How to Test – Antivirus Program is Working Fine or Dead

by on August 8th, 2009

Sometimes we use trial version of an Antivirus and when it expires, we just let it rot in the taskbar for a while (just in case) and do not uninstall. But we do not know whether it is working or not. In another case Antivirus Program can be corrupted by any vicious virus and cease to work. How can you test that whether your Antivirus program is working fine or it is dead? We will be needing a virus. OMG! Real virus can test your Antivirus and your data well but its a risk. Using real viruses for testing in the real world is rather like setting fire to the dustbin in your office to see whether the smoke detector is working. Such a test will give meaningful results, but with unappealing, unacceptable risks. So, We happen to have a simple test for that. We have a harmless fake virus for testing purpose.

Any Antivirus software detects viruses and other malware via signature definitions. EICAR is a non-viral string of code that most antivirus software have included in their signature definition files. We will create a file named as EICAR.COM. If you try to open EICAR.COM, if your realtime protection feature is enabled the antivirus software should generate a friendly alert. You can also manually scan EICAR to test your on-demand scanner.

The Anti-Virus OR Anti-Malware Test File

Open Notepad.
Copy and paste the following line into it.

X5O!P%@AP[4\PZX54(P^)7CC)7}$EICAR-STANDARD-ANTIVIRUS-TEST-FILE!$H+H*

Save the file as EICAR.COM
Congrats buddy! You have just created a virus.

Do not be worried. Its a rabbit-bunny-puppy-fluffy virus because it is harmless and is just for testing purpose. If your active protection was working properly, the simple act of saving the file should have triggered an alert. But anyways go ahead and run this file. If you get an alert, your Antivirus Program is working fine.

EICAR Website

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2 Reviews

  1. herbie says:

    Well I did as you said and saved it.. Not more than 5secs. later Microsoft Security Essentials pops up with the virus warning. Took the Clean Computer option… 30secs later report comes up, Computer cleaned.
    I’d say MSSE is doing its job.

  2. Jellplush says:

    Credit you for details. It helped me in my mission