You've heard the news and reports about computer viruses. You=ve heard
how devastating they can be to your computer system. So, you add an
anti-virus program to your collection of software. However, it isn't
necessarily enough just to have it and install it on your system. It
seems to be working well enough because each time you turn on your
system, the anti-virus scans for viruses.
Be aware, though, of two concerns: 1) The anti-virus software is most
likely set to scan only certain files; 2) new viruses are being created
faster than we can find cures for them! A recent call to Network
Associates, makers of McAfee anti-virus, revealed that 99 new cures were
added to their "cures" list in just one month!
Customarily, when an anti-virus is installed on your system, it is
automatically set to scan only executable program files, none of the
system files or files which we create as our data and documents.
However, there are a few known viruses that attack document files
created in Microsoft Word or Excel. Left with the default settings,
your anti-virus software will not pick up on these strains of viruses.
It is advised that you, periodically, choose to scan your system
manually and change the scanning method to include ALL files rather than
only an executable program files. This method can take up to 45
minutes, depending upon how much you have stored on your hard drive.
Therefore, you may want to start your scan to run overnight. Be sure to
read the scan log when the process is complete. This log reflects all
viruses found and cleaned along with any that were found that could NOT
be cleaned from your system.
Your anti-virus software most likely comes with a subscription offer.
This offer is designed to keep your software updated in order to detect
and cure new viruses that are discovered. Anti-virus companies may work
on viruses for several months after the discovery of a new virus before
finding a cure.
Similar to a prescription refill, the subscription will include the
ability to update your software each month. This can be done over the
Internet or by diskette sent through the mail. Your instruction manual
gives detailed information regarding how to perform the update.
As our Internet and World Wide Web access increases, so does our
exposure to viruses. Computer viruses can be devastating to a computer.
They are a major concern and protection from them should be taken
By now, most of us have email capabilities on our computers. It is fast
becoming our second, most-frequently used form of communication (ahead
of faxing, yet behind the telephone). Not only can we send and receive
quick notes, letters, advertisements (and jokes) across the world in a
flash, but we can also send and receive computer files and images.
Sent along with an email message, these files are known as attachments.
Attachments can be computer program files (exe), documents (doc, wpg,
txt), pictures (jpg, tif, gif, bmp, etc.), or even groups of files
compressed into one (zip).
Once we receive an attachment, what do we do with them? How do we view
them? Where are they stored?
Depending upon the program you use to read your email, attachments are
stored in different places. If you use Netscape's mail, Eudora, the
Microsoft InBox or Outlook, your attachments will appear as an icon
within the body of your email message. When you look at the contents of
your "incoming mail" folder, messages with attachments are marked with
the image of a paper clip. Simply double-clicking on the email will
reveal the sender's message along with an icon of the attachment.
If you receive and read your mail through America Online or older
versions of Compuserve, attachments are stored in a folder called
Download. The body of the email address usually indicates the name of
the file so you can identify it when you are browsing your Download
What to do with attachments
In the case of documents or pictures, courteous attachment-senders
will tell you which program they used to save the file. If you have the
same program, you will be able to open the file. For example, if someone
attaches a Microsoft Word document and you have the same version of Word
(or newer), you will be able to open the document, print it, modify it
and save it into an appropriate folder.
If you receive a document created with WordPerfect or Works, and you
don't have either program, yet you have Microsoft Word 95 or 97, you
should not have a problem opening the file. Word can read most
WordPerfect files and Works files. However, if you have older versions
of WordPerfect or Works, you may have a problem with Word 97 files.
Say someone sends you a picture of the family so you can see how
everyone has grown. This can be much more complicated if they do not
save it in a common form such as a Bitmap (bmp) file. Since some of us
do not have special graphics programs on our computers, we may not be
able to view the picture.
Program files (exe) and compressed files (zip) sent as attachments
should be placed in a special folder before opening. The sender usually
provides instructions in the body of their email message. Be most
careful when receiving and opening these types of files. Be sure that
you know who the sender is. These types of files are the type which can
If your email program displays attachments as an icon, double-clicking
on the icon will open a program, then the attachment. The computer
attempts to find a program on your computer that can read files of this
type. As in the example above, if the attachment is a Word document,
double-clicking it will open Word on your computer, then open the
document. If the document is a picture saved as a bitmap (bmp) file,
double-clicking the icon will open MS Paint, then the file.
Compuserve and AOL users must first open a program such as Word,
WordPerfect or Paint, then choose File, Open and identify the Download
folder where the attachment is stored.
Each email program varies slightly with sending attachments. However,
the process is the same. Address your email as normal with any "cc's"
and a subject line. Write a note about the file(s) you are attaching. Be
sure to include the filename, the program used to create it or a "file
type" and any special instructions within the body of your message.
One of the pull-down menus or buttons on the icon bar will give you the
choice to add an attachment. Your email program will then open your
folders on your computer to allow you to indicate the location and name
of the file. Once you choose the file, simply click your Send button and
your attachment and email are on the way!
It is beneficial to the recipients if you ask ahead of time whether or
not they have programs to read this type of file. If not, your program
will usually allow you to Save As a different file Type or to a
different program version.