Antivirus says Download Not Safe. How can I be certain?

Dennis Faas's picture

" Hello Dennis! I am a long time subscriber and I enjoy your email newsletter very much, especially your questions and answers regarding Microsoft Windows.

Question: I downloaded a file from a reputable web site, but my antivirus program says the file is virus infected. On the site that I downloaded the file, there are people who say the file is infected, while other say it's completely safe to use. How do I know whether or not it's safe to open this file? "

My response:

Depending on your choice of antivirus / antispyware and their respective protection settings, it's possible you've experienced what is called a "false positive," where a file is mistakenly flagged as being malicious but is in fact safe to use.

One of the easiest ways to determine whether or not you've experienced a false positive is to have the suspect file checked against other antivirus programs.

There are websites on the Internet such as (for example), which allow you to test a file against other antivirus programs. In this case, offers a comparison against 40+ antivirus products online. Simply upload the file in question to their site and it will be tested on their remote server. From there you can compare the results and make your own informed decision.

I hope that helps. And don't forget: if you found this tip useful, consider subscribing to our newsletter and/or ask friends to join. Cheers!

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