Avast 2016: Scanning your computer for viruses

How to scan your computer for viruses

Refer to the following sections for details about virus scans:

Types of Scans

In addition to the active protection of the Web Shield, File Shield and Mail Shield, Avast Antivirus 2016 comes with several on-demand virus scans. You can also create a new scan with parameters you choose.

By default, the following virus scans are included in Avast 2016:

  • Quick scan - Performs a scan of the areas on your computer most susceptible to malware infection.The entire drive where system files are stored, as well as rootkits and auto-start programs are scanned. Files are checked based on their extensions.
  • Full System Scan - Performs an in-depth scan of the system (thorough but slower). All harddisks, rootkits, and auto-start programs are checked. All files are scanned according to their content.
  • Removable Media Scan - Scans all removable media that is currently attached to the computer (e.g. USB flash drives, external hard drives).
  • Select folder to scan - Performs a full scan of a custom folder (to be selected when the scan is started). Scan only a specific folder or multiple folders.
  • Boot-time scan - Performs a scan at bootup to detect and remove viruses which are hard to reach after start up. System drive and all auto-start programs are scanned, and all archive files found are unpacked. After clicking the Start button, the scan is scheduled to run automatically the next time your system is restarted.

Run a scan

First open the Avast user interface by double-clicking the icon on your desktop... ...or right-click the Avast icon in your system tray and select Open Avast user interface.

  1. Go to Scan → Scan for viruses.
  2. On the Scan screen select a scan from the drop-down menu and click Start. All scans begin immediately except for boot-time scan, which begins at the next system restart.
  3. After scanning is complete a notification appears with the result. If a threat was detected, click Show results to view any actions taken automatically according to scan settings, or take action manually on any threats found. You can also access scan reports by clicking View history at the bottom of the scan screen.

Read more about processing scan results below.

Schedule a scan

You can set a scan to run Once at a specified time and date, or schedule it to run regularly - Daily, Weekly or Monthly.

  1. In the Avast user interface, go to Scan → Scan for viruses.
  2. Select a scan from the drop-down menu, then click Scan Settings on the bottom of the screen.
  3. Go to Scheduling and tick the box Schedule this scan. Then specify frequency, day, and time.
  4. Click OK to save.
  • For the scan to run at the scheduled time, the computer must be running. Settings on the Scheduling screen determine whether or not the scan runs when the computer is in sleep mode or running on batteries.
  • Launch time is defined in 24-hour format (e.g., 3:00pm is entered as 15:00).
  • Unlike the other scans, Boot-time scan cannot be scheduled to run regularly. To schedule Boot-time scan to run at the next system restart, select it from the Scan list and click Start.For more details about running and scheduling a boot-time scan, please read the following article:

Create a custom scan

Generally it is not recommended to change the scan settings for default scans. Instead you can create a new Custom Scan and define all the parameters.

  1. Go to Scan → Scan for viruses and at the bottom of the screen select Create a custom scan.
  2. In Scan Name enter a unique name for the scan.
  3. When you are finished, click OK. The new scan appears in the drop-down menu at the top of the screen. If a custom scan is not needed anymore, select it from the Scan list and click Delete scan next to its name.

Process scan results

The following options are available from a drop-down menu in the Action column:
  • Fix automatically - Runs a sequence of actions (repair file; if not possible, then move to virus chest; if not possible, then delete).
  • Move to chest (recommended) - Sends the threat to the virus chest where it cannot harm your system.
  • Repair - Removes only malicious code attached to an otherwise safe file; this not possible for files which are entirely malware.
  • Delete - Permanently removes the file from your computer.
  • No action - Avast does nothing to the file.
  1. To apply the same action to all files, select the required action from the list in the Action column.
  2. Click Apply to carry out selected actions. The completed action is shown in the result column.

You can access this report later by clicking Scan History, selecting the scan, and clicking Detailed report.

Special cases

Sometimes the Results column shows you that a file could not be scanned, for example: a password-protected file, or a corrupted archive file, or it may show that something suspicious was detected in a memory file. This does not necessarily mean the file is infected.

  • Archive file is password protected - Some programs use password-protected archives to store their data even if you did not set the password. The content of the archive cannot be scanned however the "wrapper" file is scanned.
  • Archive file is corrupted - A file can be corrupted when its download was interrupted; or it is special type of archive that Avast cannot open but the "wrapper" file is scanned.
  • Memory detections - A detection in process x, memory block y, block size z means that a virus signature was found in the system memory but not in a file. The reported Process ID is followed by the name of the process file, to help identify the specific application.

    When a memory detection is reported we recommend to run a Boot-time scan. If nothing is detected on the disk during the boot-time scan, the memory detection was probably caused by running another security program.

Adjust scan settings

Generally it is not recommended to change the scan settings for default scans. Instead you can create a new Custom Scan and define all the parameters. However in some cases you may need to access scan settings. For example if you want to set an exclusion.

  1. In the Avast user interface, go to Scan → Scan for viruses
  2. Select a scan in the drop-down menu. Click Scan Settings on the bottom of the screen.
  3. You can view and customize the parameters and settings for the selected scan in the tabs on the left.
  4. To set an exception, select the Exclusions tab on the left and enter or browse for file locations to be excluded from scanning.

For more details about scan settings, please read the following article:

  • Avast Premier 2016
  • Avast Internet Security 2016
  • Avast Pro Antivirus 2016
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  • Microsoft Windows 10 Home / Pro / Enterprise / Education
  • Microsoft Windows 8.1 / Pro / Enterprise
  • Microsoft Windows 8 / Pro / Enterprise
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Home Basic / Home Premium / Professional / Enterprise / Ultimate
  • Microsoft Windows Vista Home Basic / Home Premium / Business / Enterprise / Ultimate
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home / Professional / Media Center Edition

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