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So, say I've been wanting to install other Anti Virus software on my computer (or install a newer version of my current software). Since in between installing, the computer is probably vulnerable to already active viruses, hackers, etc. I have the following question:

I'd do the following, but I was wondering if there is a safer way to do so and what could happen in the meantime? Am I over reacting/being paranoid? Is there a real threat?

  1. Download new Anti Virus software installer
  2. Terminate internet connection
  3. Uninstall old software
  4. Probably reboot
  5. Install new software
  6. Re-instate internet connection.
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I think your process is sound. That is the method I use. – Xavierjazz Sep 28 '11 at 18:44
The only thing I might add is do a complete scan using both the old AV and, after install, the new AV. – Xavierjazz Sep 28 '11 at 18:45
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Your process is basically sound. I would add this....Many AV products provide a bootable disk or ISO that can be used to scan before any malware can load. Symantec/Norton has this and I am sure others do as well. You can add the latest signatures/definitions with a USB drive. I would get the new AV and make the bootable disk and scan the system. This will likley clear up any rootkits and other malware that may be present. Leaving it off the Interent, install the new AV and then reconnect to get latest updates

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I feel that a virus scan from an up-to-date bootable tool should be part of a standard computer maintenance procedure. Antivirus software running over the operating system can only ever be trusted to a certain extent. – jcrawfordor Sep 28 '11 at 19:38

Well if there are active virus threats to your PC it is ok to be paranoid. But still much can be done. What I usually do is that I install the other Antivirus when the previous is there. Although it warns that two applications might have a conflict and your PC might hang. So I suggest this.

Moreover the most of the viruses act on Access or Opening. So you should be more concerned about not opening any folders infected (even un infected for caution) if you want to install after uninstalling the older antivirus. Even more than that dont plug in any USB because that is the most disastrous effect and carries viruses.

Take necessary precautions but dont worry that much.

More over it is important to note that usally Antiviruses standalone are not that effective.

Always use an Antivirus with an Anti Malware/ Adware and Firewall tool. So you will be secure even if you uninstall the antivirus and install a new one!

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My AV also provides anti ad/malware and the firewall :p – BloodPhilia Sep 28 '11 at 17:57
Yea I know that many anti viruses have that multi option but still the suggested practice is using a combination due to the reason that if the Antivirus service fails to start at boot your computer is not exposed to risk. And the reason that those companies who create specialized products of Firewalls and Antimalware are more apprehensive towards such attacks! – aibk01 Sep 29 '11 at 4:59

As you've specified that your PC is probably vulnerable to viruses, i suggest you to take a backup of your data on an external hard disk, scan that data in other computer or a laptop, and go for a clean format of your PC, and install a new antivirus back. I would suggest you to use ESET Nod 32, it is light, fast, uses minimum CPU memory, and best you can get.

Reasons for Formatting: 1) A clean format will remove all useless junk on your hard disk, all temporary files will be removed.

2) Some viruses infect your files and those files infect other files on execution. So better to remove those files by scanning in other PC.

3) Generally when you uninstall an antivirus, and install another one, there are chances that some files of your old antivirus software may remain, which will interrupt the functioning of your new installed antivirus.

so go for a clean format, and before pasting any files back on your PC hard disk after formatting, make sure you install anti virus first and than copy back all your files from that external hard disk.

Don't forget to update yur Anti Virus

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