This is my first post other than movies. I like to share something I know which helps in protecting our computer from viruses. Thanks to my best friend Anvar, who has taught me with this information 3 years before.
Keeping our computer out of virus is an important task. There are plenty of antivirus programs available in the market. But there are ways to keep your computer out of virus threats without using any such antivirus software. It is very well possible with the internal features available in Windows operating system.
Actually, Virus is a program that executes by itself. Its adverse effects vary from making certain applications not function properly to mother board failure at the worst case. Now that removable media is very common, virus gets easily transferred to our computer through pendrives. Usually the virus files are associated with an autorun.inf file that has the script to execute them, and they are hidden inside the drive. Those who use shared computers, like in college laboratories and offices, are more vulnerable to get a virus attack when they use their pen drives in one of those computers, and use them again in your personal one. The moment the USB drive is plugged into the computer, it starts executing, which we must prevent in order to keep our computer safe.
Using the Group Policy Editor in Windows operating system, the task is achieved. It works well in Windows XP, Vista and 7 operating systems and the steps are same for all the three variants. The main benefit of this method is that, it is a time one process only. A repetition is necessary only in re-installation of the OS. Before that, one important thing to keep in mind is, there shouldn’t be any threats or suspicious files in your computer already. So here are the steps. The images shown below are from Windows 7 OS. Click on the images to see it enlarged.
1. Go to Start -> Run and type the command gpedit.msc. The local group policy editor window will appear (Image 2).
|Image 2 - group policy editor window|
2. The Group Policy Editor window is divided into two panes. In the left pane, there are Computer Configuration and User Configuration. Select the User Configuration option by double clicking on it, and three sub headings under User Configuration will be displayed.
3. From the three, double Click the Administrative Templates. There will be another list of sub options displayed and choose Windows Components. Policies under Windows components are displayed and choose Autoplay policies option which is third from the top. Selecting the Autoplay policies will display the existing autoplay related options in the right pane of the window. The first one Turn off Autoplay is our concern (Image 3).
|Image 3 - Autoplay policy|
4. By default, it is Not Configured. Double clicking or a right click and choosing Edit option from the popup menu, its properties are displayed (Image 3).
|Image 4 - Turn off Autoplay default properties|
5. In the properties window, choose Enabled, and under the Options dropdown list, choose All Drives.
|Image 5 - Turn off Autoplay properties after modified settings|
6. Click Apply and then Ok. Mission accomplished!!
Hereafter you can simply use your USB drive without any fear about threats. As said earlier, virus files are usually hidden. So while using pendrive, there is no problem in leaving them as it, unless you manually execute the virus program by mistake. To avoid that, it is advised to first delete them. It can be done using either Winrar file compressing utility or Command prompt. Using Winrar is fairly easier than command prompt. One advantage of winrar application is that it shows all the hidden files in any folder or drive. This makes the process easier to spot and delete the malicious files.
|Image 7 - Deleting virus files using Winrar|
After inserting the pendrive, and before the opening it, pen winrar application and using the address bar, open the drive in which the virus files have to be removed. In this case, the suspicious file is folder.tmp and autorun.inf is the file that has the script to execute the virus. Selecting them and pressing delete key will throw them off your computer. Misson accomplished again.!
It is a good practice to check every time you use pendrives in your computer, that whether it has any malicious contents. In this way, you can ensure the safety of your computer from threats. Please do share this information with others.