If using one antivirus software is good, is using two any better?
That’s a question many computer users ask themselves every day. Today, we’re going to explain why you should – or should not – use two antivirus products at the same time and get to the bottom of this issue once and for all.

Two Reasons Why Using Two Antivirus Products Is Better Than One

When you search for this issue online, you might read comments from people who claim that using two antivirus products causes the databases to overlap, or causes the scanners to neutralize each other, or the antivirus products will see each other as viruses and try to eliminate each other.
None of those things are true. At least, they’re not true when you’re using good antivirus software.
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Instead, here are two reasons why using two antivirus products is better than one:
1) Different antivirus software uses different virus databases. Some databases are updated in real-time via the cloud, while others receive manual updates on a daily or weekly basis. If a virus was just discovered, then using two antivirus software programs gives you a better chance of defending your PC against that virus as soon as a fix is released.
2) You can pick and choose different antivirus features according to strengths and weaknesses. Some software has good real-time scanning, but poor deep scanning. In that case, using two software programs lets you pick and choose the features you actually want to use. Windows Defender, for example, isn’t great at real-time antivirus scanning, but free programs like Avast are. Disable the Windows Defender real-time scanning to free up resources while still protecting your computer.

Two Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Use Two Antivirus Products At The Same Time

1) It could clog up your performance and use excessive amounts of RAM and CPU cycles, slowing down your PC.
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2) In rare cases, two antivirus programs could identify each other as threats and recommend deleting the other. Most modern antivirus programs, however, are smart enough to avoid this issue.

How To Optimize Your Double Antivirus Software Setup

The only real downsides to running two antivirus programs at the same time are performance issues. If you don’t have a powerful computer, then you might find that running two antivirus programs simultaneously slows your computer’s performance.
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Fortunately, there’s an easy way to get around this problem. Follow these two simple tips:
Never schedule both antivirus programs to perform a scan at the same time (check the schedule of the software and make sure both programs aren’t scanning your computer every morning at 3am, for example).
Never set both programs for real-time file scanning at the same time. This will slow down performance when you’re using their computer. You may be more protected, but the performance hit won’t be worth it.
If you don’t follow either of these tips, then both your software programs will be fighting each other for valuable PC resources at the same time. As a result, your PC’s performance may slow down. It could make it difficult to access files and, if the antivirus programs need to access the internet, you may not be able to download files.

What About Running Three Antivirus Software Programs?

Right now, on my computer, I’m running Avast Antivirus, Microsoft Security Essentials, and Windows Defender.
If running two antivirus programs is good, is running three antivirus programs better? For the same reasons listed above, it is!
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As long as your computer has enough resources to handle all of those programs running simultaneously, you’ll be better protected than you would be if you were just running a single antivirus program.

How to Check Resource Usage of Antivirus Software

To check if your computer has enough resources, press the Ctrl + Alt + Delete buttons to open the Windows Task Manger. Click on the “Performance” tab and look at your memory usage and CPU usage.
Ideally, your RAM usage will hover between 5% and 40% usage when idle or running basic software programs. Your CPU usage, on the other hand, should fluctuate between 0% usage and 50% usage depending on what you’re doing.
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If you’re running intensive software – like PC games or an active virus scan – than these numbers may nudge closer to 100%. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, if your resource usage goes to 100% during a scan, then you’ll want to perform antivirus scans during times when you’re not using your computer.
If you can follow all of the tips listed above, you’re guaranteed to maximize the benefits of multiple antivirus programs while minimizing the downsides. Your computer will be faster and more protected than ever before.

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