Antivirus is a mandatory program which usually added after operating system installed on a machine. Computer user commonly using third-party antivirus since default virus defender from the OS is poorly secure the system and less malware definition. Several major antivirus programs, such as Avast, ESET, Symantec, AVG, Avira, and Kaspersky optimized their scanning capability as fast as possible. However, as the user, you can accelerate the progress from your own. Let’s break down how to speed up antivirus scans.
The following tips are universal, no matter what brand of antivirus you being used. I’ve harvested some information from blog and forum about antivirus, and I pick 5 clever ways to optimize the scanning speed dramatically.
#1 Reduce the number of running applications while scanning
The modern computer is designed to be able runs many programs at once. However, the easiest way to optimize scanning is by decreasing the number of applications that running when the scan is performed. This allows antivirus to get more space for its own activity. Try to close some program that not really necessary at the time.
Also, deactivate some background apps that no longer needed by accessing Task Manager then select programs that considered consume more CPU. It’s highly recommended to leave the computer alone (idle) while it conducts a deep scanning. Fewer programs mean more space for AV to doing its duty.
#2 Ensure that the antivirus is updated
Antivirus is getting better these days. Thanks to the passionate developer who works relentlessly to improve the antivirus features, capability, and performances. Older antivirus version usually takes longer when scanning due to obsolete architecture that no longer worth with the current system requirements. Updating antivirus also fixes virus definition to makes the system safer.
Besides keeping update the antivirus, the antivirus itself should be acclaimed as reliable software. Some fake antivirus programs spread over the internet, offering accurate virus taming but in the background, it acts as a virus and infected important files. This case ever happened when Ransomware rampant years ago. Hence, it’s highly recommended to figure out AV’s reputation through the internet.
#3 Add exclusion folders or files
Did you know that several files extension is rarely infected by viruses? Files like photos, videos, and audio format are generally has a very low risk infected by virus or malware. But they usually consume more storage space than any other files format. Consider configuring the antivirus to exclude low-risk files extension or avoid folder that contains such file types.
Furthermore, the report shows that EXE, JAR, MSI, DOC, BAT, and other 45 files extension is potentially dangerous for Windows. In fact, image and multimedia format isn’t considered as risky type. So, don’t worry to add these ‘safe’ format in the scanning exclusion. In addition, scanning only specific directory letting you save time since the number of files not as much the full system.
#4 Defrag HDD before scanning
Hard disk drive (HDD) storage system has one critical weakness – the fragmentation. In a simple explanation, fragmentation refers to the condition when files are divided scattered around the disks. It occurs naturally when you creating, modifying, or deleting files. At some point, the fragmentation has a severe impact on speed and performances. According to the Condusiv, the accumulation of fragmentation causes slow antivirus scans significantly.
If your computer not set to perform defragment regularly, try to defrag the HDD by your self. Simply by open Start Menu and search Defragment and Optimize Drives. After that, select local disk drive you want to defrag and click Optimize. The progress may take few hours depending on how messy the HDD.
#5 Upgrade your hardware
CPU is the car, while the storage system is the road. Scanning for viruses depends on both hardware. No matter how fast the car can be, if the road is messy, it can run quickly. CPU with two core or more has a better performance rather than single core. The clock speed also plays a critical role to achieve optimum speed during scans. Then, how about storage system?
Despite has been defragmented and higher RPM, the current HDD is far slower than Solid State Drive (SSD). There’s no doubt that SSD is many times quicker than HDD. Replacing HDD with SSD is essential in terms to get greater performances. It also doesn’t require defragmentation process. To be fair, this kind of storage system is too expensive in terms of price-to-GB measurement. It’s not necessary when you actually not really need it.
Do I need to scan antivirus manually?
Modern antivirus software engineered to perform scanning every time the computer turned on. Yet, the user doesn’t notice that since the scanning runs smoothly and consume less memory. It only warns you if virus, malware, or other unwanted program detected. You can choose either remove or quarantine infected files. In the other words, scanning the machine manually isn’t significantly required.
But, on several occasions, you probably need to conduct scanning to ensure security and patching vulnerability. For example, when the antivirus just installed new major update, scanning can be regarded as testing new viruses definition and the efficiency of the program.
Another example is when you installed a new application and not really sure if it was safe. By default, the antivirus will add the newly installed program in the scan queue. Still, it’s preferable to perform scanning at the directory where the program is located.
Some antivirus might have built-in tweak options to accelerate scanning speed without losing its effectivity. But unfortunately, I can’t show you the way since this article is supposed to be a universal practice.