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Thread: Antivirus / Antispyware Scan Times

  1. #1
    bannor Guest

    Default Antivirus / Antispyware Scan Times

    This is not so much a personal problem, as a general question I would like to put up for discussion. I want to make it quite clear that this is NOT a complaint about Zone Labs software. Searches for 'scan times' and 'large drive' did not yield the information I am looking for.

    My question is this: Computer hard drives are getting bigger and bigger, and the price per Gb is falling too. When I assembled my PC it had a 160Gb hard drive. I recently added a second hard drive - 1Tb. As time goes by it will fill with data - data that will require scanning for malware. Obviously the more data to be scanned, the longer the scan is likely to take. I would start a scan on my 160 Gb drive in the evening, let it run all night, and by morning or so it would be done (that's a FULL, in-depth scan - ALL files). This suited me fine - while I slept, my PC scanned. I would do this once per week. However, when my 1Tb drive gets full it will likely take a day (or even longer) to scan it all - a day during which my PC will be painfully slow at doing anything else while the scan is in progress.

    What can be done to make the scans take less time?

    1) Not do a 'full' scan - select only certain file-types. I'm not sure I want to limit the scans in this way. What we thought was completely safe yesterday, proves to be risky today. New types of infections are being designed every day. I don't think there is any guarantee that a certain type of file will ALWAYS be safe - that it is REALLY un-infectable / impossible to be made malicious. Heck, even a .jpeg can apparently be hazardous! Also one can select to only scan files of less than a certain size. I don't think the average virus is too fussy about the size of the file it infects, so again, I'm not completely happy with this suggestion.

    2) Increase the scan priority. This should help, but even if my entire PC is 100% occupied with the scan, it's still going to take a VERY long time. And drives will get even bigger in the future.

    3) Decrease the scan priority. While this will make the scan take even longer, it may at least allow me to use the PC while it is busy scanning. But what happens when drives get so big that a scan at reduced priority takes so long, by the time it's finished, it's almost time to start the next scan?

    4) Each scan, create and maintain an index of all files scanned. Subsequent scans should ONLY scan new files, or files that have been modified since the previous scan. I would have thought that ZAISS did this already, but my experience with ZAISS scan-times on my PC would indicate that this is not the case - scan times did not decrease significantly (actually, they didn't seem to decrease at all on my PC - YMMV).

    5) Not bother with scanning at all, and hope for the best. I like my data too much to risk it in this way!

    6) Burn all my data to DVD; if the files are not infected when they are written, they will remain uninfected on the DVD. I would need about 200 or more DVDs (I have a standard DVD writer, not a Blue-Ray or anything). But, besides the time required to do this, it's just not really economically as viable as it used to be - new hard drives are cheap! And 200 DVDs take up far more physical space than a hard drive. And there is the problem of finding the DVD that contains the data you happen to want at any particular time. To me, it's just easier (not to mention more convenient) to get another hard drive and use it to store data. Which brings us back to the scanning question....

    So, what have I got wrong / missed? There must be something (actually, there are probably several things)! Those of you with large drives, how do you go about scanning your data? What can we as users do to reduce the time involved, while not sacrificing the security / integrity of our data? What is being done by Zone Labs?

    I'm very interested in reading your responses!

    Bannor

    Operating System:
    Windows XP Pro
    Software Version:
    7.0
    Product Name:
    ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite

    Message Edited by Bannor on 12-04-2008 09:27 PM

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Antivirus / Antispyware Scan Times

    HI!once you have done a deep scan, set the ZA scanner to NORMAL, this will skip most non executable and compressedfiles and will allow faster scan with still maximum security if you have kept ZA active and updated.Use ForceField to isolate your browser, the main route for drive-by-download infection and scan your system only every month in NORMAL mode and may be every 3months in full mode.Cheers,Fax

    Message Edited by fax on 12-04-2008 08:00 PM

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  3. #3
    geofizzell Guest

    Default Re: Antivirus / Antispyware Scan Times

    Hi Bannor,
    Why not use your smaller drive to run the scan and then download to the larger drive using a free program like Microsoft SyncToy? That way your more likely to catch any infections before they get transfered.
    I experienced having a virus program on a CD so yes they can get there too. Once a month run a scan on the larger drive.
    Is this
    1TB drive set up as a slave drive?
    Try to keep the data on the 160GB until it is scanned.

