HTPC's and Antivirus Software - Page 2 - AVS Forum
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post #31 of 57 Old 06-19-2012, 03:48 PM
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You should generally be protected from the outside world by using NAT on your router rather than connecting your PC directly to the internet. However, most consumer routers generally only stop inbound traffic. This means that if your PC becomes infected the router won't stop it communicating with the outside world. It also won't protect you if an infected computer is plugged into your network, you connect directly to the internet, you use a public Wi-Fi hotspot, you use a wireless modem directly connected to your PC or an intruder attacks a vulnerability in an internal server which is open to the outside world.

A software firewall allows you to control both the incoming and outgoing traffic on your PC and generally alerts you if an unknown application attempts to use the network. It is another layer of defence. Windows 7 Firewall has this functionality built in but it doesn't have the nice user interface to configure it that a third party firewall has. There are applications available to make configuring windows firewall easier.

Personally I only use windows firewall and ensure I don't connect foreign devices to my network. I did use a software firewall once but was annoyed by the constant bombardment of messages and couldn’t get certain network applications to function correctly without using the minimal security settings. This lead to low WAF and so it had to be turned off. As always it’s a trade-off between functionality/WAF and security.

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post #32 of 57 Old 06-19-2012, 05:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bfhancock View Post

Getting a virus on my fresh new HTPC (once I build it in a week or two); this is a definite fear I have.
I was wondering this the other night. Should I install anti-virus on my Win 7 HTPC I am about to build? It is my first HTPC (EXCITING!) but I have no idea if I need protection for anti-virus, malware, spyware, etc. We will NOT be browsing on it. This rule has been heavily established, but there will be some Usenet access happening pretty constantly in the background... for... things... Is it better to be safe than sorry or will that software just cause my HTPC to be bogged down?

Here's my $0.02:

- If you connect to the internet, at a minimum you should definitely use an anti-virus program.

- Using an anti-virus program is not 100% bulletproof, especially if the computer is shared. In such cases, the HTPC is at the mercy of its worst user (and, yes, that user could, at any given moment, be you... or me!) Despite any agreed-upon mandates you set, there is no way to have absolute control over who clicks on what for 100% of the time.

- When (not if) a virus or malware gets in, there are three recovery scenarios:
1. Reactive option: Eradicate the virus/malware, and fix any damage it inflicts on your system.
2. Proactive option: Restore your system to a previously working state from your most recent backup.
3. Start over option: Format and re-install... AKA "Nuke and repave" smile.gif

- IMHO, the proactive option is the best option. If you do regular backups of your HTPC system, you can recover from any failure, whether it's a virus infection, a hard disk crash, or a borked system change, like a bad driver update.

That's my input, for what it's worth smile.gif Congratulations on your new HTPC system. Have fun... and, of course, be safe.

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post #33 of 57 Old 06-19-2012, 09:55 PM
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I run Norton because I get corporate home-user license for free. If I had to pay, I'd probably use MSoft. Just use some protection, we don't want to hear about you having to go to the clinic.
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post #34 of 57 Old 06-20-2012, 09:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flocko View Post

My strongest opinion is I WOULD NEVER run any computer that is hooked to the internet with out virus protection . With all the cheap or $0 cost choices out there today I think it is hap hazard to run with out one .
+1 for MSE ... I have also used Kasperski and it did a great job as well and very silent .

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Originally Posted by SUBCOB View Post

If you will be on the internet for anything anti-virus is a must. I also like MSE, I have also used avast home and liked it also.

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Originally Posted by mesasone View Post

This is not true at all. There have been a number of cases where virII have been injected on to a website through ads displayed by the ad networks that pay for many of these sites. This has happened to sites/communities run by people in technical/IT fields - so it's not just an issue with crappy poorly secured blogs about cosmetics (or whatever inane topic you can think of).

An HTPC that is passively connected to the internet for guide and general updates will most likely not get misteriously infected with a virus. It is not like viruses are created through "immaculate conception" someone has to click on something to install something to infect a machine. That some one is the end user, most of the time. So, limit the HTPC to being just that, a "DVR box" and you don't need anti-virus.

