfunctioning PC and data loss.
The file-related malfunction can manifest itself in many visible ways, including error messages that indicate the computer cannot find a necessary file; programs that don’t open when you click their shortcuts on the Start menu or Desktop; and program features that don’t work properly, if at all. In addition, files might contain gibberish or nonsense characters instead of the information you expected or files might seem to disappear from folders where you saved them.
You can verify that a file is missing by performing a physical search for it. Open the Start menu and use the Search or Find utility to locate the file on your system. You can verify file corruption by locating the damaged file on your computer (browsing your hard drive via My Computer or Windows Explorer can help you do that) and comparing its size (in bytes) to similar files on your system. Corrupt files often contain significantly more or less data than you would expect.
Finally, you can verify the presence of new files by checking the volumes of folders on your hard drive. A folder that suddenly boasts an inordinately large volume may contain infected files.
Many of these signs are quite subtle, and your ability to recognize them depends largely on your familiarity with what’s on your system.


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