I just had a computer crash. The so-called blue screen of death. My
technician found it was a simple problem: software conflicts. When asked to
explain, he said, “You have Kaspersky. You don’t need all of those other
things.” He took the following off my computer: Spybot, Malwarebytes, McAfee,
etc. I believe you had said that the Malware program was compatible. Did I
misunderstand? I use Windows XP and I was installing a wireless adapter.
In this excerpt from
Answercast #83, I look at the dreaded blue screen of death caused by
conflicting anti-malware programs.
Several anti-malware programs
Well, you misunderstood, probably.
You know… Malwarebytes.org’s tool is in fact compatible with most things. If I had to pick a specific compatibility issue from what you’ve listed, it would probably be Kaspersky and McAfee together.
Conflicting virus and spyware tools
Here’s the issue. Most of these anti-malware tools install something that’s called “real-time scanning.”
That means that while you’re using your computer, the software is actively looking at what you’re doing (the files you’re manipulating – the things that are coming and going on the internet) and checking them to make sure that there’s no malware in those files.
Having one program do that is perfect. Having two programs trying to do that at exactly the same time?
That’s what we talk about with real-time scanning; they’re trying to do it as you’re using the computer. If more than one program is trying to do all this monitoring while you’re using your computer, they can conflict.
In the worst case, it can conflict in the way that you’ve just described. You can in fact get a blue screen, particularly under Windows XP.
Limit real-time scans
The real way to use most of these programs is to have one good base software installed.
Kaspersky? That’s a fine one. I happen to recommend Microsoft Security Essentials – that’s another one. Have it installed and have it configured to do all of the real-time scanning you need.
Other programs can still be installed (Malwarebytes being one of them) as long as you don’t have their real-time scanning enabled. In other words, they sit there, but they’re not running.
Scheduled scans and problem shooting
Now, why would you have them installed if you’re not running them?
Well, two reasons: one, you can have them run a scheduled scan – a scheduled scan is not the same as a real-time scan.
A real-time scan is happening all the time, monitoring what you’re doing. A scheduled scan does nothing more than periodically take a look at the files on your disk.
That isn’t likely to conflict with the real-time scanner and;
- It happens in isolation. It happens at that specific time, not all the time.
Malwarebytes will do that. Most of the other utilities will do that.
The other reason to have a software package like Malwarebytes installed, but not necessarily monitoring in real-time is because you might need it.
In other words, Malwarebytes is one of those tools that we often recommend and say, “You know what? I’ve got malware. My regular program didn’t clean it up, isn’t catching it. What can I do?”
Malwarebytes is really good at catching some of the things that some of the other utilities don’t.
So, that’s what it boils down to… having too many anti-malware programs all trying to scan in real-time as you’re working with your computer is a situation that will lead to conflicts. Those kinds of conflicts can result in the dreaded blue screen of death.
(Transcript lightly edited for readability.)
Next from Answercast 83 – How do I make links in documents attached to email clickable