Use more than one Virus Scanner at same time?

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Richard D. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

I've read on some web sites that people are using more than one Spyware scanner on their systems for an added layer of protection.

In a similar respect, is it safe to run two virus protection programs at once? Can there be any conflicts? "

My response:

Both Spyware and Virus scanners operate using the same type of mechanism: a database of 'signatures', which are used to recognize infected or suspicious files on your system.

The reason why some people choose to scan their systems twice is simply because not all Spyware databases are the same, and some databases are updated more frequently than others. If one program fails to recognize an infected file, there's a chance that the other one might: hence, an added layer of protection.

Having said that, some Spyware applications (such as Spy Sweeper) use real-time Spyware protection that alert you *before* your system becomes infected with Spyware, whereas other Spyware removers only scan your system when you tell it to (some times, after infection has already occurred). I suspect that the majority of folks that are scanning their systems twice for Spyware are using freeware scanners that do not offer real-time protection.

So does it make sense to use two virus scanners at once?

The simple answer is: no. And that's simply because most virus scanners offer real-time protection (typically found in both freeware anti-virus and paid subscription models).

By utilizing two real-time virus protection solutions at the same time, it means that you'll be scanning each and every file twice before you are able to gain access to it: whether you're reading, writing, or appending information to the file. This will slow your system down considerably. And certainly, there's always a chance that running two virus scanners will cause a conflict, especially if both programs are set for real-time protection.

If you want to stay reasonably protected, use a virus protection solution that is widely accepted, and most importantly, download your virus definitions regularly. Most paid subscription virus protection solutions download automatically -- but only if you're connected to the Internet.

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