Running More Than One AV Is A Lurking Conflict

malware 5We get a lot of questions here on Tech Thoughts, and the following question (in one form or another), is a regular – “If I have one antimalware can I install and use another one as well?”

If the question is, can you install and run two antimalware applications concurrently (both of which perform the same task), the answer is – not without the potential for conflict.

As a rule of thumb, it’s not a good practice to run two antimalware applications (both of which perform the same task), concurrently. At the very least, system resources take an inappropriate, and wasteful hit. Beyond that, serious issues, including system crashes are possible.

It’s always a good idea of course to scan your machine with a second antimalware application, say once a week or so, since depending on a single security applications to provide broad scale protection, is an absolute “non-starter”. A single security applications does not, and never has had the ability to do this, despite the commonly help belief to the contrary.

Part of the layered security  process (stacking security solutions, one on top of the other, to cover the gaps that exist in the protection capabilities of even the most sophisticated security applications), consists of supplementing the primary AV application with an on-demand malware application. So yes, go ahead and install another AV solution; but use it as a secondary on demand scanner.

Just to be clear – don’t run both programs both programs concurrently. That is, don’t allow both programs to start on Windows startup. Instead, launch the “on demand” scanner from the program menu, or the desktop, when needed.

Two free highly recommended antimalware applications that excel as “on demand” antimalware applications, follow. It’s important to note, that the real time protection module is disabled in the free versions of these applications. But, this is actually perfect for your purpose.

SUPERAntiSpyware Free:


I’ve been using SUPERAntiSpyware as a secondary scanner for years, and I have no hesitation in stating that this application deserves its reputation as a first class security application.

SUPERAntiSpyware is fast, efficient, and effective, and I highly recommend that you add it to your security toolbox, as a secondary line of defense.

Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware:


Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware has an excellent reputation (shared by me), as a first class security application, for its ability to identify and remove adware, Trojans, key-loggers, home page hijackers, and other malware threats.

A simple, intuitive, and easy to use interface, makes Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware straightforward to setup, customize and run, for both less experienced and expert users alike.

Note: Virtually all free security applications are programmed to autostart after installation, so be aware of this, and make the necessary adjustments using MSConfig. New users may find it easier to use Advanced System Care to control autostart behavior with the Startup Manager, which can be found under Admin Tools.

Note: Each day, as I manually update the definition database for these applications, I’ve noticed that typically, the definition databases have been updated 3/5 times in the previous 24 hours.

Since study after study indicate that new malware is created at the rate of 20,000, or more, new versions every day, be sure to manually update the definition databases before running a scan with either of these applications.

We’re not quite finished yet.

If the question you’re really asking is – can you run an online antimalware scanner while your principal onboard AV application is running? The answer is – yes.

Here are some Online scanners that have developed a good reputation for accuracy; be sure to read the Terms of Use or Privacy Statements carefully, and be aware, that not all Online scanners will disinfect.

Panda NanoScan

McAfee FreeScan

Symantec Security Check

Trend Micro’s HouseCall

ESET Online Scanner

Kaspersky Online Scanner

Now that I’ve given you the “rule of thumb” – let me break it!

There is one class of antimalware application that can run currently with your principal AV, and that is – a cloud based security application. Specifically, those that are designed to be “companion” security applications.

A terrific free application in this class of security applications, and the one I use personally is – Immunet Protect.

Immunet provides cloud-based protection that is always up-to-date against viruses, spyware, bots, worms, Trojans, and keyloggers without slowing down your PC. No need to download any virus signature files.

Immunet Protect is compatible with existing antivirus products and adds an extra, lightweight layer of protection, for free

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Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Cloud Computing Applications, cybercrime, downloads, Free Anti-malware Software, Freeware, Immunet Protect, Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware, Software, Spyware - Adware Protection, SUPERAntiSpyWare, System Security, Windows Tips and Tools

14 responses to “Running More Than One AV Is A Lurking Conflict

  1. MrLokiNight

    Hi Bill ~ The below on-board combo ~ running simultaneously ~ works well on my XP Pro laptops [BTW I’m not disagreeing with what you write above ~ my two security progs are obviously different beasts.]

