McAfee Internet Security - How to Setup a Scheduled Scan

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Learn how to set up a scheduled scan with McAfee Internet Security. Setting scheduled scans is one of the best ways you can ensure the protection of your PC from malicious activity, including viruses and spyware. 

This article will provide insight into:



While we have provided the following support information, we want to ensure that our customers receive the best possible support for their third-party hardware and software by speaking with the experts. The best way to resolve your third-party issue is to use support resources from the original manufacturer or developer. If the following information does not answer your question, please visit McAfee Support.

How to set up a Scheduled Scan
  1. Open McAfee Internet Security 12.8 on your computer
  2. Select Virus and Spyware Protection
  3. Choose Scheduled Scans
  4. Select Schedule Your Scan
  5. Input your schedule preferences:
    • Select a Schedule, or
    • Create my own scan schedule
  6. Once you have chosen your scheduled scan preferences, select Apply
  7. You can also choose to exclude certain files and folders from the scan by selecting the Exclude Files and Folders option from within the Scheduled Scans menu


McAfee Internet Security How to Setup a Scheduled Scan

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Troubleshooting Scheduled Scans - Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some answers to commonly asked questions about the McAfee Scheduled Scans


Q: My McAfee Scheduled Scan takes an extremely long length of time to complete.

A: By default “Scan Using Minimal Resources” is enabled for scheduled scans in the “Schedule Your Scan” options page.  This feature limits the speed in which the scan will be completed, by lowering the impact of performance on your system during the scan.  By disabling this feature your scan times will substantially decrease in time taken to complete, but the computer could be very slow for the entire duration of the scan.  Disabling this setting is only recommended for users who have their computer running these scheduled scans while the computer is not in use (eg, overnight).

It is recommended to exclude (or disconnect) any external hard drives or network drives for scheduled scans.  These devices will take a considerably longer time to scan, compared to internal storage.  This can be done by adding these paths to the Excluded Files and Folders list within the Scheduled Scan Settings.  Please note… McAfee will not allow users to exclude the Windows folder, Program Files folders, or the primary hard drive (as a whole) where Windows is installed.


Q: My McAfee Scheduled Scan doesn’t always start at the requested time.

A: First we need to ensure the computer is not turned off, in standby, or a hibernate mode for when these scans are scheduled to start.  If the computer is not on, the scan will be delayed until the next time the PC is on and idle.  If this is a laptop, by default McAfee Scheduled Scan Settings requires it to be plugged into power for the Scheduled Scan to start.  By default McAfee is set to only run scheduled tasks (Scans, Updates, etc) when the computer is considered to be idle, but this setting can be changed.

To force scans to start at the requested time (as long as the PC is turned on) please complete the following steps


  1. Open McAfee Security Center from your desktop or system tray icon.
  2. Click “Navigation” on the right of the main screen.
  3. Click “General Settings and Alerts” on the left of this navigation options screen.
  4. Click the “General Settings” drawer.
  5. Click (to uncheck) the “Wait until my PC is idle to run scheduled tasks like scans, automatic updates, and QuickClean” option.

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