How to Handle False Positives in Antivirus Scans
3 mins read

How to Handle False Positives in Antivirus Scans

Antivirus software is essential for keeping your computer safe from malware and other threats. However, sometimes it can identify a harmless file as a threat. This is called a false positive. While false positives can be annoying, they are usually easy to handle. Here’s a simple guide on how to deal with false positives in antivirus scans.

A Computer screen showing a false antivirus positive scan
How to Handle False Positives in Antivirus Scans

Understanding False Positives

A false positive happens when your antivirus software mistakenly flags a safe file or program as malicious. This can occur due to a variety of reasons, such as a new software update, an unusual file signature, or overly aggressive scanning settings. While it’s good that your antivirus is thorough, false positives can disrupt your work and cause unnecessary worry.

Step 1: Confirm the False Positive

Before taking any action, you need to confirm that the file or program flagged by your antivirus is indeed a false positive. Here’s how you can do that:

  1. Research the File: Look up the file name or program online. Trusted sources and forums often provide information about known false positives.
  2. Check with VirusTotal: Upload the file to VirusTotal (, a free service that checks the file against multiple antivirus engines. If most engines mark it as safe, it’s likely a false positive.
  3. Review Antivirus Logs: Your antivirus software logs can provide details about why the file was flagged. Check these logs for more information.

Step 2: Report the False Positive

Once you confirm that the file is safe, report the false positive to your antivirus provider. Most antivirus programs have an option to report false positives directly from the software. Alternatively, you can visit the provider’s website and find a form or email address to submit your report. Reporting false positives helps improve the software’s accuracy for everyone.

Step 3: Whitelist the File or Program

To prevent your antivirus from flagging the file or program again, add it to the software’s whitelist or exclusions list. Here’s how you can do this:

  1. Open Antivirus Settings: Go to the settings or preferences section of your antivirus software.
  2. Find the Exclusions Section: Look for an option labeled “Exclusions,” “Exceptions,” or “Whitelist.”
  3. Add the File or Program: Enter the file path or program name to exclude it from future scans.

Step 4: Update Your Antivirus Software

Keeping your antivirus software up to date is crucial. Updates often include fixes for false positives and improve the software’s accuracy. Ensure that your antivirus program is set to update automatically, or check for updates regularly.

Step 5: Re-scan Your System

After whitelisting the file and updating your antivirus software, run a full system scan. This helps confirm that the issue has been resolved and ensures that there are no other potential threats on your computer.


Dealing with false positives in antivirus scans can be straightforward if you follow these steps. Confirm the false positive, report it to your antivirus provider, whitelist the file or program, update your software, and perform a full system scan. By handling false positives effectively, you can maintain the security of your computer without unnecessary disruptions.