By now you should have a pretty clear idea of the type of antivirus you want to use for your computer. But once it detects a virus, the big question is this: should you quarantine or delete? There are a few differences between the two, and knowing those might help you choose which you want.
When Should You Quarantine a Virus?
The process of quarantining a virus through antivirus software means moving it into a safe location that is administered by the software, but at the same time does not clean or delete it. This means that the virus will not be able to affect your device anymore, but nor is it permanently removed either.
The files that are stored in the quarantine area are only deleted if you wanted them to be. The user will need to either instruct the antivirus to delete these malicious files or do so manually. A file can be kept in the quarantine section indefinitely, however if it is an important one, it should be cleaned so that you can use it again.
Some antivirus software stores the infected quarantined files in certain labs where they are analyzed by the provider’s researchers and, if a virus is detected, then they release a signature that will eliminate the malware. After that, the cleaned files are automatically sent back to their initial location and can be used normally.
When Should You Delete a Virus?
By deleting a virus you are actually entirely eliminating the infected files from your PC, which means that you will not be able to use them in the future. Usually it is recommended to delete a virus only if the antivirus specifically points out that it is safe to do so. This should be after undergoing your own research and acknowledging that the file is useless and you are absolutely convinced that it is a virus or there is no other choice.
If you notice a piece of software does not run because a file is in quarantine, then it is up to you to decide whether to restore or add it to the antivirus’s exceptions. Many times it may be that the virus is sent to the provider’s support team to analyze it and, if it proves to be a healthy file after all, they will upgrade the antivirus to become familiar with its file signature.
Therefore, a quarantined virus is entirely harmless as long as it remains in the quarantine. However, if it makes you feel better and you’re absolutely certain your system doesn’t need it anymore, then delete it.