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Antivirus Software: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Antivirus software: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


Antivirus software is a pro-active means of battling computer viruses.

Purchase antivirus software
If your intend to purchase a retail antivirus software package, here are links to the websites of several of the major retail antivirus offerings available for retail purchase:

Free antivirus software
If you plan on installing a free antivirus software package on your computer, here are links to several of the major reputable offerings in this category. Free antivirus software has fewer features than commercial antivirus software, but does provide a minimum amount of protection and is acceptable if you don't want to purchase a commercial antivirus software package. For a review of the free antivirus options, see About Free Antivirus Software.

If you need assistance choosing an antivirus software solution that will work for your computer, please contact the Help Desk at 8-HELP for further assistance.

University Purchased Computers
OIT has a license with McAfee antivirus software for faculty and staff computers that have been purchased with University monies through a project and/or grant account number. Faculty and staff using DeSC computers do not need to take any action as the computers are configured to update their virus software and definitions from the Princeton servers.

Scheduled Scans
OIT has implemented McAfee scheduled scans for all institutional Windows desktops used by faculty and staff.

  • The scans will begin at 1:00 a.m. on Sunday, March 21, 2010, and will continue to scan computers weekly each Sunday. All Windows desktop computers with McAfee VirusScan are scheduled to participate. The decision to implement full system scanning was made due to the security issues involved with computers that do not scan, search and remove malware. Users who log into the computer during that time should experience minimal performance issues.
  • McAfee software actively scans files that are opened, uploaded and downloaded with the most up-to-date virus definitions, yet sometimes a new virus can be downloaded before McAfee has a definition for it, or if the file is never opened after McAfee receives the corresponding update. Performing a full scan of a computer with up-to-date definitions is the only way malware can be detected and deleted once the computer has become infected.
  • To send a request for a machine to “opt-out” of this service, use the form at: Please consider this option carefully as it is not recommended. The only way to fully protect a computer against malware is to scan the hard disk on a periodic basis.

Related Links:
  • Please contact with any questions.

Last Updated:
March 22, 2016

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