Deborah Salmi

28 February 2014

How do I handle files that Avast can’t scan?

Some files cannot be scanned by Avast antivirus. Find out why.

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Question of the week: Last week I ran a complete Avast Antivirus scan on my desktop computer and when it finished, it gave me the message that some files could not be scanned because they were password protected. They all had the extension of .png, so I did a search of all programs by typing *.png and the items that came up were photos our grandson had posted to Facebook from his recent trip to Thailand.

My question is, are the .png files safe? If not, what should I do? I don't really like to have files on my computer that Avast cannot scan.

Thanks for your question. This is one that is commonly asked on the Avast Forum, so it’s useful to post the answer here too. Take a look at Avast evangelist Bob G.'s answer:

Files that can't be scanned are just that - files that for one reason or another cannot be scanned. It’s not an indication that those files are suspicious or infected; it simply means that these files need another element before they can actually be opened and examined by Avast Antivirus.

Many programs (often security-related) password protect their files for legitimate reasons. Avast doesn't know the password or have any way of using it even if it did. Once the password is supplied by whatever program is using these files, Avast will check the files when they are actually run. If it turns out that something is hidden, Avast will block it. While they are in their password-protected state, the files pose no threat to you or your system.

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