If you are going to be using HTPC to browse the internet, and download stuff on it, then you are just asking for it.

Use a protected machine for that.

I have run HTPC without antivirus for years, and have yet to be infected through "immaculate conception" I surf, download and scan downloads, on my desktop, and only then I dump it on the RAID array that HTPC has access to.

There is no better protection against viruses than the the end user, which is incidentally is also machine's worst enemy.

6 TV's in the house on FiOS and we only pay $4.99/month to connect them all!!! Power to the CableCard and WMC7!!!
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post #35 of 57 Old 06-20-2012, 10:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blueiedgod View Post

An HTPC that is passively connected to the internet for guide and general updates will most likely not get misteriously infected with a virus. It is not like viruses are created through "immaculate conception" someone has to click on something to install something to infect a machine. That some one is the end user, most of the time. So, limit the HTPC to being just that, a "DVR box" and you don't need anti-virus.
If you are going to be using HTPC to browse the internet, and download stuff on it, then you are just asking for it.
Use a protected machine for that.
I have run HTPC without antivirus for years, and have yet to be infected through "immaculate conception" I surf, download and scan downloads, on my desktop, and only then I dump it on the RAID array that HTPC has access to.
There is no better protection against viruses than the the end user, which is incidentally is also machine's worst enemy.

That's not entirely true. Hackers also "scan" for unprotected pcs and attack them directly. You can get infected in ways other than by clicking on something. (although clicking on some worm is the most common).

And if you have no virus detection software on your htpc, then you really have no way of knowing whether you're infected or not. Not all infections are obvious. Indeed, the most malicious usually aren't.
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post #36 of 57 Old 06-20-2012, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

That's not entirely true. Hackers also "scan" for unprotected pcs and attack them directly. You can get infected in ways other than by clicking on something. (although clicking on some worm is the most common).
And if you have no virus detection software on your htpc, then you really have no way of knowing whether you're infected or not. Not all infections are obvious. Indeed, the most malicious usually aren't.
And then when you copy that infected file to a pen drive so you can watch it at work, there goes the network...
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post #37 of 57 Old 06-20-2012, 09:39 PM
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Exactly how a bunch of nuclear material refining centrifuges got wiped out. I'm sure some technician brought in a USB drive that he had been downloading porn onto. I can just see the next virus wipeout the iris on Epson projectors or some such thing.
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post #38 of 57 Old 06-21-2012, 04:08 AM
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Maybe I'm lucky but over the last 5-6 years I have had no viruses on my home PCs, the only time would on my work PC because someone gave me an infected file.

I do not use Antivirus Software on my HTPC, mainly because I do not use my HTPC the same way I use all my other home PCs.
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post #39 of 57 Old 06-21-2012, 04:25 AM
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There is no sane reason not to use AV software on any PC. It's like having unprotected sex. Just because you've been lucky enough not to have contracted a virus so far doesn't mean it won't happen. Think of AV software as a condom for your PC (and no, it doesn't go over the mouse wink.gif). Using any PC without effective AV protection is just plain stupid.
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post #40 of 57 Old 06-21-2012, 05:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captain_video View Post

There is no sane reason not to use AV software on any PC. It's like having unprotected sex. Just because you've been lucky enough not to have contracted a virus so far doesn't mean it won't happen. Think of AV software as a condom for your PC (and no, it doesn't go over the mouse wink.gif). Using any PC without effective AV protection is just plain stupid.

Have to agree. My HTPC is connected to my LAN as are two other desktops and two laptops. I'm about 1/3 of the way through loading some 300+ DVD's and that means fetching metadata every 20 or minutes hour after hour so no way I'm going connect and unconnect the box every time I load a new DVD. On top of that, and maybe I'm missing something here as I'm new to this HTPC stuff, but I'm running a bunch of software all related to the HTPC function and they all were downloaded from the Internet and periodically do their own check for updates, patches, etc. Am I going to surf the Internet using my HTPC? No, got plenty of other devices for that like the iPad I'm using right now. Personally it's just not worth the risk not to spend a few bucks for my larger security license and use it on my HTPC.
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post #41 of 57 Old 06-21-2012, 05:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captain_video View Post

There is no sane reason not to use AV software on any PC. It's like having unprotected sex. Just because you've been lucky enough not to have contracted a virus so far doesn't mean it won't happen. Think of AV software as a condom for your PC (and no, it doesn't go over the mouse wink.gif). Using any PC without effective AV protection is just plain stupid.