    1] Avira AntiVir Personal – Free Antivirus

    2] ThreatFire AntiVirus Free Edition

    “ThreatFire does not rely on signatures, but instead provides behaviour-based protection. It is designed to be used alongside your existing antivirus software and it fills the gap in protection between your antivirus signature updates.”

    In addition I paid attention to your top-notch advice from a few months ago & I have MBAM & SAS installed solely for ‘on demand’ use. I run both monthly in ‘Bootsafe’ mode (minimum drivers loaded to run Windows) after updating versions/definitions



    • Hi Michael,

      I’m glad you mentioned this – it’s an excellent point. ThreatFire is another “companion” security application which should be on every users machine. Personally, I wouldn’t be without it.



  2. Bill,

    I have been using Immunet Protect in tandem with my other layers of protection, ever since you sold me on it here at Tech Thoughts. It is very resource friendly and you will not even know it is there.

    Great article and great advice!


    • Hey Rick,

      OK, if you’re in a buying mood, I have this terrific bridge in Brooklyn you might be interested in. 🙂

      Kidding aside, you’re right – Immunet Protect is a worthwhile addition to a layered defense. And, as you point out, it’s easy on system resources.

      Good to see you drop in. Trust all is well in the near South.



  3. Mal

    Great advice Bill.
    I’m glad you mentioned that not one security product can protect against everything. New/casual users are usually duped into thinking that one product will be enough. It doesn’t help that companies who make these products make the claim that their’s is a superior product and will catch all malware. Rubbish of course, as we all know.
    Good article.

    • Hey Mal.

      Your comment, as usual, cuts to the heart of the matter – “It doesn’t help that companies who make these products make the claim that their’s is a superior product and will catch all malware.”

      The other day I was testing a new AV, and at the end of the scan it advised me that my machine was “in danger” because it had found 2 tracking cookies. Since I still had Firefox up and running, and so hadn’t yet deleted the cookies with Better Privacy, I declined removal of the cookies. The AV made no bones about my machine still being “in danger”, when I didn’t delete these text cookies.

      I would have laughed at this except for the fact, that this sort of over the top warning deludes typical users into believing exaggerated claims for the effectiveness of AVs.



  4. Michael Cole

    Hi Bill:

    Couple other first rate apps. I’m sure you run are virus total and WinPatrol. I also run Immunet, since version 1. Just ran a scan the other day with new House Call version 7.2. Immunet flagged 7 files as bad. All false positives. To make certain checked Virus Total & Jotti. Just shows this security thing is far far from perfected. Never had a false positive from Microsoft Sec. Essentials. Am also running Linux Mint 10 Julia. Love it. Don’t understand the comments I have read on your blog about Linux. I’m no teckkie, simple, easy and pretty much immune to malware

    Another Great Article


    • Hi Michael,

      For sure – I run VirusTotal in FireFox and WinPatrol as well, because – as you rightly point out, “this security thing is far far from perfected.”

      I’m currently running Ubuntu Beta in 64 bit mode, although to date, I haven’t noticed an improvement over the 32 bit version. Incidentally, I was speaking with a few fellows today who are very high on Mint – with very good reason, I think.

      Since this is a family friendly Blog, I can’t tell you what I think of people who disparage Linux – given that most who do so, have never run it for any appreciable length of time. 🙂 Suffice it to say – they could use a lesson in how operating systems really work



      • John

        Hi Bill,

        “I was speaking with a few fellows today who are very high on Mint – with very good reason, I think.”

        Is this a Canadian strain of the herb? 🙂


  5. Installing more than one antivirus is not the solution. The most important thing is you should update the antivirus, install antispyware and firewalls. It will provide more security for the PC.

    • Normally, I’d consider your comment Spam, since it links back to a yet to be rated site.

      On the oft chance that your comment is a serious comment – let me say this. You’re completely out of touch with current system security realities. More than a little surprising from someone involved in application development.


    • Michael Fisher

      My cat knows more than you do “Blackberry” & she’s asleep most of the time

      Also your company with seven U.S. addresses looks fake. How can anyone in an I.T. related biz have that many offices & yet hardly any web presence history ?