Difference Between QuickScan, SmartScan and FullScan in AntiVirus Program

March 17, 2010 | Filed under Security


In every security software such as antivirus and antispyware that scans for virus and malware, you will notice that there are a few modes to scan your computer and they are quick, smart and full scan. Sometimes you would also find custom or object scan as well. You might wonder which scan mode is the best to use to keep your computer clean from malware.

quickscan vs fullscan vs customscan

Quick scan and smart scan is actually the same. This method of scanning only scans the important area where the virus or malware usually resides in. Virus needs a place where they can auto run when Windows is booted up and they are usually installed in important location such as Windows or the system32 folder. Quick or smart scan takes very little time to complete the scan and it is not thorough.

As for full scan, it scans every single file and also registry entries for any suspicious file that matches the virus signature or by heuristic detection. It takes a lot more time to complete the scan compared to quickscan if you have a lot of files on your computer.

Custom or object scan is a scan mode where you can normally select which folder you want your antivirus to scan. This option is seldom used because a user can normally right click on a folder and select scan from the context menu which is easier compare to running the antivirus program and selecting the folder to scan from there.

Based on our experience, antivirus program are getting smarter and they are starting to implement a very useful feature where it recognizes the files that were scanned before and will not scan again if they are not changed or modified. This method tremendously improves the time takes to complete a full scan. Not all antivirus has this feature and you can know if they have such feature by comparing the first full scan and the second full scan. The the time taken to complete the first and second full scan is nearly the same, then the antivirus does not have the file recognition feature. However if the second full scan finishes very quickly, then your antivirus program recognizes files that has scanned before and skips from being scanned again.

If you are using an antivirus that takes a very long time to complete a full scan all the time, you might either consider switching your antivirus to a different brand or schedule your computer to perform a full scan at times when you are mostly not using the computer.

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!