So what exactly do viruses do to a computer system or network? It depends on the aims of the person that has spread the virus in the first instance but we are going to focus mainly on the viruses that effectively cripple a Windows operating system.
Once the virus has found it’s way in to the operating system, the signs are sometimes immediate but on occasions it may take several days, or even weeks, to become apparent. The bulk of the damage that is likely to be done is in the computers registry files where your configuration settings and system options are stored in a hierarchical database. A virus may be intended to corrupt one or more of these files and even in cases where just one file is initially corrupted, the impact on other files can be severe and can easily render the system as inoperable as programs fail to either open, close, store newly added data etc. Backing up data on to an external drive (CD or Memory Stick) will help keep your data stored and the actual data is unlikely to be affected, in most cases, but the program itself may not function correctly. In years gone by this was not a serious issues as prior to the launch of Windows Vista, formatting the computer hard drive was a relatively easy process and you could eliminate all traces of all viruses and malware but alas this is not the case with Windows Vista and beyond.
This now presents two choices.
1. You can replace the entire hard drive and/or system and re-install your saved data.
2. Hire the services of someone that knows how to format the systems hard drive.
These two option cost time and money and the knock on effect is that you could be without your computer for several days and the ambulance billing data needs to be logged somewhere and this in turn can cause issues and result in inadvertent false claims to Medicare at a later date once the system is restored.