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Virus scan in Safe Mode


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#1 trappermike

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 09:58 PM

I used to use MBAM and a couple of other scanners in safe mode,but most of these Anti-malware scanners do not recommend to run them in safe mode anymore.

Can I still run MBAM in safe mode or is it recommended? Should I be trying to run any scanners in safe mode?

Are there any tools to do this still?

I don't have cablevision so I watch TV and movies from various sites thru Flash players like Gorillavid etc.,and there are lots of malicious popups to be aware of. So I always want to run a scan at days end,any recommendations?


Edited by hamluis, 24 January 2015 - 11:14 AM.
Moved from XP to AV/AM Software - Hamluis.


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#2 quietman7

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Posted 24 January 2015 - 01:47 PM

Safe mode - Why not use safe mode?

Safe Mode is a troubleshooting mode designed to start Windows with minimal drivers and running processes to diagnose problems with your computer. This means some of the programs that normally start when Windows starts will not run.

Why use safe mode? The Windows operating system protects files when they are being accessed by an application or a program. Malware writers create programs that can insert itself and hide in these protected areas when the files are being used. Using safe mode reduces the number of modules requesting files to only essentials which make your computer functional. This in turn reduces the number of hiding places for malware, making it easier to find and delete the offending files when performing scans with anti-virus and anti-malware tools. In many cases, performing your scans in safe mode speeds up the scanning process. Scanning in safe mode was a recommended course of action years ago before malware writers began to employ more sophisticated techniques to counter removal efforts in that mode.

Why not use safe mode? Some security tools like anti-rootkit scanners (ARKs) and programs with anti-rootkit technology use special drivers which are required for the scanning and removal process. These tools are designed to work in normal mode because the drivers will not load in safe mode which lessens the scan's effectiveness. Other security tools are optimized to run from normal mode where they are most effective. For example, scanning with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware in safe or normal mode will work but removal functions are not as powerful in safe mode. Malwarebytes is designed to be at full power when malware is running so safe mode is not necessary when using it. In fact, Malwarebytes loses some effectiveness for detection and removal when used in safe mode because the program includes a special driver which does not work in safe mode. For optimal removal, normal mode is recommended so it does not limit the abilities of such tools.

Further, scanning in safe mode prevents some types of malware from running so it may be missed during the detection process. If the malware is not related to a running process (i.e. malicious .dll) it probably will not make a difference performing a scan in normal or safe mode. A hidden piece of malware such as a rootkit which protects other malicious files and registry keys from deletion may not be detected in either mode without the use of special tools. Additionally, if the scanner you're using does not include definitions for the malware, then they may not detect or remove it regardless of what mode is used. If you're dealing with zero-day malware it's unlikely the anti-virus is going to detect anything. Also keep in mind that there are various types of malware infections which target the safeboot keyset so booting into safe mode is not always possible.

Generally I recommend performing a scan in normal mode unless that mode does not work or the tool is specifically intended for use in safe mode.
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#3 Aura

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Posted 24 January 2015 - 02:18 PM

Since version 2.0, Malwarebytes have been improved to be more efficient when ran in Safe Mode, its even appended to the program window when you run it there. So for this particuliar Antimalware, I don't see any problems to running it in Safe Mode as Malwarebytes designed it so it can be used there. However, quitman's explanation are also accurate and should be taken in consideration when running Antivirus and Antimalware programs in Safe Mode :)

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#4 quietman7

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Posted 24 January 2015 - 02:32 PM

Yes v2 introduced substantial improvements to core detection and removal technology but per the developer it is still more effective when used in normal mode.
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#5 Aura

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Posted 24 January 2015 - 02:38 PM

If someone is down to not be able to run a scan in Normal Mode and would have to rely on a scan within Safe Mode, should he go for it or attempt to use a program that have a boot time scan feature. Would it be more useful in that case? Hopefully my question isn't off topic.

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#6 quietman7

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Posted 24 January 2015 - 02:42 PM

If someone is down to not be able to run a scan in Normal Mode and would have to rely on a scan within Safe Mode, should he go for it...


Already answered.

Generally I recommend performing a scan in normal mode unless that mode does not work or the tool is specifically intended for use in safe mode.


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