Monday, May 18, 2009

A comment on McAfee

Right now McAfee is running a full system scan on my computer. Not only is it consuming a large amount of system resources - sometimes to the point of the system being unusable because of having to wait for some file operation to complete - there is also the following interesting 'feature'. Let's assume a full system scan is running. That seems to make sense since there are many different ways how viruses can find their way onto your computer. So that system scan is running, and you know that it will take an hour or more to complete. You have downloaded a file that you'd like to scan for viruses before you use it. Can you do that? Nope, not with the McAfee version I am currently using. It will display a dialog box telling me a different scan is running and that I have to cancel that one first before I can start a different one. My options are:
  1. Wait until McAfee has finished scanning my system.
  2. Cancel the system scan so I can scan the downloaded file
Option one makes me less productive. Option two has a potential security issue. None of the options meets my requirements. How about being able to explicitly scan files, e.g. from the context menu in the file explorer, regardless of whether other scans are running? I'll check whether other virus scanners work the same way or whether they behave differently. (Before someone asks: Automatic updates to keep McAfee up-to-date are enabled.)


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