Anti-virus scans: bad for your HD?
March 21, 2005 6:30 AM   Subscribe

My 160 gig HD is being scanned daily by Anti-Virus Guard. Seems like all this wear-and-tear would add up. Does this reduce the life span of a hard drive? Bonus if you know how to make Grisoft's AVG Free Edition scan less frequently.
posted by agropyron to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
Best answer: No, your hard drive can take it. You ought to run the defragmenter, though, to keep the thrashing down.
Alas, no bonus points if you have AVG Free Edition. If you have the 'Professional' ($) version: launch the AVG Control Center, select the Test Center pushbutton, then the Scheduler pushbutton in the Test Center window. Here you can define your own schedules.
posted by nj_subgenius at 7:13 AM on March 21, 2005

Hard drives love to spin. The real wear and tear on a hard drive comes from powering it up and down.

You should be fine.
posted by SweetJesus at 7:47 AM on March 21, 2005

nj_subgenius - AVG Free has the same thing, and have for a while. Maybe not the last version though, don't remember.

anyway, interesting question but I agree with these fellows.
posted by freudianslipper at 8:03 AM on March 21, 2005

First let me state that I am not an expert in this field, so nothing I say should be used against me in court :-) Now...I don't know about a reduced life span, or at least not a noticeable one. I've heard that heat kills hard drives just as it kills other computer components. And logic would have it that there would be some heat increase during at full load. Although hard drives probably are not designed to run under full load for constant periods of time, they should be designed to handle it when it occurs. I can't think of any actual applications that keeps the hard drive under full load for extended periods of time; only scanning software/defrag software.

I also think that there is extra wear on the parts, moving like crazy. But overall, I don't think this will affect the life span of your hard drive in a noticeable way. Some hard drives will run a few months, some will run many years, it doesnt depend so much on usage.
posted by Sonic_Molson at 10:08 AM on March 21, 2005

It always helps to have a system fan blowing directly over the drive, because heat is a major obstacle.
posted by Dean Keaton at 10:26 AM on March 21, 2005

The real wear and tear on a hard drive comes from powering it up and down.

You know, I have my HDD powersaving settings set to 2 hours.. This means they spin up and then down rather frequently. Is this what you're talking about?
posted by eas98 at 11:13 AM on March 21, 2005

well, freudianslipper has me on a technicality. The avg free edition will either use a daily frequency or no frequency at all. No schedule at all is a bad thing, so I assumed you'd want to go to weekly or every three days, etc - which you cannot do with AVG Free. I have version 7.0.38, the latest. Hey, if I'm wrong, show me...
posted by nj_subgenius at 12:04 PM on March 21, 2005

Best answer: To make it scan less frequently, you can run it as a Scheduled Task in the Windows Control Panel. Note, this runs it as a command line option only, without a GUI.

To do so, go to Control Panel, and open Scheduled Tasks in Explorer. Right Click and Select 'New Scheduled Task'. Name it whatever you want, and then press enter to set the properties. In the 'Run' box, browse to the AVG directory, and select 'avgscan.exe'.

Now add the drives you want to scan at the end; for example, for me it reads;

"D:\Program Files\AVG Free\avgscan.exe" c: d:

(At some stage it asks for a user name and password, enter it and press okay).

Now click on the Schedule tab. Select your schedule. Say to do it twice a week, select Weekly, and check the days that you want it to run on.

This works for me, if there is any clarification you need, ask and I'll try to help.
posted by Boobus Tuber at 12:33 PM on March 21, 2005

If you run behind a firewalled router, use WinXP SP2--software firewall on, use Mozilla Firefox, block popups, and don't install strange software or click YES on any of those pr0n crackz warez prompts, There's no reason you should need to scan 160gb of data on a secondary drive every night. (If the 160 is your primary, you would benefit by partitioning that.)

My windos machine was stepping in the bucket last week, so I installed AVG (hadn't gotten around to it), ran a system scan and came up with zilch. You have to work to get a virus.

You can hasten the demise of your harddrive. A friend of mine trashes his system once a year. My guess is that he does it regularly trying to write and read to and from more than one point on the same disk at the same time.

Or the sodium levels in his nervous system have created an electrical imbalance...

Run the scans at night.

...and don't use Outlook Express.
posted by airguitar at 8:46 PM on March 21, 2005

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