+1
And, as I said, if you don't have av software installed, you can't know whether you're infected or not. You can easily be infected without knowing it. Maybe you're not as "lucky" as you think you are.
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post #42 of 57 Old 06-21-2012, 08:46 AM
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I used to run ZoneAlarm, but it got in the way of a few programs I wanted to have more control of my home network. I primarily use my D-link router as a firewall solution.

I'm confused too.

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post #43 of 57 Old 06-21-2012, 10:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captain_video View Post

There is no sane reason not to use AV software on any PC.

+1

Quote:
Originally Posted by captain_video View Post

Using any PC without effective AV protection is just plain stupid.

Not so quick to automatically agree to this. Yes, it is foolish to "fly without a net," since the inevitable infection will occur, regardless of past "luck". But this is true whether or not an AV tool is in place. Multiple users, zero-day exploits, and other factors contribute to the inevitability of a virus or malware infection.

But if the user who shuns AV is being pro-active to the issue by doing regular backups, then he or she is not automatically "stupid." They just protect themselves in a different way.

Now if there's no AV and no backups being performed, then +1 for "just plain stupid" smile.gif

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post #44 of 57 Old 06-21-2012, 10:43 AM - Thread Starter
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So, there is really no sane reason NOT to have AV installed (better safe than sorry), but if you do regular backups then it's not stupid to not have AV either. You are just covering your ass in a different way. Correct? hehe

Don't make fun of me for my stupid questions!
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post #45 of 57 Old 06-21-2012, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

And, as I said, if you don't have av software installed, you can't know whether you're infected or not. You can easily be infected without knowing it. Maybe you're not as "lucky" as you think you are.

This is a good point. Hypothetically speaking, if I were to elect not to use an AV tool and rely solely on backups to recover from an obvious infection, I agree that I could actually be infected without knowing it, because I have no AV tool to do an in-place system scan. This is unacceptable.

But isn't it possible to use a live media boot scanner to check the system periodically, without having to install AV on the system?

Interesting discussion, by the way smile.gif

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post #46 of 57 Old 06-21-2012, 09:13 PM
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Although I use no AV for my main rig I can still check for virus's using housecall. And using sheilds up to scan all ports and check file sharing, once you get the results like this I have no fear.

GRC Port Authority Report created on UTC: 2012-06-22 at 03:56:06

Results from scan of ports: 0-1055

0 Ports Open
0 Ports Closed
1056 Ports Stealth
1056 Ports Tested

ALL PORTS tested were found to be: STEALTH.

TruStealth: PASSED - ALL tested ports were STEALTH,
- NO unsolicited packets were received,
- NO Ping reply (ICMP Echo) was received.

Attempting connection to your computer. . .
Shields UP! is now attempting to contact the Hidden Internet Server within your PC. It is likely that no one has told you that your own personal computer may now be functioning as an Internet Server with neither your knowledge nor your permission. And that it may be serving up all or many of your personal files for reading, writing, modification and even deletion by anyone, anywhere, on the Internet!

Your Internet port 139 does not appear to exist!
One or more ports on this system are operating in FULL STEALTH MODE! Standard Internet behavior requires port connection attempts to be answered with a success or refusal response. Therefore, only an attempt to connect to a nonexistent computer results in no response of either kind. But YOUR computer has DELIBERATELY CHOSEN NOT TO RESPOND (that's very cool!) which represents advanced computer and port stealthing capabilities. A machine configured in this fashion is well hardened to Internet NetBIOS attack and intrusion.
Unable to connect with NetBIOS to your computer.

