SOURCE: Bruce Boyers Marketing Services

August 26, 2009 16:26 ET

Defrag and the Slow Virus Scan

BURBANK, CA--(Marketwire - August 26, 2009) - You may have noticed that a virus scan can take awhile to run through a computer's files, and that it utilizes considerable resources while it is doing so. There is a factor that can make a virus scan take many times longer than it should to get through an entire drive or set of drives -- and in order for virus scans to be completed efficiently, this factor must be thoroughly addressed.

It helps to understand how a virus scan works. When a virus scan is performed, the software is reading each file on a computer and searching for known virus "signatures." A signature is a unique string of bits, or the binary pattern, of a virus, and is like a fingerprint that can be used to detect and identify specific viruses.

Let us compare virus scanning to good old fashioned detective work. Let's say a detective has been given a set of fingerprints from a recent burglary, and must search through numerous case files to see if fingerprints from those files match those from the burglary. She must open and examine each file, comparing fingerprints from suspects in the files to those just taken from the scene.

But what if those files are split up into parts, that are distributed randomly all about the police station? What if the detective has to go to several rooms just to examine all the parts of one file to make this comparison? You can imagine how much longer it would take to get one comparison done, let alone all of them. And don't even mention the wear and tear on this poor detective's feet as she runs all over the place trying to complete this job in some kind of timely manner.

It's a very similar situation when a virus scan must be performed on a drive or drives suffering from file fragmentation. While the anti-virus software is searching, each fragment of each file must be read and checked for virus signatures. When a file is split into thousands or tens of thousands of fragments (not at all uncommon), you can just imagine the incredible amount of time and resources that must be taken up to get an entire virus scan done.

If drives are kept fully defragmented, however, this will not be a problem. The anti-virus solution can simply scan a file, then move onto the next file, instead of having to perform all the extra work. Not only is considerable time saved, the additional wear and tear on the drive from the multiple reads is also completely eliminated.

Today, the only way to keep drives consistently defragmented is with a fully automatic defrag solution, one that works in the background to invisibly and always eliminate fragmentation. There is never a need for scheduling, and never a negative performance impact from defrag.

With files constantly kept in a non-fragmented state, virus scans are performed as quickly as can possibly be done.

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