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Virus scanning of disk drives with minimal user impact by scanning only when computer is idle

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000032444D
Original Publication Date: 2004-Nov-05
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2004-Nov-05
Document File: 2 page(s) / 53K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

This article presents a method for reducing the impact on computer users of virus scanning. This growing problem can be alleviated by idle-time virus scanning. However, this introduces security vulnerability if not done correctly. This article describes how to address these vulnerabilities.

This text was extracted from a PDF file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 53% of the total text.

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Virus scanning of disk drives with minimal user impact by scanning only when computer is idle

Scanning an entire disk drive for computer viruses using a tool such as Norton* AntiVirus is today an essential safeguard against computer viruses. Companies typically require their employees to do a full scan regularly (e.g. weekly). With the rapidly increasing size of disk drives, (these are growing in size faster than CPU and computer buses are gaining speed), and the ever greater number of viruses to scan for, the amount of computer time each week spent doing a full scan is growing and having a sighnificant impact on user productivity. Scanning can typically take 2-12 hours and have a big impact on productivity when users try to work while the scan is running. The problem can only get worse as more viruses are produced and disk drives become larger.

    A method which allows the user to work unhindered by virus scanning, by only running the virus scanner if the computer is idle is proposed. The computer is more responsive to the user on demand. If the amount of idle time is insufficient within a fixed period of time (e.g. 1 week) then the scan completes by running in the background while the user is working on the computer.

    The virus scanner starts on a predetermined scheduled (e.g. once per week) to scan the available disk drive(s) and uses industry standard virus detection technology. Instead of scanning immediately, it waits until the computer's keyboard and mouse have not been touched for a predefined period of time (e.g. 15 minutes). At this point it starts scanning and continues until the user touches the keyboard or mouse again. At this point, the scanner stops and waits silently in the background for the computer to become idle again. Personal computers can typically be idle for 25-75% of the time, and so the scan would normally complete within an acceptable elapsed time.

    So far so good, but this introduces a vulner...