5 Ways to Speed-Up Antivirus Scan on PC

How to Speed Up Antivirus Scans

Several major antivirus programs, such as Avast, ESET, Symantec, AVG, Avira, and Kaspersky optimized their scanning capability to be as fast as possible. However, as the user, you can accelerate the progress without technical knowledge.

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 plus my experiences about antivirus.

From that information, I picked up 5 clever ways to optimize the scanning speed dramatically!

#1 Reduce the number of running applications while scanning

Closing unnecessary programs could give some space for the antivirus to work more freely.

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 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 do its duty.

#2 Make sure the antivirus is updated

Modern antivirus has a better software architecture and smarter scanning system. That way, it can perform faster compared to the old-dated antivirus.

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 catch-up with the current system requirements. Updating antivirus also fixes the virus definition thus makes the system safer and smarter.

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 like a virus and infects your file. This case ever happened when Ransomware rampant years ago. Hence, it’s highly recommended to figure out AV’s reputation before using it.

#3 Add exclusion folders or files

Multimedia file format has a lower risk of getting infected by a virus. Excluding photos, videos, and audios format may increase scanning speed.

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. However, they usually consume more storage space than any other files format. Consider excluding these kinds of files on your antivirus.

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 a 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

According to Condusiv, the accumulation of fragmentation causes slow antivirus scans significantly. Defragging HDD before scanning is highly recommended.

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 and scattered around the disks. It occurs naturally when you creating, modifying, or deleting files. Until one point, the fragmentation could have a severe impact on speed and performances.

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 a few hours depending on how “messy” the HDD.

#5 Upgrade your hardware

If possible, try to use a high-end CPU and SSD. These two components play an important role in scanning performance.

CPU is the car, while the storage system is the road. No matter how fast the car can be, if the road is messy, the CPU has to slow down. CPU with multicore has better performance rather than the single core. The clock speed also plays a critical role to achieve optimum speed during scans.

There’s no doubt that SSD is many times quicker than HDD. Replacing HDD with SSD can result in greater performances. Plus, it 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?

How to Speed Up Antivirus Scans

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 in the background. It only warns you if there is a virus, malware, or other unwanted program detected. You can choose either remove or quarantine infected files. In other words, scanning the machine manually isn’t significantly required.

However, I do recommend you to perform a scanning when…

  • You just installed a new program
  • Downloaded file from an untrusted site
  • Plugged USB drive
  • Connected to a new network
  • Reconfigured security configuration

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 for all antivirus brand.


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