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Free PC Virus Protection

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NOTE:  For those of you purists who hate any topics that venture beyond
structural engineering, please stop reading now and hit your delete button.
However, for those of you (like me) who have relied for the past several
years on Norton Antivirus for PC virus protection, what follows should be of
great interest!

All of the Caldwell family computers have been protected for several years
with Symantec's Norton Antivirus 2.0, and all are running Windows 98.
Although Symantec does not support NAV 2.0 on Win98, it seemed to run quite
acceptably when enhanced with a handful of patches and upgrades downloaded
from the Symantec website, and the signature upgrades are free forever
(unlike newer versions).  Well, my thinking on all of this changed abruptly
last weekend!

Upon graduating from college last month, my daughter returned home for a
couple of weeks before heading off to Europe for the summer.  She brought
home a truckload of stuff, including her computer.  As she departed for the
airport, she told me that she would need the computer in tiptop shape when
she starts her Ph.D. program in August, and asked me to tune it up.  I spent
most of the evenings last week upgrading her various software programs.
Just prior to installing Win98 Second Edition, I figured that I better
upgrade the virus signatures and do a scan.  It was then that I noticed that
she had disabled her automatic NAV virus protection.  When I re-enabled it,
NAV immediately reported that it found the Spanska 4250 virus resident in
memory, shut the computer down, and refused to allow a reboot.  I was left
with a 3D graphic of a bug in a cage and a note saying to use the NAV Rescue
Disks.  Imagine my dismay to discover that the rescue disks don't work,
because:

*  Disk #1, the Boot Disk, won't recognize large (modern) hard drives.

*  Disk #2, the Program Disk, won't recognize FAT32 partitions.

*  Disk #2, the Program Disk, won't load the signature file on the hard
drive, even from a plain old FAT16 partition.

*  Disk #3, the Signature File, is not useful because the NAV signature file
grew larger than 1.44 MB a long time ago.

*  Symantec's answer to the Disk #3 problem is to create a condensed
signature file using a program called GENWILD.EXE, but this program is no
longer available as a download on their website. 

After 24 hours of effort discovering each of these impediments the hard way,
I concluded that NAV might be a bigger "virus" than Spanska 4250 (which,
fortunately, is not very destructive).  At that point, I searched the web
and found a great freeware product called InoculateIT Personal Edition 4.5
by Computer Associates.  I downloaded this program and installed it.
InoculateIT immediately found the virus in many locations, including
resident in memory, and destroyed it.  I then began working with this
program, and discovered that it is a full-fledged antivirus tool that does
everything that NAV does, except quicker and with less resources.  Also,
monthly signature updates are free forever, and self-install.  

Computer Associates' InoculateIT has now replaced Norton Antivirus as the
active antivirus product on all of the Caldwell family computers.  Check it
out at :

http://www.cai.com/antivirus/personal/

Best Regards,

Stan R. Caldwell, P.E., F.ASCE
Virus Free in Big D