Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Premium configuration guide
There seem to be two camps of users when it comes to Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware application for the Windows operating system.
Some users swear on it and believe it is one of the best security programs for the operating system currently while others think it is snake oil and not useful at all.
The company itself sees it as a complementary product that should be run next to antivirus solutions, and not something that should be run on its own.
Since I fall into the first camp of users, I'm running a premium version of the program on my main machine.
The guide covers versions 2 and 3 of Malwarebytes currently.
Malwarebytes 3 Guide
Malwarebytes 3 introduced a new interface and several other major changes in the application. This part of the guide walks you through the available configuration of Malwarebytes 3.x.
The Application category opens when you activate the Settings link in the Malwarebytes interface. It offers a huge number of options which means that it takes quite some scrolling to explore the entire page.
Here is what is available:
- Manage application updates -- it is a good idea to keep automatic updates enabled unless you plan on staying at an older version.
- Manage notifications -- Notifications inform you about scan results and other things.Â If these get on your nerves, turn them off. Premium users may use Play Mode to have notifications disabled automatically when full screen apps and games run on the system.
- Impact of Scans on System -- you can reduce the priority of manual scans to improve system responsiveness.
- Windows Context Menus -- enable or disable the context menu entries in Explorer.
- User Access (Premium) - Limit user access to Malwarebytes features.
- Windows Action Center (Premium) -- Configures the integration of Malwarebytes with Windows Action Center.
- Beta Application Updates (Premium) -- Not recommended for production systems. You may join the beta program to receive beta updates.
- Usage and Threat Statistics -- Malwarebytes sends Telemetry data automatically. You can turn this off here.
Most settings under Protection are limited to Premium users.
- Real-Time Protections (Premium) -- You may enable or disable all real-time protection modules here or on the frontend. Exploit protection comes with options to protect certain programs so that they run normally.
- Scan Options -- You may enable rootkit scanning here. Doing so scans the system for rootkits but will prolong scans. Archives are scanned by default which you may disable here as well. Last but not least, you may disable the signature-less protection if you notice that it results in too many false positives.
- Potential Threat Protection -- The setting defines how potentially unwanted programs and potentially unwanted modifications are handled. The default is to always detect them. You may change that to "warn only" or "ignore".
- Updates (Premium) -- Premium users may configure automatic update checks here.
- Startup Options (Premium) -- Premium users may disable the automatic start or enable delayed startup using this group of settings. It is additionally possible to enable the self-protect module to make tampering more difficult.
- Automatic Quarantine (Premium) -- Found malware and other problematic items may be quarantined automatically if this feature is enabled.
Scan Schedule is only available in the premium version of Malwarebytes. Premium users may schedule scans using the menu.
Exclusions are useful if you notice that legitimate files or programs are flagged as malicious or problematic by Malwarebytes. Add them to the list of exclusions to protect them from being flagged.
Malwarebytes will ignore these during scans.
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware 2 Guide
The following guide provides you with information about the most important configuration options that Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Premium offers. While you will find some of them in the free version as well, some are exclusive.
A click on settings in the program window opens them up. You find several pages worth of settings on the page that let you customize program features and even add new features to the program that are not enabled by default.
Detection and Protection
This is probably the most important preference page of the program. It allows you to turn the program's malware protection and malicious website protection on or off, enable the scanning of rootkits (which is not enabled by default), and define actions when potentially unwanted programs (PUP) and potentially unwanted modifications (PUM) are detected.
- Scan for rootkits - Anti-Malware Premium supports the detection of rootkits. If you want that functionality to be included, you need to enable it here as it is not by default. Anti-Rootkit is available as a standalone (currently beta) program as well.
- PUP and PUM actions - Define how you want these handled. You may treat them like malware, which would quarantine them when detected, display a warning instead, or ignore them altogether.
- Malware Protection - This is the heart of the program and should not be disabled.
- Malicious Website Protection - This blocks websites flagged as malicious from being loaded. You may want to turn this off if you encounter false positives on a regular basis (I usually do as I don't need it).
Malware and Web Exclusions
These two pages provide options to add exclusions to the program which it honors from that moment on. This means basically that anything that you add here is ignored by the program when it scan and checks resources.
- Malware Exclusions - You may add individual files or entire folders to the list of exclusions.
- Web Exclusions - This exclusion list supports IP addresses, domains and processes. If you select a process, all of its "web traffic" will be ignored by Malwarebytes.
The settings listed on this page let you customize program behavior, for instance on start of the operating system or how it should handle detected items.
- Automatically quarantine detected items - You may want to disable the preference if you get false positives regularly. If you don't, you may find yourself opening the quarantine regularly to undo these automatic actions.
- Reduce priority of scans to improve multitasking - Enable this option if you notice slow-downs during scans, for instance if videos that stream to the computer stutter suddenly, if programs don't react immediately anymore or if you experience lag in games or real-time communication.
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Premium is configured to run a system scan once per day and to check for program updates once per hour. Existing tasks can be modified or removed, and new ones added on this page.
You may for for instance switch update checks to real-time instead of once per hour to receive updates as fast as possible. The fastest option checks once per minute for updates.
Depending on your requirements, you may want to use the fastest update check interval. You may need to experiment with various intervals to find the best setting for your needs.
The general settings page provides you with options to customize notifications, and to enable or disable the Windows Explorer context menu entry.
You can disable notifications on this page for instance if you don't require them.
Protect certain program features from being accessed by individual users or groups of users. You may for instance block access to the settings.
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