Sometimes you receive a file that gives you pause. It might be from a website you don’t fully trust, or it has appeared mysteriously in your inbox. What ever the case, you’d like to make sure it’s on the up-and-up. While it’s pretty tough to get 100% certainty, analyzing a suspect file with VirusTotal can get you pretty close. VirusTotal is a website that inspects a link or file you give it. It scans the file with about 40 different antivirus solutions and shows you the results. If you find yourself scanning links and files frequently they offer a desktop application (Windows only) and browser plugin (Firefox) that can add scanning with VirusTotal as an option to your right-click menu.
Keeping your computer malware/virus free is sort of an arcane art. For example if you install everything on this list and have it automatically run at startup your computer will be slower due to everything loading into memory. Many of these programs have a ‘portable’ or ‘standalone’ version which means you don’t have to install them to use them. Follow the link for all the details.