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Frequently asked questions

Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about malware but were afraid to ask. Here’s a round up of the most common questions we get asked. And the answers we give!

What’s the difference between malware, viruses and trojans?

Malware is the generic name for computer threats. A virus is a self-replicating, self-propagating, malicious piece of software designed to destroy files and folders on a computer system. These are mercifully rare these days. A trojan is a piece of software that pretends to be legitimate and useful but installs other software (without your knowledge) to open up a ‘back door’ to your computer – this allows a hacker to access your files and, theoretically, your entire computer system. A computer infected by a trojan typically becomes part of a botnet. Trojans are the primary mechanism of malware delivery today. 

What’s phishing?

Phishing primarily concerns emails designed to fool you into believing they’re legitimate so that you follow links to a website and enter private information. Such websites will typically look like a bank and prompt you to provide personal information like your username, password, credit card number etc. Legitimate emails from a bank or financial institution should never ask you to click links to their website; in fact, they’ll usually say “Go to our website and log in.” Phishing can be very convincing, especially if you actually have an account with the company being spoofed. Don’t be fooled. Any doubts, call the company using a phone number you’ve already got and which you know is correct.

What’s the best way to update ClamXAV when a new version is available?

Launch ClamXAV, go to the menu and select Check for ClamXAV updates. That’s it. It’ll do the rest for you.

How do I purchase ClamXAV?

ClamXAV is available exclusively through our online store. Your registration details will be sent to you by email and you should print this out and keep it in a safe place.

Do you offer an educational discount?

Yes, a discount is available to staff and students of approved educational institutions to purchase ClamXAV for your domestic and personal use. Please visit the Education Store to purchase with a discount.

Where do I download my registered copy of ClamXAV?

You can download the most up-to-date version of ClamXAV at any time from the downloads page. Your registration details and instructions will be sent to you by email.

How long is the licence valid for?

If you purchase ClamXAV v2, all subsequent updates to v2.x will be free and you can continue to use v2 for as long as you like. Major upgrades (e.g. to v3 or v4) would be paid-for, however a discounted upgrade path would be available for existing licence-holders.

Can I purchase one licence of ClamXAV for use on multiple Macs in my household or do I have to buy one for each Mac?

A single Personal or Education Licence for ClamXAV can be installed and used for your domestic and personal use on any computer you own or lease
Commercial Licences for ClamXAV may be installed and used for your internal business purposes within a single organisation on the number of computers specified in your order with us and listed in your registration details.

Do you offer a volume licensing program?

Yes, please visit our Commercial Store for information on volume discounts. If you would like to order in excess of 150 units, please get in touch with our sales team.

Why isn’t ClamXAV on the Mac App Store?

There are a number reasons why we had to remove ClamXAV from the AppStore, we have a separate page explaining them.

What is your returns/refunds policy?

Our refunds policy is visible on our Sales Terms & Conditions.

Can I scan my entire hard drive?

Absolutely! It should already be listed in our Source List. If not, just click the plus (+) button in ClamXAV’s main window and add it to your Source List. Then just scan as if it were any other file or folder.

Why is the scan taking so long?

A scan of your entire hard drive shouldn’t take more than an hour or so (it may take longer if you have a large amount of data on the drive). If it’s taking considerably longer than that, please check that you’re not scanning your Time Machine/Time Capsule backup disk. This will simply take too long and provides only minimal protection as it’s not actually possible to remove any malware that ClamXAV finds on a Time Machine/Time Capsule disk – the only software that can modify one of those backups is Apple’s Time Machine software itself. The best thing to do is to scan your hard drive now, to remove any malware which might currently be present, and any infected files in your backups will simply get deleted in due course as your backup disk runs out of space.

I bought ClamXAV through the Mac App Store – do I need to buy it again?

Um… actually, the version of ClamXAV that used to be available in the Mac App Store was free! It’s no longer available from there so yes, you will need to pay for it this time around.

Will other anti-virus scanners cause conflicts with ClamXAV?

Some incompatibilities have been reported with other anti-virus products so we’d always recommend having only one on your Mac at any one time.

I’ve got a suspicious file but ClamXAV didn’t find any malware – what do I do?

Send us your suspicious file and we’ll check it out for you. And equally, if you’ve got a file that you KNOW has malware and wasn’t picked up by us, send us that suspicious file too and we’ll sort it out as soon as possible.

I can’t get the download to work – the file says it’s corrupt or invalid!

For some reason, your computer has failed to download the entire file. Try to download it again and, for good measure, try using a different browser. 

ClamXAV picked up a virus in my Word documents – what do I do?

Although one way to remove the infection is simply to delete the infected file, this isn’t always feasible and may not actually solve the problem anyway. What you want to do is quit all your office programs (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Entourage etc) and delete Word’s Normal file (which you’ll find in Home Folder/Documents/Microsoft User Data/Normal). Now, empty the trash, open up Word again, go to Word Menu/Preferences/Security and put a tick in the box under Macro Security. Open each of your infected Word documents in turn and click Disable Macros when the warning comes up. Then copy and paste the contents into a new document and delete the original.

ClamXAV Sentry spotted a virus in my browser’s cache – is this serious?

If you’ve set ClamXAV Sentry to watch your browser’s cache and it’s found a scam site there, then this means you may have visited a scam or phishing website recently. And yes, it could be serious! These sites usually look like banks or other transactional sites, but are designed to steal your personal information. If you get this warning, make absolutely sure that any website addresses look legitimate and, if you spot anything odd, like a spelling mistake (Paypall instead of Paypal for example) close the window asap. If you’ve already given your name or password to the site then go to the real website and change them immediately.

I can’t get Sentry to launch at startup/login!

You’ll need to quit ClamXAV and go to System Preferences/Accounts /Login Items and remove ClamXAV Sentry from the list. Then go back into ClamXAV’s Preferences and set the Launch at Login preference again.

ClamXAV scanned my Mac and found 1743 errors – what are they and how do I fix them?

These are not actually ‘errors’ but are usually files you don’t have ‘read access’ to. They may belong to another user or to the system. Either way, they’re unlikely to be anything to be concerned about.

What files does Sentry log?

ClamXAV Sentry logs all files being scanned but manual scanning with the main ClamXAV application will only log infected files. If you’d like clean files to be logged too, use the following expert preference:

defaults write LogCleanFiles -bool YES; killall cfprefsd

How do I uninstall ClamXAV completely?

First of all, quit ClamXAV Sentry (if you use it) and make sure it’s not set to launch at log in. Then simply drag to the trash; after a few seconds you’ll see a message asking if you would also like to uninstall the scanning engine. If this doesn’t happen, you can download the uninstaller and run it manually. The uninstaller will remove the scanning engine and any schedules you’ve got set up. But we’ll be sorry to see you go.