  4. #4
    bannor Guest

    Default Re: Antivirus / Antispyware Scan Times

    Hi, thanks for the feedback!
    Both you and Geofizzel have suggested scanning less often than I do now - once per month or so, instead of once per week. Is once per week really too often? For sure scanning once per month instead will be more convenient - as long as I don't risk losing data between scans! That could be
    very INconvenient! A virus could do a LOT of damage in a month!
    You mentioned that scanning in 'Normal' mode does NOT scan compressed files. I assume that includes 'zipped' files? Much of the data I download and work with is inside zipped archives - if it is not scanned during a normal scan, how is my data and system being protected? Should I just hope that the on-access scan catches anything nasty before it has a chance to do anything nasty? I kind of don't like surprises - especially when they are unpleasant surprises! On the whole I'd prefer to know I had a virus BEFORE I try to open an infected file. That's an advantage of running a scan - you don't have to wait until you open a file before finding out it's infected. You have time to decide what to try to do about it.
    Maybe get help from the internet. If it is a program you wanted to use, you have time to find alternatives. When you open a file and then find out it's infected, you have 2 problems to solve: the virus, and the work you originally wanted to open the file to do, but now cannot. Not good!
    Also
    - I have on-access scannning activated and updated (every 6 hours or so), is there really a need to perform system scans at all (apart, perhaps, from one deep initial scan)? Even for the above-mentioned archives? And if the on-access scan is so reliable, why is there even a manual scan facility built-in to ZAISS? Probably I'm missing something here - could you please fill me in?
    In the meantime, I will see if I can't run a few scans in the next few weeks in normal mode instead of deep, and compare the time this takes - both to deep scans and for normal scans in general.
    Thanks for your help and suggestions!
    Bannor

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Antivirus / Antispyware Scan Times


    <BLOCKQUOTE><HR>Bannor wrote:
    Hi, thanks for the feedback!You mentioned that scanning in 'Normal' mode does NOT scan compressed files. I assume that includes 'zipped' files? Much of the data I download and work with is inside zipped archives - if it is not scanned during a normal scan, how is my data and system being protected? Should I just hope that the on-access scan catches anything nasty before it has a chance to do anything nasty?
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>You're welcome!Your system is constantly protected by the 'on access' scanning. ZIP files cannot infect your system and if you want extra protection just scan the ZIP after download (right click of the mouse). On access will block the virus and ZA OS firewall will protect your system from changes. You are perfectly protected. Of course, as always, common sense also applies here. If you download compressed files from unknown sources you should always scan them before opening them.IMO, running a scan of all HD just for scanning some ZIP files is not efficient nor effective.

    <BLOCKQUOTE><HR>Both you and Geofizzel have suggested scanning less often than I do now - once per month or so, instead of once per week. Is once per week really too often? For sure scanning once per month instead will be more convenient - as long as I don't risk losing data between scans! That could bevery INconvenient! A virus could do a LOT of damage in a month!<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>If you keep ZA always updated and active a scan once per 1-3 months is more than enough.You can always backup your essential data more often.
    <BLOCKQUOTE><HR>Bannor wrote:
    Also- I have on-access scannning activated and updated (every 6 hours or so), is there really a need to perform system scans at all (apart, perhaps, from one deep initial scan)?
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>You should reduce the time of updating to 1 (one) hour to ensure maximum security and check questionable archives always with the right click.Hope this helps.Cheers,Fax


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  6. #6
    bannor Guest

    Default Re: Antivirus / Antispyware Scan Times

    Hi, thanks again for the reply and information!
    I have decided to reorganise the way I work; I will download to 1 folder before sorting through the downloads and moving them to other folders. Before moving anything I will scan the download folder. I will scan my PC once per month. This should keep me covered (I hope!)
    What type of scan is done by right-clicking (on a folder, for example)? Does it use the currently-saved
    scanning options for this (the same options as the scheduled scan), or is a deep scan ALWAYS done? Are both anti-virus AND anti-spyware scans done? If both are done, with all scanning options active, it will make me feel much better about scheduling a system scan only once per month with 'light' options.... But it sure will take less time!
    Bannor

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Antivirus / Antispyware Scan Times


    <BLOCKQUOTE><HR>Bannor wrote:
    Are both anti-virus AND anti-spyware scans done? If both are done, with all scanning options active, it will make me feel much better <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    Hi!yes, right click will scan for both virus and spyware with the Kaspersky engine.Cheers,Fax

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