Viruses and worms can affect computers in different ways. They can infect files which might be required to run applications on your computer or even system files which is the core of the operating systems. It can also infect the boot-sectors (the starting of the Hard disk). The boot-sector is read and executed during computer startup.
Virus protection programs run in the background and look for viruses and worms as the computer user opens files and e-mails and accesses floppy disks. The virus protection program will alert the user of the infection and ask if it should disinfect. Sometimes the virus or worm can be removed without any harm; other times, it has already done the damage, and the file or disk it infected is corrupted. Be aware that virus protection programs only protect you from known viruses. They do not protect you from new viruses. A new virus can spread unrestricted throughout the world for a couple of days until users start updating their anti virus programs. Self-protection is the key to preventing new viruses from spreading.
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