Recently I have been flummoxed over trying to get a virus protection program installed on a client's machine. Because of the way they work Virus Protection programs are pretty monogamous. Like wives, your life does not go well when you try to have more than one at a time (I am going to get in trouble for that comment). Pick one and stick to it or, uninstall the first one before you change.
Recently I tried to install a new virus program and had a rough time doing so. The computer said I already had one installed. I am a pretty saavy computer professional so I've seen lots of them but, looking at the task bar, looking at the installed programs, looking at the processes in Task Manager, I couldn't identify what the program was, yet the new program I was trying to load, continued to complain.
Somehow the computer knew that it an anti-virus program was already running (rightly or wrongly) but I couldn't tell. I also had the sneaking suspicion that I knew how to find out and would kick myself when I "remembered." I knew that if the computer knew what was stuck in that little programmatic cubby hole, I should be able to find out.
When all was said and done I did kick myself, so in hopes of saving you that same silliness. In Windows 7 (I think this is the same or similar in Vista, if you are silly enough to still be running Vista) open the Control Panel and choose System and Security and then choose Action Center.
In the Action Center if your sections are not already expanded (and that is the silliness I missed) you will see a few sections.
What threw me off was normally I see a number of action items that need attending (which like the accomplished professional I am I categorically ignore). But by clicking the down arrow next to security, it expands information about the security of your computer.
Voila! Here I find what I was looking for, the computer sharing with me what it already knows. It tells me here that I have Windows Intune Endpoint Protection up to date and on. It also tells me that it is also working as my Spyware program.
If you didn't have an anti-virus program or spyware program running, you would have an alert here and at the top of the page.
If you don't have an anti-virus program or spyware program running, get one. Period. For Windows the first level is to go to http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/security_essentials/default.aspx. Download it. Install it. No excuses.
If you want to expand what that security can do for you on one or many machines, we are getting more and more excited about Microsoft Windows Intune. It comes with Intune Endpoint protection, a copy of Windows 7 Enterprise, and we are using it to monitor and support all our clients remotely. We see what trouble is happening before it becomes a problem, check updates, and can provide support and manage them all remotely from virtually any location. If you have a small office with machines that you never know if they are save and up to date and secure, you have to try Intune. You can sign up for a trial at http://www.windowsintune.com and if, when asked you provide partner #1130965, American Global Software can give you some options that would allow us to help you to manage those machines.