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What does antivirus software do?

It runs all the time on your computer and looks for activity which might have been caused by a virus and if any threats are detected, it will try to neutralise any malicious software. When you connect to the internet, the program downloads information about any new threats to keep up to date.

All of this usually happens without you being aware of what's going on in the background, but antivirus software also allow you to carry out a full scan of your computer on demand to see if there are any hidden threats lurking in files stored in your folders.

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This is question number 2345, which appears in the following categories:

Created by David Guest on 8 July 2011 and last updated by Richard Byrom-Colburn on 31 October 2016