The short answer to this question is that you don’t.
The longer answer is that you (as an end user) don’t test anti-virus products because in order to do so, you have to make sure you are scanning actual viruses. What does this mean?
It means that for each and every infected file that you want to scan, you must run it and make sure that yes, the virus in that file does replicate to other files on the system. Obviously, since some viruses are destructive, it’s impossible to test them on a system that you actually use for accessing the Internet or doing other work on, not to mention that testing thousands of files is rather timeconsuming. That’s why testing of anti-virus products is best left to the experts in the anti-virus industry.
However, I have the feeling that more than a few of you out there are curious as to what sort of message you get from your anti-virus product when it detects a virus. That’s certainly a valid concern. So, if you would like to see what happens, just download the file EICAR.COM, which was created by the European Institute for Computer Anti-virus Research. It’s short (68 bytes), and running it produces a simple message stating that it is a test file.
What happens you do scan it however, is that most of the newer anti-virus products will recognize it as the “EICAR test file”, and print up a message stating so, so you can see what kind of message does come up if you ever do experience an actual virus infection on your system.
Let me emphasise, EICAR.COM is NOT a virus. Also, if you have trouble downloading this file, try right-clicking on the link to it, and choose “save as…”, or something similar.