Win32 malware is not a virus; it’s simply an easier way to refer to malicious software.
Malware has been part of the Internet from the beginning. It was in 1994 that one of the very first (known) public viruses surfaced, and this led Microsoft to create their own anti-virus protection tool called “Microsoft Security Essentials”. What makes malware different than a “regular virus” is that there are two versions: Automated, and manual. Automatic means it’s hidden somewhere on your hard drive (most likely deep inside). Manual means you have access to what you’re installing, but you have no idea what kind of information or control it might be taking over when installed.