Hi, Leo. This is a more general question. I’m trying to ensure that I don’t
create a problem on my computer. I’m using Windows 7 Home Premium and I have
scanning software programs including AVG 2011 Scanner – Malwarebytes – Spybot –
Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool and Paretologic P.C. Health Advisor.
Rather than waiting to use these one at a time, is it OK to run four or five of
these scans at the same time?
I definitely do find that some of these find items that the other scans
did not, so running just a couple of scanners does not seem to suffice.
What is found seems to be tracking cookies, not anything particularly dangerous
but in the case of a virus, I do want to carry out these scans fairly regularly.
If I can run all of these scanners at the same time, it would be very
Also should I clean or delete any items found at the end of the scan or not
until all of the scans are complete? I wonder if I would compromise anything if
I deleted something that was being scanned by another scanning process. Sorry
about the lack of correct computer terminology, Leo. I’m a novice in computing.
Thanks very much for your help.
In this excerpt from
Answercast #20, I look at the issue of running several scanning programs for
different problems, such as virus, spyware, and malicious software, at the same
time. What is overkill?
Multiple malware programs
I tend to avoid simultaneously scans if at all possible.
Now, one of the things that you’ve noted here is that some programs are finding things that other programs are not. Given the list of programs that you have installed, that’s totally expected because they are not checking for the same thing.
You do not have five anti-virus scanners for example. You have one.
You do not have five anti-spyware scanners. You have one.
Malwarebytes kind of straddles the two, but fundamentally, it’s really both and neither. The Malicious Software Removal tool is not really the same kind of a thing as your anti-virus and anti-spyware tools.
In reality, each of the five different things that you’ve got running there are mostly scanning for and looking for different things. I would absolutely expect to find different results.
I would absolutely expect tracking cookies to be one of the biggest areas of additional reports by some tools as compared to others… because there’s no agreement on just whether or not tracking cookies are a serious threat or totally benign. I tend to think of them as totally benign, but I know that there are spyware tools that will report them.
Now, when I say that you’ve got five tools running five different scans, there is definitely overlap. Malwarebytes will certainly find some things that nobody else does, but Spybot, for example, will probably find a few things that Malwarebytes does so I’m not terribly concerned about the fact that you’ve got five different things. It does feel like overkill.
I would definitely not run five scans simultaneously.
I think you are asking for trouble in those cases where the tools might overlap.
When to delete
When something reports a problem, whether or not to clean or delete it really depends on the specific problem:
- If it’s a virus that’s being reported then absolutely, clean or delete it.
- If it’s malicious software that’s being reported, absolutely clean or delete it.
But if it’s cookies, if it’s tracking cookies, like I said, I don’t see them being such a huge problem. I know many people get quite paranoid about their activities being tracked on the internet. I just don’t think that I’m that interesting to the world and I really don’t care if there are tracking cookies on my machine.
That’s a case where you need to make a decision for yourself. Since, by definition, we’re not going to run multiple scans simultaneously, then the whole issue of deleting something while it’s being scanned doesn’t pop up as an issue.
What tools to use
In your case, I definitely understand wanting to stay safe.
I would probably remove the Paretologic Tool and maybe the Malicious Software tool from your scanning. In fact, I would probably also remove the automated scans by Malwarebytes.
My approach typically is to have a good anti-virus tool (AVG qualifies), a good anti-spyware (Spybot qualifies), and then have additional tools that I might use for further diagnosis only if I, for some reason, feel the need.
If there’s a need
Malwarebytes is what I reach for first, in a case like that. The Malicious Software Removal tool, I believe, will run once a month on its own anyway. You don’t have to do anything about that.
To be honest, I’m not totally sure of exactly how deep Paretologic Tool scans or exactly what it scans. It’s not something I’ve ever felt the need to recommend: that people go out, get, and add whatever it does to the mix.
Virus and Spyware scans
So I do think you’re probably scanning a little bit too much. I would not scan all five things at the same time.
And, I think your terminology is fine. It definitely got the point across!