Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have never run full anti-virus on my Windows XP systems. Instead I use various anti-malware tools to manually perform scans every few weeks. This approach, combined with Windows updates and general care about what web-sites I visit and what files I download has kept me 99% free of problems.

The remaining 1% has occurred when I download files that I know may contain malware, but still decide the risk is worth it. When on 2 occasions in 10 years I did get caught doing this, I realised that being able to easily scan them would most likely have avoided getting infected.

I don't need, or want, to run a "stay resident" anti-virus. Also, the online scanners such as Kaspersky etc limit uploads to small files, so these are not always useful.

In summary I would like to simply be able to download a file and then manually initiate an on demand anti-virus scan, on the downloaded file only.

I'm sure some/most Anti-Virus do both, however once again I don't really want to pay for or need the stay resident part.

Any recommendations (commercial or free)?


This is not an exact duplicate, nor a possible duplicate. I searched for and read other questions on anti-virus here at SuperUser and found none that answered my question.

I am specifically asking about anti-virus scanners that run ON-DEMAND locally on the computer, not online scanners.

share|improve this question
If this is duplicate, what's it a duplicate of? "Exact duplicate" isn't that helpful if we still can't find the original! – MiffTheFox Aug 18 '09 at 5:01
On-demand is different from online, but ok. One of these should answer it:,, – hyperslug Aug 18 '09 at 7:52
@Diago, this is not a duplicate. I am asking specifically about "on demand" virus scanning software running on the lcoal system. I even mention online scanners in my question and why they are not an option. Please re-opemn this question. – Ash Aug 18 '09 at 8:47
@hyperslug, those questions don't answer my specific question regarding "on demand" virus scanners. I read those questions before asking this question. – Ash Aug 18 '09 at 8:48
I have re-opened. However if further votes are recieved to close it will be reconsidered. – BinaryMisfit Aug 18 '09 at 8:51
up vote 7 down vote accepted

I use ESET NOD32 - it feels extremely lightweight, and is certainly very fast... perfect for on-demand checking.

share|improve this answer
Yes, I've heard good things about NOD32 too. I'll try it out. – Ash Aug 18 '09 at 8:57

Clamwin does what you're looking for and it's FOSS as well. It allows you to simply scan the files you want instead of having resident scanning in the background.

  • High detection rates for viruses and spyware;
  • Scanning Scheduler;
  • Automatic downloads of regularly updated Virus Database.
  • Standalone virus scanner and right-click menu integration to Microsoft Windows Explorer;
  • Addin to Microsoft Outlook to remove virus-infected attachments automatically.
share|improve this answer
Thanks, I'd heard of it but not tried it. – Ash Aug 18 '09 at 8:57

Some other free (at least for personnal use), offline, on-demand (and portable) scanners:

Kaspersky Virus Removal Tool

Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware

SpyBot - Search & Destroy

DrWeb Cure It


share|improve this answer
+1 for MBAM. I use this as one of my core tools for antivirus work. – Dentrasi Feb 21 '10 at 20:39

I personally use the free version of AVG, for the same reason. Also this fall, Windows' is releasing their free version which so far sounds better than most of the others out there that cost money. I would use AVG for now, and look to switch to Microsoft's this Fall if you want. (And no this is a real full version, no pop-ups or limitations that I have really found, just make sure to turn off the link-checker or your Google slows down, though it may be off by default now).

Here is the download page:

share|improve this answer
I thought AVG was scanning in the background , ie "stay residennt". Does it have an on-demand version? – Ash Aug 18 '09 at 3:05
I thought you were asking more for the free and light footprint factor. Site like: work for true on-demand. – RiddlerDev Aug 18 '09 at 3:07
OK, no I was looking for something that never runs unless I decide it should. Thanks for the AVG info., even if it is stay resident, I keep hearing good things about it and might look at it. – Ash Aug 18 '09 at 3:11
okay so it can install, you just do not always want it "on". AVG is perfect, you can choose what is on and off (all off in your case), and it can still update for you and you can ask it to run when needed. – RiddlerDev Aug 18 '09 at 3:13
and it does not keep asking you to turn it back on... :) – RiddlerDev Aug 18 '09 at 3:14

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .