WARNING: This web page contains links to files that contain a harmless test file which virus detectors are programmed to treat as a virus. If you receive alerts from your anti-virus software, do not be alarmed. Read on, to discover what is happening. Creating a test virus Have you ever wondered if your anti-virus software is really working? Would you like to see what happens when it detects a virus? Here's a safe way to test your computer's virus protection that doesn't require you to have a real virus. First, open Notepad. Then copy and paste into it the text on the line below. (It should all be on one line.) X5O!P%@AP[4\PZX54(P^)7CC)7}$EICAR-STANDARD-ANTIVIRUS-TEST-FILE!$H+H* Then select File, Save, select All Files for the file type, then save the file as eicar.com. The result should look exactly like the screenshot below: Your anti-virus software may prevent you from saving the file as eicar.com, which is a sign that it is working effectively. If it doesn't raise an alert, try scanning the folder where you saved eicar.com. To see what happens if you try to run a file containing a virus, double-click eicar.com to open it. Explanation The file eicar.com you have created is completely safe. It is not a virus. It is a standard test file developed by the European Institute for Computer Anti-virus Research (EICAR). All anti-virus products are programmed to detect this file as if it was a real virus. Therefore you can safely use it to test whether your anti-virus software works, without fear of infecting your computer. If your anti-virus product should fail to prevent you from running the file, it will simply display the text "EICAR-STANDARD-ANTIVIRUS-TEST-FILE" in a DOS box. No harm will have been done, but you should probably consider using a better anti-virus product, because if it had been a real virus, your computer would by now be infected!