How Often Should You Scan Your PC With Antivirus Software?

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One of the most frequently asked questions we get here at Top 10 Antivirus is, “how often should I scan my computer with an antivirus program?” While there is no simple, one word answer to this question, there are some guidelines you should follow.

For example, you should always run an antivirus scanner if your PC suddenly starts to experience performance issues. If it starts to crash or slowdown while performing normal tasks that it has never before had trouble with, then you may have a virus.

Or, if you’ve been seeing a lot of strange error messages lately, and there are a number of funny looking security alerts popping up on your system, then this could also be the early signs of a virus, in which case you need to scan your computer immediately with a good antivirus program.

The most important thing to know about these security alerts is that they could be fraudulent warnings created by the virus itself: while the alerts might look like they’re from Windows, they’re actually designed to lure users into buying a separate security program entirely. After buying this program, your computer might not even be fixed of its problems, and the virus might force you to subscribe to a program’s expensive updates in order to be fully protected.

You may also notice warning signs like the infamous Google redirect virus, which redirects your Google search results to malicious websites. If you’ve noticed that Google – or any other website for that matter – has been acting strange lately, then you should definitely scan your computer with antivirus software.

For regular scans

If your computer has been performing normally, and has not been displaying any weird error messages or having performance issues, then you should still scan your system periodically with an antivirus program. Shoot for a target scan rate of once per week. You may even be able to set your program to do this automatically.

Many programs also offer users the choice between a full scan or essential scan. Which one should you choose? Well, the main difference between these two scans is their thoroughness: if you want to be completely sure that your PC is virus-free, then you should perform a full scan. This will take longer, but it will help put your mind at ease – particularly if your computer has already started to experience issues.

Meanwhile, an essential scan will look at the most important parts of your PC for viruses, malware, and other problems. If you don’t have time to perform a full scan, and simply want to check if the vital parts of your PC are malware-free, then this is the best option for you. Just because the scan is called ‘essentials’ doesn’t mean that it isn’t thorough: often, these scans will look at your operating system files, downloads, documents, and program files, among other things, which are some of the most common places where viruses are found.

The bottom line

Ultimately, the best way to set your antivirus program is to perform a full scan once a week, preferably during a time when nobody else is using the computer (like during the middle of the night). This will keep your computer clean, healthy, and fast with as little maintenance as possible, which is something that every good antivirus program should be able to do.

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