Google’s VirusTotal Service Lets You Scan Your Files on Almost 40 Different Platforms

virustotal homepage 2016

False positives are the cases when we think the file is good enough while the anti-virus treats it as malicious one. We all have faced such problems where we can’t be sure about effectiveness of the antivirus tool. As such, VirusTotal is a protection service from Google that scan your files on about 40 different antivirus services all at once, making sure the data is completely harmless.

What is VirusTotal?

virustotal homepage 2016

VirusTotal is a free online tool that scans your files or links on 40-odd antivirus frameworks including names like Kaspersky, Opera, Avira and more. You can upload any type of file, even the system’s firmware files to get checked for infection.

The duration for the virus check is also pretty quick though it will take some time if the file size is on the higher side. This tool does not download the files when you provide a link, therefore, it won’t damage your hard drives before you perform a virus check.

That being said, please note that VirusTotal is not full fledged anti-virus program that you can install. It runs on cloud and checks for only the files you decide to upload.

How to use VirusTotal?

#. Using the Website (Scanning on cloud)

The steps for using VirusTotal are quite straightforward. Head over to to begin. Here you can upload files (maximum size 128 MB) that you want to scan or directly put URL of the file, if you’re yet to download.

One of the biggest advantages this tool has is the database of every other user that ever performed a similar scan. This basically helps if you need to get facts about a particular file through the search functionality, which is accessible from the “Search” tab on the homepage.

As soon as you hit that “Scan it” button, VirusTotal instantly performs a scan and pops up a box that shows a brief report and an option to view the comprehensive analysis of either the last analysis or to reanalysed again.

The tool shows all the platforms used to scan your file with the intact details. There is also a little diagram on the right generated from user’s votes that tell you how harmful/safe the file actually is.


You can explore the technical information by going into the “File detail” section or the “Additional information” page, the latter one also mentions when that particular file was first scanned on the website.

There’s even a community you can join to get all the latest news and updates, it also gives you the power to comment/vote on a file’s integrity or interact with other members.

#. Using the Desktop Tool

Now, if using a website to upload suspected files isn’t really your cup of tea, there’s a neat little desktop tool that lets you send files/processes/links to the online portal. The scanning still happens online as it needs to gather information from many other sources. The best part of using the desktop tool is it’s ability to upload a running process which is just fantastic.


The analysis will still be accessible online only. So you absolutely need an internet connection.

VirusTotal has even made its statistics available publicly. It holds graphs and charts that represent different file types, how many scans were performed in the past week and even countries from where those uploads came.

VirusTotal started as an independent anti-virus aggregater site in 2004, few of the first online scan engines. In 2012, Google acquired them and since then it is operating as Google’s subsidiary.

VirusTotal is free and unbiased service. It could be very useful if you want to make double sure that something is not infected. Do let us know if we missed something down in the comment section.

Related: Improve Google account security with 2 Factor Authentication

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Filed under Google. Posted by Abhishek and last updated on February 8, 2016.

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