The QuickScan File

Article:TECH104802  |  Created: 2008-01-25  |  Updated: 2010-10-25  |  Article URL
Article Type
Technical Solution


You have run Symantec AntiVirus for Macintosh (or Symantec Endpoint Protection for Macintosh) and have seen that initial scanning of a volume takes some time, but subsequent scanning is much faster and you want to know why. Or, you have looked at the invisible files on your disk and want to know what is ".SymAvx86QSFile" or ".SymAVQSFile".



The QuickScan file tracks changes that allow the scan to complete more quickly.


SAV/SEP for Macintosh creates an invisible file at the root level of every drive the first time that it scans, which it refers to on subsequent scans. The size of this file depends on the number of files on the scanned drive. This file is named .SymAVQSFile (or .SymAvx86QSFile in the case of SEP). This is a default feature of SAV/SEP for Macintosh and cannot be disabled. The purpose of the file is to track changes made to the volume and give feedback on these changes to the AntiVirus program.

The QuickScan file is not known to have posed any problems to users of any version of SAV/SEP for Macintosh, although it is possible for the file to become corrupted. This information is simply provided to comply with all international laws requiring that users be advised of hidden (or invisible) files created on, or copied to, their hard drives.

You may want to delete a QuickScan file if the AntiVirus program stops responding during a scan. If the QuickScan file becomes corrupted, it may cause the scan stop responding during a scan. In this case, you can try deleting the QuickScan file, and scan again.

To Delete the QuickScan file:

NOTE: On the boot disk/partition, you will need to disable Auto-Protect first; otherwise the QuickScan file will be restored within 10 seconds. Re-enable Auto-Protect when the scan is complete. Other partitions or disks do not require Auto-Protect to be disabled first.

Via command line:

  1. Open Terminal.
  2. On the command line, type cd / to navigate to the root of the drive, then type ls -al to list all files. Resize the Terminal window if desired.
  3. Verify that you see .SymAVQSFile on the list of files. It will be near the top of the list with other files that start with a dot (.).
  4. On the command line, type, e.g.   sudo rm .SymAVQSFile
  5. Authenticate with your administrator password when prompted.
  6. Type ls -al to list all files again and verify that .SymAVQSFile is gone.
  7. Rescan the whole drive.

Via Graphic User Interface (GUI):

NOTE: You will need to show hidden and system files. Please see Technical Information for details on how to do this.

  1. Navigate to the root of the hard drive.
  2. Look for the hidden file called .SymAVQSFile
  3. Either click and drag the file to the Trash or control-click and choose Move To Trash.

    NOTE: You will be prompted to authenticate to complete the move to the trash.
  4. The next time a scan runs, the file will be created again.

Technical Information
Showing hidden and system files can be accomplished via the Terminal using the following command:

defaults write AppleShowAllFiles YES

After relaunching the Finder (hold down the Option key, click and hold down the mouse button on the Finder icon in the Dock, then choose "Relaunch" from the contextual menu that appears), those files and folders previously hidden will show. All icons may appear to be dimmed.

To hide hidden and system files again, repeat the same command, substituting YES with NO, then relaunch the Finder again.

Alternately, third party utilities such as TinkerTool can be used to change this setting via a graphical user interface.

Note: Exercise caution when removing hidden files, as removing important hidden files may cause other applications or the operating system itself to malfunction.

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Terms of use for this information are found in Legal Notices