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Windows 7: Why does my antivirus scan faster in my guest account?

19 Mar 2018   #1
kuurt

Windows 7 64 bit
 
 
Why does my antivirus scan faster in my guest account?

I have Microsoft Security Essentials for my antivirus. And over the last couple of years it has gotten to where it takes forever to run a full scan. Like 12 hours to run a full scan. It didn't use to take that long, more like 30 minutes or so when I first started using it. It just got slower and slower over time. I've even tried reinstalling the program, but that didn't work. There just seems to be something slowing it down.

Today I tried to see if I could run the program from the guest account instead of my administrator account. Instead of 12 hours it took around 7 hours. Any idea why it runs faster in the guest account?

I left it running in the guest account and switched users to my administrator account. I did my work on that account while the scan ran in the guest account. And it took about half the time it normally takes. Any idea why?


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19 Mar 2018   #2
mrjimphelps

Linux Mint 18.2 xfce 64-bit (VMWare host) / Windows 8.1 Pro 32-bit (VMWare guest)
 
 

Perhaps there is less to scan in the guest account. If the administrator account is your normal working account, then all of your stuff is there, meaning that there is more to scan.

Another possible reason, but only a guess on my part: Since the administrator account has access to everything, it checks everything; whereas, since the guest account has access to basically nothing, it doesn't check much.
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19 Mar 2018   #3
kuurt

Windows 7 64 bit
 
 

Ah dang, i guess that means I have to run a full scan again in the administrator account.
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21 Mar 2018   #4
mrjimphelps

Linux Mint 18.2 xfce 64-bit (VMWare host) / Windows 8.1 Pro 32-bit (VMWare guest)
 
 

Yep.
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21 Mar 2018   #5
LMiller7

Windows 7 Pro 64 bit
 
 

In terms of rights and privileges the Guest account is about as low as they get. When using this account you must accept that many things will not work normally or at all. And as Microsoft Security Essentials is a security program you can't expect that Microsoft will provide details as to how it works as this information would be useful to anyone with malicious intentions.


Don't be tempted to use the Guest account because it runs MSE faster. There are worse things than a program running slow, such as not being able to do it's job because of the limited account being used.



I am actually surprised that the program runs at all with the Guest account.
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21 Mar 2018   #6
kuurt

Windows 7 64 bit
 
 

Yeah, I'm just kind of fed up with MSE because the program takes like 12 hours to run a full scan. That is ridiculous. I don't like leaving my computer on my account while I'm away from the computer because other people in the house can see my personal files and stuff which I don't want them to be able to access. I would switch to another antivirus software, but I've tried a few other ones in the past and it seems like I've had issues with them. I've never had any issues with MSE causing me problems other than the fact that it takes forever to run a scan.
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22 Mar 2018   #7
goodlad

windows 7 ultimate x32
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by kuurt View Post
Yeah, I'm just kind of fed up with MSE because the program takes like 12 hours to run a full scan. That is ridiculous. I don't like leaving my computer on my account while I'm away from the computer because other people in the house can see my personal files and stuff which I don't want them to be able to access. I would switch to another antivirus software, but I've tried a few other ones in the past and it seems like I've had issues with them. I've never had any issues with MSE causing me problems other than the fact that it takes forever to run a scan.
have you tried - Bitdefender or Avira or Avast or Kaspersky (all free version ones) ?
I've generally had an decent run with all the 4 but Avast can make your system slower though.

If you want to run a scan with minimum impact on your resources, I would suggest Bitdefender. The only issue with Bitdefender scan on an Free version is - it doesn't scan the entire system when you ask it to, it schedules the scan to its desired time & runs the scan. I know it sounds obnoxious but I never even knew BD was scanning until it popped up the results near system tray.

Though you could scan the desired folder/files immediately. With an paid version you don't have these restrictions.

And yes MSE is super time consuming, last time when I ran an scan it took literally 28 hours to complete the damn scan. My laptop was turned on the entire 28 hours. I didn't have the patience to run it again. For me it was only an backup option back then.
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22 Mar 2018   #8
kuurt

Windows 7 64 bit
 
 

I have tried Norton, Macafee, AVG, Avast, Kaspersky, and MSE. Seems like I've had problems with the first three. And MSE is slow. I'm not sure about Avast and Kaspersky. I did have some serious computer problem where I had to completely reinstall my OS on multiple occasions and I was told on these help forums at the time to just use MSE because it doesn't interfere with other programs like some of these other antivirus programs. So I'm not sure if Avast or Kaspersky caused any of my issues or not. I did like those two the best, but I'm just afraid to use them again since they might have been the cause of some of my issues. Kaspersky was my favorite. I didn't realize they had a free version.

I've never heard of Bitdefender or Avira. Thanks for sharing though, I might have to switch to a different one before long. I suppose I could also start MSE and just log out of my account when I'm not on the computer. I suppose that would solve my problem of other people getting onto my account. I don't see why it wouldn't continue to run when logged out since I was able to run it in the guest account while logged into my account.
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22 Mar 2018   #9
mrjimphelps

Linux Mint 18.2 xfce 64-bit (VMWare host) / Windows 8.1 Pro 32-bit (VMWare guest)
 
 

I have Trend Micro on my Windows computers. I have had excellent results with it. Not only is it rated very highly, but also you never notice it running. A quick scan will usually be enough, and that takes about 1.5 minutes on my computer.
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24 Mar 2018   #10
Alejandro85

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

I tend to agree with other answers in that the guest account has fewer permissions, hence MSE only scans those files only, not the whole hard disk. This makes some sense, no program can ever read files that it has no read access, but for an antivirus it seems like an unnecesary limitation, considering it has kernel-mode drivers as part of their architecture (as a necesary evil), and those are above any user account. I still have doubts if that limitation makes sense or not

The solution is simple, run MSE as administrator and let it scan everything, that'll obviously take more time, but you'll get the best results. If that's too slow for you, I also agree that you're better looking for another antivirus, if you really want one.


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by LMiller7 View Post
And as Microsoft Security Essentials is a security program you can't expect that Microsoft will provide details as to how it works as this information would be useful to anyone with malicious intentions.
That's terribly wrong, it's quite the opposite, actually. What you're proposing is called Security though obscurity and is widely known as false security, a mith dispelled more than 150 years ago. Relying on implementation details to remain secret is simply impossible in practice. While it's true that people releasing details about security software does help the bad guys, it's simply a reality that the bad guys can get the same details themselves.
Anyone can decompile an antivirus, the OS, a piece of software, anything, and get all the details he needs for an attack. Many security related papers include assembly code fragments from decompiled pieces of software, to explain some vulnerability. And as researchers can do that (quite easily in fact), hackers can do so too.

That's the reason why every cryptographic algorithm requires a public demostration and explanation and an open source reference implementation to be even considered. Most security related software out there is open source actually, and everyone (hackers included) can look at every detail and point out flaws, fix them or at least be aware of its limitations. And nobody claims its insecure just because of that.

So, if Microsoft cannot disclose every bit of the internal MSE structure without seriously compromising its security, MSE is totally broken to begin with, and should never be used. The same of course goes to anything security related.


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by kuurt View Post
I don't like leaving my computer on my account while I'm away from the computer because other people in the house can see my personal files and stuff which I don't want them to be able to access.
You don't need to. Just leave it running and lock your session and you're safe. Other people can even use their own accounts while yours is there scanning in the background. The only way to your files is to know your password (do you use a strong password right?). A screen saver configured to ask for your password to reactivate is often good enough to prevent this. And you can leave the scan to take whatever it wants
Of course, that goes well as long as nobody else as an administrator account. Those can view everything regardless of your password.
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 Why does my antivirus scan faster in my guest account?




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