Why Can't I Install Two Antivirus Programs at the Same Time? PDF Print E-mail

The term antivirus can be confusing to some people. While they may know what the software does in a general sense, they really do not know how it works. Most people are not even sure of how a virus and other malware work to mess up their computer. Since they do not know how this underlying technology works then they can be confused by some of the things that you can and cannot do with the antivirus that is installed on your system. In this article we will take a look at how you can mess up your antivirus installation by installing two different products on your computer at the same time. Before we tell you how you can mess it up, we will give you a little background lesson on how the antivirus software itself is able to save your computer.

How your antivirus software works

How the software works can get real technical in nature so we will try to break it down so that the average person can understand it. There are certain signatures that different parts of the software make when it is created. By which functions the software attempts to connect to on the system or by the pattern of how the software does things, antivirus software can tell if it is a bad guy or not. The signature is based on opcodes from the CPU that is broken down but we will not get too deep into that. That explanation is a little too geeky for this article. So the antivirus software goes around your computer looking for these types of signatures and if it sees them, it tries to destroy it. The signatures are saved in a database that is saved in the software. The database is updated every day from the creator of the antivirus software. This is why you must update your antivirus package at least once a day. So the software that is on your computer will have the new bad guy signature to look for.

Now why it hurts to have two antivirus software packages on your system

Now that you know how your antivirus software works, we can more easily describe why it is a bad idea to have two antivirus packages on your system at the same time. Remember earlier we talked about the database of signatures that is stored in your antivirus software. Well if you have another antivirus running on the machine, it will think that your original antivirus software is a bad guy and try to get rid of it. This is because it has the bad guys signature in its database. Also, some antivirus packages will use similar techniques that the bad guys use so that they can find a threat on your system. If the other antivirus sees this, it again will try to erase it. That is not good for your system.

Hopefully we have shown you the reason why it is not a god idea to have two av programs running on your computer at the same time. If you try most likely it will be rejected.

So when you have two antiviruses installed they are going to do one of two things – they are either going to block each other because they will use or scan the same process at the same time or they will try to eliminate the other antivirus software on your system since the antivirus software has some of the same signatures of the viruses that you are trying to fight.

It needs these signatures to be able to recognize the bad software on the computer.

When you are installing a piece of antivirus software on your compute, make sure that it is the only one.

If not then your system might become inoperable and, ultimately, infected.

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