How to Speed Up Your Next Virus Scan

Depending on how much data is on your drive(s) and how old your computer is, running a deep virus scan can take between "Zzzzz" and "forever". But over the years, we've learned a few tricks to help speed up the process of scanning for viruses...

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It's happened to almost everyone: you start up a virus scan and let it run during the night, only to discover the next morning that it's not yet completed and you need to use your computer. The only option is to pause it and leave your computer at risk.

1. Restart Your Machine: This is one of the easiest ways of speeding up a virus scan. Rebooting your computer will make it a lot faster, sometimes even insanely so. Scans can drop from a few hours down to 15 or 30 minutes.

2. Run at Night: The best time to run a deep virus scan is in the middle of the week, when you won't be using your computer. We schedule ours at 2AM early in the week and usually it finishes the next morning.

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3. Pause and Resume: If your scan is still taking too much time, you always have the option of pausing it and resuming it at a later date. All virus scanners allow you to do this. A typical scenario would involve you starting the scan before going to bed, after having restarted your computer. Then, if you see that the scan is still running in the morning, pause it while you work on your computer. When you leave for work, start it up again. Usually by the time you get back, it's done.

4. Close All Apps: When you run your virus scan, you've probably noticed a slowdown with everything on your computer. It's good to close all apps, save all documents, and let the scan run its course.

5. Select Different Scan Level: We like to run deep scans to ensure that there are no viruses on our machines, but if you don't need this, you can always select a light, fast scan option. This will speed up your scanning time significantly.

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(Images: Flickr member Neoflox licensed for use under Creative Commons, Flickr member CJSmith licensed for use under Creative Commonsand Flickr member Chrisaut licensed for use under Creative Commons)

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