We all know how important it is to run antivirus software and anti-malware software on our computers today, especially if you run Windows. But, one of the biggest questions I get is how often one should scan a system for malware and viruses. In today’s world of automatic detection and real time scanning, some believe you don’t have to worry about it, but that’s just not the case. Today, let’s look at how often you should scan your system for malware and viruses so you can ensure your computer is protected and your data and personal information stays safe.
Real Time Scanning
First, let’s talk a minute about real time scanning. This is hands down one of the best inventions ever to come to antivirus software. While this does take a few extra resources to run, real time scanning checks everything that comes into your computer. This scanning can put a stop to an infection before it starts.
But, it is not the be all, end all to antivirus and anti-malware protection. It will miss things coming into your system, and some things, especially coming in from your web browser, may not ever be scanned. If they are, often the real time scanning doesn’t see them as a threat. This usually applies to adware that you don’t want on your system, but don’t really present any real danger to you. This is why you need to run manual scans on occasion to give yourself more complete protection.
Formulate a Security Plan
In addition to running antivirus and anti-malware applications that do real-time scanning. I recommend that you formulate your own security plan on when you want to run your own scans. Most software today will allow you to create a schedule for scans that will run periodically on your system. I would recommend setting this for once a week so you know your machine is getting scanned at least once a week.
In addition to these automated scans, I would also recommend that you manually run a scan at least once a month. Be warned that while running a manual scan the performance of your PC could be affected quite heavily unless you are running a seriously high-performance laptop. If you are a heavy computer user, you may want to increase that to a couple of times a month. You should do this both with your antivirus and anti-malware software, although you may want to run anti-malware software such as Malwarebytes more than once a month. These scans are usually faster than the antivirus software scans and malware can infect your system much more easily than viruses.
One Time Scans If You Are Worried
If you click on a link that you probably shouldn’t have or if your computer is acting funny, such as running slow or you are getting pop ups or something like that, you probably should go ahead and run a full scan of your system even if it isn’t part of your schedule. Remember, the goal is to keep your computer clean, so an extra scan won’t do you or your machine any harm, although it will take a little extra time. In the end, it will be worth it.
In today’s world we keep so much of our lives on our computers. It baffles me that more people don’t actively try to protect their sensitive data. By formulating a plan and sticking with it, then you can keep your data and personal information safe along with helping your computer run in the best shape possible for years to come.
About the author
Matt is an IT professional with over fifteen years experience supporting network infrastructure and computers. An avid gamer, Matt enjoys his time playing and writing about his experiences both in the IT world and in the gaming communities. You can find more of his writing for LaptopNinja where he enjoys talking about everything tech.