Help pack a million meals for struggling seniors on 9-11. Volunteer today

Bits & Bytes

Most Popular


Ask Sid

Make a Plan to Virus-Scan

Q. How often should I scan my computer with antivirus software, and can I do it on the cheap?

A. Experts recommend that your computer get a full scan at least once a week, but some suggest scanning every day or so. This is not as onerous as it sounds, because many antivirus programs can be set to automatically scan your computer and install security updates.

There are many free scanning products, and PCMag recently tested several and listed its favorites. There are also offerings by Norton and McAfee.

Whatever you choose, be sure to read the product’s terms and conditions to ensure you’re not installing a limited-time free trial that could later start generating unexpected costs. You may also try calling your Internet provider. Some provide customers with antivirus software for free.

It’s usually suggested that computer users stick with one antivirus program. Although it’s possible to install more, they may conflict, actually weakening your protection. So if you go double-duty, make sure that at least one product is set to scan “on demand” and is not active all the time.

Sid Kirchheimer is the author of Scam-Proof Your Life

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.


Social Networking

Step-by-step instructions on how to use some of the Web's most popular networking sites. Go


How to Use Your PC

Guides covering everything from setting up your desktop, to getting the most out of Excel. Go


Protect Your Digital Life

Keep your computer secure, your web surfing safe, and your inbox spam free with these tips. Go


Discounts & Benefits

Geek Squad Computing

Members save on Geek Squad services with Geek Squad® Tech Support & Guidance for AARP® Members.

AARP Discounts on ADT Companion Services

Members get 20% off NEW installation and activation of ADT® Personal Emergency Response System.

AARP Discounts on Consumer Cellular Phones and Plans

Members save 5% on monthly service and usage charges with Consumer Cellular.

Member Benefits

Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change. Join Today


computer questions and tips

Computer Questions & Tips

Pick up some handy how-tos from this savvy group of techies. Discuss


Freebies Group

Favorite Websites & Freebies

Share your top sites for interesting information, helpful resources — and free stuff! Discuss