Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
A Virus By Any Other Name
Technically, a virus is a piece of software that not only infects a computer system but actively
spreads itself to other systems by means of a host file, much like the biological viruses that cause
colds and other human illnesses. The term is often used more broadly to include other kinds of
“malware” — a generic term for harmful software — that do not fit the strict definition of a virus,
such as worms and Trojan horses.
On-Demand Email Scan
If you have an Outlook-compatible anti-virus program installed, you will find two virus-related
commands on Outlook’s Tools menu:
n Scan for Viruses: Opens your anti-virus program and performs an immediate virus scan
of email items according to the program options. Use this command when you are not
sure that the anti-virus program’s automatic scanning is enough.
n Email Scan Properties: Opens your anti-virus program’s Options dialog box where you
can specify the details of how the program scans email items for viruses.
The details of how the virus scan works and how you set options will depend on the specific
anti-virus program that you have installed. Please refer to that program’s documentation for more
Dealing with Attachments
One of the most common ways for viruses to spread is by means of email attachments. However,
all attachments are not equal in their ability to spread a virus. Certain file types are potentially very
dangerous, such as executable programs, batch files, and installation files. Others, such as image
and music files, are generally safe.
Reassuring Email Recipients
People worry about getting viruses via email, and I think it’s a good idea to reassure them
messages from you are safe. I include a brief note at the bottom of every email I send that states “This
email message and any attachments have been scanned for viruses by XXX” (where XXX is the name
of the anti-virus program that I use.