All attempts to get any information from your computer have FAILED. (This is very uncommon for a Windows networking-based PC.) Relative to vulnerabilities from Windows networking, this computer appears to be VERY SECURE since it is NOT exposing ANY of its internal NetBIOS networking protocol over the Internet.
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post #47 of 57 Old 06-22-2012, 05:01 AM
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I too get the same basic report from ShieldsUp! but I still run AV and Internet security software on all my PC's (desktops, laptops, and HTPC). Let me first beg forgiveness of the probably very tech savvy on this board but for my own simple approach I divide potential attacks against my computers into two basic categories. First is what I call hacks or attempts to break into my computers from the outside. Years and years ago, like 10 plus years ago, I used a very basic switch to share our cable modem provided Internet connection. Even back then I was running anti-virus and Internet security software. One of the features of the software back then was to alert if a hacker tried to get into my computers and I was getting a lot of attempts on a daily basis. I was happy to see it was working but it was worrisome and at least annoying to be at the computer and have alerts flashing in the corner of my screen every few minutes. I mentioned this to one of our LAN techs at work and he steered me towards using a router rather than a switch to distribute my Internet connection. I bought my first Linksys router, one of probably four over the years, and suffered through what was then a very cumbersome setup process for an amateur but I got it to work. He also got me to test my setup using the very first version of ShieldUp! back then and I got pretty much the same results I get today. So that stopped the attacks or at least they were and still are getting turned back by the router basically providing a "blank stare" back to any hacking software. The second potential attack to me are viruses. Again, in my simple approach I separate these from hacking attacks as viruses aren't turned back by the router as they're usually attached or hidden in emails, downloads, etc., etc. That's where the anti-virus software comes into play and over the years, with only one exception that I can remember and that was the old Wpupdater Trojan horse, my software has done a very good to excellent job keeping the nasties out of my computers. What I think I know, and I may be ignorantly blissful, is that my router provides at least some kind of "physical" barrier to hack attacks and my software provides at least some kind of protection against viruses, worms, etc., that hitchhike in emails or downloads or whatever. I guess nothing is perfect and where there is a will there is a way but I do what I think is the best and to me that's the router and the software as my lines of defense, one or the other by itself is not enough in my mind.
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post #48 of 57 Old 06-22-2012, 05:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vlad Theimpaler View Post

+1
Not so quick to automatically agree to this. Yes, it is foolish to "fly without a net," since the inevitable infection will occur, regardless of past "luck". But this is true whether or not an AV tool is in place. Multiple users, zero-day exploits, and other factors contribute to the inevitability of a virus or malware infection.
But if the user who shuns AV is being pro-active to the issue by doing regular backups, then he or she is not automatically "stupid." They just protect themselves in a different way.
Now if there's no AV and no backups being performed, then +1 for "just plain stupid" smile.gif

What if your backup is also infected without you knowing?
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post #49 of 57 Old 06-22-2012, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by DavidT99 View Post

What if your backup is also infected without you knowing?

That possibility was covered when I later wrote:
Quote:
This is a good point. Hypothetically speaking, if I were to elect not to use an AV tool and rely solely on backups to recover from an obvious infection, I agree that I could actually be infected without knowing it, because I have no AV tool to do an in-place system scan. This is unacceptable.


The original post was inquiring if an HTPC should have AV installed on it or not. With the recent turns within the ensuing discussion, here's what I think about it as of today:

- System backup alone is insufficient for recovery from virus/malware, because undetected (non-obvious) threats could get in and reside on the system, and would get backed up as well. These need to be detected and cleaned/removed via a system scan before a backup is made.

- Make sure the system is clean before making a backup of it. There are two choices on how to accomplish this:
1. Install a good AV program on your system and run a thorough scan or a boot scan on the system partition.
2. If you don't want to install AV on your system, you can run live boot media scanner (make sure it's current for latest definitions) on the system partition. Windows users get a rudimentary system scan once a month from MS every 2nd Tuesday of each month (via Windows Automatic Updates), but I wouldn't rely on that alone.

