Deleting vs Quarantining Malware: Which Is Best?

If your computer has been infected with malware, you can often resolve it by either deleting or quarantining the malicious files. Most anti-malware software can perform both of these operations. Whether you delete or quarantine the malware, it should resolve the problem by removing the threat from your computer.

With that said, deleting malware isn’t the same as quarantining it. Each method works in a different way, so it’s important to familiarize yourself between deletion and quarantining to determine which method is right for your computer.

The Basics of Deleting Malware

When anti-malware software gives you the option of deleting, it means the software will completely delete the malware. After the anti-malware software has identified the malware, it may give you the option of deleting it. You can choose this option, the software will wipe the malware from your computer.

The Basics of Quarantining Malware

Quarantining, on the other hand, doesn’t actually delete the malware. Instead, the anti-malware software will move the malware to a different location on your computer’s storage drive where it’s unable to interact with otherwise affect your computer’s legitimate files. The malware will technically still persist on your computer. When your quarantine it, however, it shouldn’t cause any noticeable symptoms. The quarantined malware will be moved to a new location to prevent it from adversely affecting your computer or data.

Choosing Between Deletion and Quarantining

Now that you know the differences between deletion and quarantining, you might be wondering which malware treatment solution is most effective. Because it’s the only method that actually removes malware, many business owners and consumers assume that deletion works best. While deleting malware can work in some instances, it’s not necessarily the best.

There are a few potential problems posed by deleting malware. First, not all malware consists of individual and separate files. Some forms of malware attach themselves onto your computer’s existing files. If the malware is embedded in a legitimate file and you delete it, you’ll remove both it and the legitimate file from your computer.

There’s also the possibility that the anti-malware software incorrectly identified as a legitimate file as being malicious. Most anti-malware software does a pretty good job at distinguishing between malicious and legitimate files. There are instances, however, when anti-malware software may wrongfully identify a legitimate file as malware. And if you proceed to delete the file, it may negatively affect your computer’s functionality or performance.