Video Screencast Help

The "Startup Scan" -- is it a useless waste of time?

Created: 17 Apr 2013 • Updated: 17 Apr 2013 | 1 comment

I have some older computers I need to support, and one problem I have with these machines is the Symantec antivirus Startup Scan. It makes these machines just crawl when people are trying to logon. It can take several minutes of hard drive grinding for the desktop to appear after they logon to the domain.

I am trying to figure out what useful thing the Startup Scan actually does, and I'm having a really hard time justifying why it should be done at all, for any machine. It doesn't seem to be doing anything all that beneficial, that the realtime scanning isn't already going to be doing anyway.


Is there any real point to scanning every Windows system file, as fast as possible, when users are trying to logon, just to get to work? Why scan system files the users don't actually need to use right now, and actually might never use during their current logon session?

If the users do need to use some windows system files.... those files will be scanned anyway by the realtime scanner when they are accessed later.


Also it is unclear if the realtime scanner provides any sort of speed improvement for users, or whether that is the intended goal at all. If a file is initially scanned by the Startup Scan, is it then not scanned if accessed later? Or is a file scanned every time it is opened regardless of previous scans?

If it's the latter case, then the Startup scan really just seems to be a way to make the machine slower..... for no particularly good reason.


I don't see what the Startup Scan is trying to accomplish, at all. It apparently should be disabled by default for everyone, and is nothing more than a way to justify marketing copy of the "protection features" of the software...

Operating Systems:

Comments 1 CommentJump to latest comment

ᗺrian's picture

If you already run a scheduled scan and have auto-protect enabled than I would disable the startup scan as it will obviously improve performance and may prove to be redundant. If you worked for a defense contractor or a top secret corp. where high security is needed than this may be needed.

This article may be beneficial to you:

Adjusting scans to improve computer performance

padding: 1px;padding-bottom: 3px ;font: 12px Arial; text-align: left;">Article:HOWTO80964 padding: 1px;font: 12px Arial; text-align: left;"> |  padding: 0px;font: 12px Arial; text-align: left;">Created: 2012-10-24 padding: 1px;font: 12px Arial; text-align: left;"> |  padding: 1px;font: 12px Arial; text-align: left;">Updated: 2013-01-30 padding: 1px;font: 12px Arial; text-align: left;"> |  padding: 1px;font: 12px Arial; text-align: left;">Article URL

I don't believe the startup scan is a full scan. It only scans the most common load points where malware likes to reside.

But again, Auto-protect and a weekly scheduled scan will handle all of this.

Please click the "Mark as solution" link at bottom left on the post that best answers your question. This will benefit admins looking for a solution to the same problem.