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Tips to Speed Up Your Antivirus Scan

Shashank is the Co-Founder of Technolicious, where he is currently the Co-Editor and Graphic & Web Designer.

Speed up your AV ScanAntivirus scans often tend to take hours to finish and in the process slow the computer considerably. Out of frustration, people disable anti-virus software or skip the scanning. This is definitely not a good idea. Instead, by following the below mentioned steps not only can we keep the computer protected but also reduce the scanning time considerably.




Tip 1: Exclude File Types


The quickest way to reduce the scan time is to instruct your antivirus to ignore certain types of files you feel are safe. You can do this by excluding certain file extensions from the scan. Whenever the antivirus will encounter these extensions during the scan it will simply ignore them and move on.


We have compiled a basic list of extensions which we feel you can safely exclude:


Image File Types .jpg; .bmp; .jpeg; .png; .gif; .pdf 
Document Formats .doc; .docx; .pdf; .ppt; .xls; .ppt; .pptx; .xlsx
Audio File Types .mp3; .ogg; .wma
Video File Types .avi; .mp4; .mkv


This is just a basic list to get you started. You can add many other file extensions which you use regularly. This method might seem to be a little insecure but the chances of finding viruses in these files are very slim, and even in the extreme cases, you can always delete the exclusions and run a full system scan. And the results are significant. You will notice that as soon as the antivirus program starts skipping your video and music files, your scan will take considerably less time.


To exclude these extensions in Microsoft Security Essentials (Same applies for other antivirus programs as well) follow these steps:


Step 1: Open Microsoft Security Essentials and click on the Settings tab.


MSE - Exclude File Extensions


Step 2: Click on Exclude File Types and get started by just typing the extensions and pressing ‘Enter’ (You can also copy and paste the list we have provided above and it will recognize each extension as separate).


For other antivirus programs similar options exist. Try searching in ‘Settings’ or ‘Options’. You may have to switch to the Advanced View in some cases. Or just comment if you want us to cover a specific antivirus program and we’ll be happy to do so.


Tip 2: Exclude File Locations


You can also opt for the the Antivirus program skipping folders and file locations.

If you are a little reluctant regarding excluding file types you can always exclude folders like My Music, My Videos, My Pictures etc. and other such locations which are unlikely to be harbouring viruses.


Also you can exclude folders of bigger programs like Adobe Photoshop which run into thousands of MBs. These locations especially if located in separate drives are relatively secure and by skipping them you can surely cut down on a lot of scan time. Also just to be extra cautious you can scan these specific folder probably once in 3 months or so.


The method to exclude folders and file locations is similar to the one for excluding file types as shown above. Just select Exclude File Locations instead of Exclude File Types.


Tip 3: Stop scanning of email databases (Discretionary)


This method is a little extreme. It will definitely help those who use Web-based mail service providers like GMail and Hotmail. These email providers have their own inbuilt security scans and rescanning every mail you receive in your Desktop based clients is redundant. But for people who use other email providers, or use company mail services this method is not advisable.


Let us know if you tried any of the steps and if they worked. Also comment with any other tips which you have and we will be glad to feature them as well.


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