Viruses will affect your PC in 4 different ways . . .
  1. The Boot Sector:
The boot sector is where your operating system files reside on your floppy or hard disk. A virus will go to that location on your disk and corrupt these files (IO.SYS, MSDOS.SYS, and COMMAND.COM) so that your PC will NOT boot up as expected.
           EXAMPLE: the STONED virus.

2      The File Allocation Table: The File Allocation Table (FAT) is a list

The File Allocation Table (FAT) is a list of all the files on your floppy or hard disk, and where the files are physically located on the disk. A virus will corrupt the FAT so that you cannot locate or access your files.
          EXAMPLE: the CASCADE virus.

3        The Partition Table

The partition table on your HARD DISK tells MS-DOS how big your hard
disk is, and what percentage of it is used by MS-DOS. A virus can corrupt
your partition table, which wipes out ALL of your files in an instant.
EXAMPLE: the MICHELANGELO virus.

4       .COM and .EXE Files

Files with these extensions are EXECUTABLE files, which perform a
specific action. A virus can attach itself to one of these kinds of files and
corrupt the way it operates.
EXAMPLE: the 4096 virus.
 


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