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Tuesday, October 17, 2006, 01:00 pm PT (04:00 pm ET)

Some video iPods infected with Windows virus

Apple Computer this week said that a small number of its updated fifth-generation iPods were shipped to customers with a virus that could affect users of Microsoft's Windows operating system.

"We recently discovered that a small number — less than 1 percent — of the Video iPods available for purchase after September 12, 2006 left our contract manufacturer carrying the Windows RavMonE.exe virus," the company wrote in a bulletin on its support website.

"This known virus affects only Windows computers, and up to date anti-virus software which is included with most Windows computers should detect and remove it. So far we have seen less than 25 reports concerning this problem."

Apple said its iPod nano, iPod shuffle and Mac OS X operating system are not affected, and all Video iPods now shipping are virus free.

"As you might imagine, we are upset at Windows for not being more hardy against such viruses, and even more upset with ourselves for not catching it," the Cupertino, Calif.-based iPod maker said.

In order to remove the Windows virus, Apple recommends using a free trial of one of the listed anti-virus software packages, which include default settings that should detect and remove it.

"After installing an anti-virus application, you should attach your Video iPod to your Windows computer and run the anti-virus program," Apple said. "If your Windows system is infected with this virus, an alert will be triggered and inform you that the virus has been detected and either quarantined or removed."

Once the virus has been removed, the company recommends that customers use iTunes 7 to easily restore the software on their newly purchased video iPod.

Because the Windows virus propagates via mass storage devices, Apple recommends that users also scan any mass storage devices that they have recently attached to their Windows computers such as external hard drives, digital cameras with removable media, and USB flash drives.

"While this Windows virus does not affect Mac OS X or the iPod itself, Mac customers can use iTunes 7 to easily restore the software on their newly purchased Video iPod to ensure that it does not carry this Windows virus," the company said. "The Video iPod can then be used on a Windows computer without concern."