Dear Amy: Is there any way to protect my computer from viruses that can wipe out a hard drive? Where did these viruses originate, and is there a way to retrieve your documents if you get the virus? — Stephen, Juneau, Alaska
Dear Stephen: Viruses that can erase hard drives have been around since early in 2000. Like any other virus, the best way to protect your computer is to use anti-virus software and practice safe surfing habits. Viruses can spread through e-mail, so only open e-mails from people you know. If you want to download files online, check with a parent to make sure they are from a safe source. Most anti-virus software will scan downloaded files before you can open them, which can help keep computer users safe. You can download free anti-virus software at http://free.avg.com and http://antivirus.comodo.com.
If your hard drive is erased, your files will be gone for good unless you keep backup copies in another location. Possible ways to back up important files are by keeping copies on a USB drive, using an online file storage service, or by burning them onto a data DVD or CD. Stay safe!
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