"What?" you say. But before you toss this book across the room, hear me out.
All popular antivirus programs include a background system scan that launches at startup time. The idea of these background system scans is that they don't let viruses open on your computer. That's when viruses do their damagenot when they are received as an email attachment, but when you actually open that attachment.
But antivirus programs also use an email scan to pore over every incoming and outgoing piece of mail, and one common cause of .dbx file corruption is this very same email scan. Thus, the risk of corrupting your email file through scanning is considered worse than the risk of virus infection. I know. A plot twist from a Shyamalan flick.
Microsoft therefore recommends that you disable the automatic email scanning feature on your antivirus program. Of course, the routine will differ from program to program, but you should be able to do it with a check box as shown in Figure 12-12, using Norton's product as an example.
Figure 12-12. Disable the email scan to protect your email storage files.
Before Outlook or Outlook Express opens an attachment, the attachment saves to the Temporary Internet Files folder and only then tries to open. Here's where the system background scan steps in to perform its chivalry. If the antivirus program recognizes the virus, it stops the virus from executing, and will usually either delete or quarantine the infected file, depending on how you've configured the antivirus program. (By the way, if your antivirus program won't recognize the virus with its system scan, it won't with the email scan, either.)
To remove the infected email from your email program once and for all, hold the Shift key and press Delete.