How do I test a virus scanner?

Obviously no one wants to infect their computer just to make sure their anti-virus scanner is properly working. Following the steps below will create an EICAR test virus that will help identify if the anti-virus program you have installed is properly working and that it will prompt you for deletion when detected.

Note: This test virus is non-viral and will not damage your computer in any way. It is only meant as a method of testing your virus scanner.

How to create the a test virus

1. Create a new text file using Notepad or any text editor.

2. Open the text file and enter the below code as the text of the file.

X5O!P%@AP[4\PZX54(P^)7CC)7}$EICAR-STANDARD-ANTIVIRUS-TEST-FILE!$H+H*

3. After the above code has been entered save the file as an .exe file instead of a .txt file. For example, name the file test.exe instead of test.txt. Alternatively you can save the file as a .txt file and then rename the file after it has been saved.

Note: In order for this to work you must have Windows showing the file extensions. By default Windows may be trying to save the file as a .txt file even if you end your file with .exe. For example, the file may be saving as test.exe.txt instead of test.exe. If after saving or renaming the file the icon still looks like a notepad, it is not being saved as an executable file.

4. After the file has been saved the anti-virus should immediately prompt for action, similar to what is shown below. If you do not receive a prompt try highlighting the file, and then right-click and choose the option to scan the file with your scanner.

Virus warning box

If after following all of the above steps you do not receive any type of warning, your virus scanner is either not enabled or not working properly. We highly recommend either re-installing the installed antivirus scanner or trying an alternative virus scanner.

Additional information