If you’ve ever gotten a virus on your computer and had antivirus installed to take care of it, you may have noticed that the software quarantines the virus instead of deleting it outright. Some people have been confused or frustrated this, thinking that it needs to be deleted from the system entirely, but there’s actually a very good reason why antivirus software might quarantine a virus or other harmful intrusions.
The case for quarantining viruses
It’s actually dangerous to delete a virus from your system. That’s a shocker, isn’t it? I myself was actually quite surprised to learn that a few years ago before learning that antivirus software quarantining viruses actually has your best interest in mind. A quarantined virus is a good idea for a couple of reasons, with the first being that it could entirely be a false alarm.
In other words, your antivirus software might have gotten a warning that something was gravely wrong, and thus, put the infected files into quarantine. But wait! After it did this, suddenly a very important application on your computer has stopped running. A perfectly harmless file can sometimes appear to be infected by a virus, and that’s one reason for quarantine. The file is taken out of commission, and put in an area where it is up to your discretion to run the risk and restore the file or to delete it outright.
So, if there’s a program you use regularly that has suddenly stopped working after a quarantine, it’s likely that the program is safe and you can go ahead and restore it. Alternatively, you can take the even safer route of deleting those quarantined files and the rest of the program, and then reinstall that program later.
It’s important to use careful caution in this scenario. Antivirus has gotten a lot better where it very rarely will produce a false alarm, so it’s possible that there is something wrong. That’s why many antivirus companies have a way for you to pass the suspected and infected files over to their support team where they can analyze them. If there’s nothing wrong, you’ll have the OK to restore those files. Not only that, but this gives the company a chance to improve its software and to not produce the same alarm again or even in a different situation.
Another great reason to keep viruses in quarantine is so that they can be investigated by the antivirus company at a later date, as we sort of mentioned above. Once again, this helps improve the software and ultimately can keep your safe from similar viruses or malware.
When it comes down to it, the major benefit of using quarantine is the possibility of restoring an important file at a later date, whatever file that may be. There are some added bonuses, such as the antivirus company being able to investigate quarantined files to improve software. But, the most important thing to remember is that when a virus is quarantined, the antivirus software is deleting the infected file from the original location. By doing this, it’s no longer there and can no further harm your computer, as it’s been placed in a hidden folder that cannot be accessed by any other programs or files on your computer.