I have been researching anti-virus apps and before choosing one I was wondering if I could get the same detection by using my Windows anti-virus.

I realize that an app will provide real-time protection, but aside from that, is there any difference in virus detection?


Not usefully. You need different software to run on your Android device to what you run on your Windows desktop because they use completely different formats for programs. An Android program is a different sort of beast to a Windows program.

A virus-scanner for Windows understands the format of Windows programs, and has a list of known viruses for Windows. If it looked at an Android program, it wouldn't understand what behaviour it would do, and it wouldn't find it in its list of Windows viruses.

The best you could do with a Windows virus-scanner is to scan the SD card of your Android device to see if it contains any Windows programs which would, if run on your Windows computer, be viruses. That's to say, it's exactly like virus-scanning a USB stick. It's only useful if you use your Android device as a USB stick, to transfer programs from one Windows computer to another.

  • Thanks, any suggestions for Android apps? – CheeseConQueso Jun 18 '13 at 0:30
  • 1
    @Op Do not use antivirus scanners on Android - they are nothing more than bloat and not work. Search on this site about it, its an often asked question, see this for example - take note of the comments in that question. – t0mm13b Jul 24 '13 at 20:44

Forgive me my sarcasm, but if you're looking for a virus on Android, you could also use a flatbed scanner :)

Honestly: No, you can't use your Windows AV program for that. If you really want to detect all malware possible sitting on your device, the app would need to access the entire device, including internal storage. Windows can't do that, as Android would not let it. Usually, only the SDCard(s) are exposed to an attached PC.

As for my initial sarcasm (which I hope you forgive me): the term "virus" is quite ambiguous. See this Wikipedia article:

A computer virus is a computer program that can replicate itself and spread from one computer to another.

There's nothing like that for Android. Which is, strictly speaking, an AV scanner is as effective as a flatbed scanner here (or vice-versa). The article continues:

The term "virus" is also commonly, but erroneously, used to refer to other types of malware, including but not limited to adware and spyware programs that do not have a reproductive ability.

So you're more likely looking for malware :) Still, you cannot do that from your Windows computer.

  • Thanks for the info. Forgiven, but I was using the word loosely. Any suggestions for Android apps for the cure? – CheeseConQueso Jun 18 '13 at 0:29
  • I never used any of those. And never had any trouble with malware. The only way to get malware onto your Android device is to actively install it, so "activated common sense" is the most effective AV app available. If you insist to have something like that, take a look at e.g. Avast Mobile Security & Antivirus or Lookout Security & Antivirus. – Izzy Jun 18 '13 at 5:55

Windows AV would scan threats against the its operating system, nothing more. Perhaps you may try a scan on SD card for hidden viruses but nothing else.

I suggest you try the following apps Antivirus Security AVG Lookout Security & Antivirus



if your phone is rooted windows can access all files includeing pre installed stuff on rom but however like most people said windows scanner is in windows code etc so scanning it would be useless but if rooted your pc can delete rom installed programes etc from the command line or a basic apk phone manegemnet programme like apk installer will do it as well

  • So what good should that be for? Are you saying "it can scan, but not find anything – but that doesn't matter as it at least can delete things"? I don't get it. – Izzy Nov 15 '13 at 23:54

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.