The Windows 10 laptop that we bought nearly 18 months ago, for family use, goes through prolonged periods of inactivity. We all use it from time to time (our two children, my wife and I) but during the summer it was hardly used at all. We have a variety of tablets, I use a Mac Book Pro and Windows 7 netbook most days, and read and edit documents on my Windows 10 phone. Earlier today I dusted off the Windows 10 laptop, figuratively (it was surprisingly free of actual dust) and ran a full virus scan on it.
In many ways related to technology I am rather old-fashioned. I use the Cloud for storage and backup but still keep multiple backup copies of my files on USB sticks and external hard drives. I still keep up-to-date antivirus software on all of our PCs, and run full scans every now and then. Today’s scan in Windows 10 took between three and four hours. I had to pause it at one point, when we went to a school open evening, and resumed it tonight at around 7.30pm.
Last year I described Windows 10 as busy: it’s always doing something, and along the way it clearly generates an astonishing number of files. Earlier today I left the laptop scanning away and got on with other things, but would take a look every now and then as the “Number of files scanned” stretched past 100,000, then 200,000 and on past half a million. It reached 942,000 at 8.15pm. The next time I checked, at 8.45pm, the scan was finished and the number of files was no longer displayed. I have no idea what the final total was but there are definitely more than 942,000 files: at least 850,000 of them have been generated by Windows, a handful of installed Apps, and the browsers that we use. Between the four of us, in our combined lifetimes, we have produced fewer than 100,000 files that we would ever actively look for, and the majority of those are photos. We don’t generate thousands of spreadsheets, documents and presentations. In among the million or so computer files scanned by our antivirus software of choice there were two extremely low-level threats, tracking cookies that were probably harmless and have now been dealt with: one low-level (or possibly non-existent) threat for every 470,000 files. It looks like we’re safe for the time being.