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post #50 of 57 Old 06-22-2012, 05:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vlad Theimpaler View Post

This is a good point. Hypothetically speaking, if I were to elect not to use an AV tool and rely solely on backups to recover from an obvious infection, I agree that I could actually be infected without knowing it, because I have no AV tool to do an in-place system scan. This is unacceptable.
But isn't it possible to use a live media boot scanner to check the system periodically, without having to install AV on the system?
Interesting discussion, by the way smile.gif
Backups only allow you to recover from infected files. Restoring a backup when your BIOS is hosed won't do squat. The most effective protection from viruses is an AV program, plain and simple. Making backups is still a good idea as it helps you to recover from all sorts of failures, including virus infections. It's just not a cure for all ailments.

I prefer an app that detects a virus before it infects my PC and prevents it from infiltrating my system. Trying to clean them out after the fact is no fun. Using free AV software that provides excellent protection without intruding on other operations just seems like common sense to me.
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post #51 of 57 Old 06-22-2012, 05:12 PM
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Are we still discussing this?

Has anyone mentioned even 1 drawback to running something free and lightweight like MSE? If they have I missed it.
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post #52 of 57 Old 06-22-2012, 05:28 PM
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I'm wondering if the same folks not using av software also never download MS's security updates for Windows.
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post #53 of 57 Old 07-16-2012, 11:45 PM
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Im in the process of building an htpc, in my testing lately tmt 5 has been using high cpu usage when trying to load bluray files.....

It has no issues with powerdvd.

I am almost considering not running any real time protection, although I would like to. Im also concerned with definition updates slowing down bluray playback or causing stuttering.

I dont know what happened on my desktop but lately MSE hates tmt, i brought it up with microsoft and they said to take it up with arcsoft.

My current plan though i should specify is to run scheduled scans nightly but to turn off real time protection. Since i wont be downloading anything with the htpc. Rarely going on the internet and even then to trusted sites. I would keep real time protection on if security essential didnt freak out when tmt tries to play older bluray folders. The shining is a good one, if anyone could actually test, but for me, msmpeng.exe process goes nuts and it takes a minute and half before it will let the movie play.

This was microsoft response btw.

"Though I couldn't find a specific answer for this online, I did find various discussions where Kaspersky antivirus as well as other issues within Total Media Theater 5 itself had caused similar symptoms.

The Kaspersky case was relatively old, but indicated that portions of TMT appear to operate like a keylogger and other suspicious types of operation that were detected by its behavioral monitoring.

The other threads were mostly found on the TMT (Arcsoft) support forums and indicated any number of issues with the TMT5 release where it froze at startup. Some also mentioned that the program performs some type of heavy file reads during startup, so that could be contributing to the problem. However, someone in one of these very threads also recommended MSE for use with TMT, so this must not be a common issue with this combination."
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post #54 of 57 Old 12-18-2012, 09:07 PM
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I was thinking about trying MS Security Essentials. My current Norton Internet Security works OK, but sometimes the Green Button remote does not work for a brief minute while NIS finishes a scan. This usually happens when I wake up the HTPC. It seems I can schedule some scans but not some auto updates. And the other day I had to reboot the PC because it displayed a black screen when I turned on the TV, the second time this happened. It just makes me wonder if NIS is causing a conflict sometime with its scan & updates, however it works fine on my desktop.

When and how does MS Security Essentials do updates & scans? Can these be done manually once a week when I want them to be done?
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post #55 of 57 Old 12-19-2012, 02:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike99 View Post

When and how does MS Security Essentials do updates & scans? Can these be done manually once a week when I want them to be done?

Security Essentials scans can either be scheduled or done manually.
The scheduled scan can be set to only run when the PC is not in use, and there is an option to limit CPU usage during the scan (In increments of 10%)
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post #56 of 57 Old 12-19-2012, 06:51 PM
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Does "The scheduled scan can be set to only run when the PC is not in use" mean when the PC is idle or when in the sleep mode? Being an HTPC it seldom is idle.
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post #57 of 57 Old 12-19-2012, 07:09 PM
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meaning at 3am when your asleep

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