How to update an antivirus program

Updated: 12/31/2022 by Computer Hope
antivirus update

Keeping your computer safe from viruses is extremely important, especially if your computer connects to the Internet. Antivirus software helps keep your computer safe, but only if you keep its virus definitions up-to-date. Use the steps on this page to make sure the antivirus program has the newest information about viruses that might infect your computer.

Update through antivirus program

The majority of new antivirus programs (programs or computers purchased after the year 2000) enable users to update their antivirus program through the software. Open the antivirus program and look for "Update," "Check for updates," "Live Update," or something similar. Below are examples of how a user may update their antivirus program.

  • Microsoft Windows users running recent versions of McAfee can double-click the Vshield icon in their Windows notification area and click "Check for VirusScan update" to check for available updates.
  • Microsoft Windows users running recent versions of Symantec (Norton) can double-click the program icon in their Systray and click the "Live Update" to check for available updates.

If you do not have an antivirus program installed on your computer, we strongly recommend purchasing one at your local electronics store or downloading one from the Internet. Links to popular antivirus programs are listed further down this same page.

Update through antivirus web page

Some antivirus programs do not include an update utility. If you are using such software, download new virus definitions directly from the developer's web page. It should be noted that some developers require you to know what version you are running to get updates. Below are links to web pages for some popular antivirus programs.