ESET Online Scanner is a free program for Microsoft Windows devices to run a one-time scan for malicious and potentially unwanted items.
It is an on-demand scanner in this regard that you can run alongside any installed antivirus or security solution.
The program is compatible with all 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows from Windows NT all the way up to the latest version Windows 10. Please note that Windows 8 and 10 are not mentioned on the system requirements page on the ESET website, but the program ran fine during tests on these systems.
The program itself has a size of roughly 6 Megabyte and requires administrator rights to run. You can run the program from any location on a system, and get a couple of configuration options before the latest signature database is downloaded and scans are run.
The settings page lists the following options:
Not all options are enabled by default. The first two are not for instance and you may want to enable those for a thorough scan of the PC.
I don't suggest that you enable the "clean threats automatically" setting as you may want to be in control when it comes to that so that you can block false positives from being quarantined for instance. This is especially important if you enable the detection of potentially unwanted or unsafe applications
The download of the signatures and the scan itself take a while. The scan took more than 30 minutes on a 256 Gigabyte fast Solid State Drive that Windows 10 was installed on. The program lacks a "time left" indicator for the remaining scan time.
ESET Online Scanner displays all files it scans, a progress bar, the total scan time, and the scanned and infected files.
You get options to quarantine files or delete them right away, either way, the threats that they posed to system security and data are eliminated regardless of the option you select. Information can be copied to the clipboard, or saved to a text file on top of this.
The layout is not ideal as you cannot resize the program window. This means that you may have to scroll and expand columns of the results table to see the full path or the threat name. Additionally, there is no option to search for additional information on the Internet.
ESET Online Scanner is a handy on-demand scanner that you can run to get a second opinion scan. It works similarly to comparable programs such as Dr.Web CureIt, Kaspersky's AVZ Antiviral Toolkit, or Trend Micro's Anti-Threat Toolkit.
Most companies produce these on-demand scanners as advertisement for their paid products, and this is the case for ESET Online Scanner as well.
This does not mean that you cannot use the program once and without paying for ESET software, as it ships with all the tools required to quarantine and remove infected files from the computer system.
The reasoning is that if a program like ESET Online Scanner finds something that resident antivirus did not, that users may be inclined to switch fully to the product.
ESET paid programs did quite well in recent antivirus tests on sites such as AV Test.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.