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[ The PC Guide | Systems and Components Reference Guide | Motherboard and System Devices | System BIOS | BIOS Settings | Advanced Features ]

Virus Protection / Virus Warning

This setting has one of the most misleading names of all of the parameters in the BIOS. The system BIOS really has no way at all to tell which programs are viruses, and which are "wanted" programs. If enabled, what this setting does is to trap any and all writes to the hard disk's master boot record, and display a message to the screen each time asking if you are willing to allow the write. Since one common type of virus is the boot sector infector, this can indeed prevent the spread of these viruses.

However, this setting will also cause the BIOS to display its warning message for any legitimate access to the boot sector. So if you use any utilities that modify partitions, or even if you reformat your hard disk, this message will pop up rather unexpectedly. You can of course just "authorize" the BIOS, telling it to proceed with the write, but this can grow rather annoying if it happens often. It can also be quite confusing to someone who doesn't understand what this strange BIOS message means.

Some people prefer the safety of having this enabled, others find it annoying and turn it off. In fact, most people don't regularly run utilities that modify the boot sector. If you turn this setting off, you can probably find a similar feature, more elegantly implemented,  in a memory-resident anti-virus program.

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