Ask the Expert

The difference between antivirus and antispyware/malware software

Could you give me a thorough description of the difference between antivirus software and antispyware/malware software? How do I know if what is infecting my computer is a virus or spyware/malware?
Generally speaking, antivirus software can search for and protect against viruses, worms, and Trojans. Antispyware is usually a separate piece of software that searches for and protects against pesky pop-ups that install spyware, potentially dangerous cookies, Windows registry entries, etc. Both are needed to adequately protect a Windows system and you'll need to install/run both to search for pests that may be causing you problems.

Click here to view questions and answers from all of our Windows security experts.

This was first published in April 2006

There are Comments. Add yours.

TIP: Want to include a code block in your comment? Use <pre> or <code> tags around the desired text. Ex: <code>insert code</code>

REGISTER or login:

Forgot Password?
By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy
Sort by: OldestNewest

Forgot Password?

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an email containing your password.

Your password has been sent to: