When an anti-virus or security program quarantines
a file and moves it into a virus vault (chest) or a dedicated quarantine folder, that file is essentially disabled and prevented from causing any harm to your system. The quarantined file is usually renamed before moving, safely held there and no longer a threat
until you take action to delete it. One reason for doing this is to prevent deletion of a crucial file that may have been flagged as a "false positive
" especially if the scanner uses heuristic analysis
technology. Heuristics is the ability of a scanning program to detect possible new variants of malware
before the vendor can get samples and update the program's definitions for detection. Heuristics uses non-specific detection methods to find new or unknown malware which allows the anti-virus to detect and stop if before doing any harm to your system. The disadvantage to using heuristics is that it is not as reliable as signature-based detection (blacklisting) and can potentially increase the chances that a non-malicious program is flagged as suspicious or infected. If that is the case, then you can restore the file and add it to the exclusion or ignore list.
If you're not sure about the file placed in quarantine or suspect it may be a "false detection
", check your anti-virus user manual or look for documentation, FAQs on the vendor's web site. Some programs have options for submitting a file from the quarantined area directly to the vendor's lab for analysis. Most user guides will explain how to do that. Other anti-virus solutions will automatically submit files or provide an alert to do so if you have checked the option to "Submit for analysis
in the program's settings. Quarantine is just an added safety measure
which allows you to view and investigate the files while keeping them from harming your computer. When the quarantined file is known to be malicious
, you can delete
it at any time by launching the program which removed it, going to the Quarantine tab, and choosing the option to delete.AVG FAQ 1933: I have some files in the AVG Virus Vault. Should I remove them?AVG FAQ 2201: Virus Vault - Available actionsChapter 10.8
of the AVG Anti-Virus 2011 User Manual
explains more detail about the virus vault. The manual is also a good resource for explaining components, settings, and other information.