I installed ClamAV via Terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T) with:

sudo apt-get install clamav

but how can I scan for viruses?

2 Answers 2



At first you have to update the virus definitions with:

sudo freshclam

Then you can scan for viruses.

clamscan OPTIONS File/Folder 

If necessary start with root permissions: sudo clamscan.


  • To check all files on the computer, displaying the name of each file:

    clamscan -r /
  • To check all files on the computer, but only display infected files and ring a bell when found:

    clamscan -r --bell -i /
  • To scan all files on the computer but only display infected files when found and have this run in the background:

    clamscan -r -i / &

    Note - Display background process's status by running the jobs command.

  • To check files in the all users home directories:

    clamscan -r /home
  • To check files in the USER home directory and move infected files to another folder:

    clamscan -r --move=/home/USER/VIRUS /home/USER
  • To check files in the USER home directory and remove infected files (WARNING: Files are gone.):

    clamscan -r --remove /home/USER
  • To see more options:

    clamscan --help


Graphical User Interface: ClamTK Install clamtk

ClamTk is a frontend for ClamAV. You can install it via Terminal with:

sudo apt-get install clamtk

You can get the latest version from Bitbucket as Debian package.

There is also a PPA (Outdated):

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:landronimirc/clamtk
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install clamtk

clamtk screenshot

Scan Menu: Here you can choose a file, folder or a device for scanning

clamtk scan menu screenshot

View Menu:

clamtk view menu screenshot

Quarantine Menu:

clamtk quarantine menu screenshot

Advanced Menu:

clamtk advanced menu screenshot

Help Menu: Here you can check for updates.

clamtk help menu screenshot


  • 12
    I think it's a mistake to not create at leat man page for clamav, wich is the name of the package.
    – m3nda
    Jun 23, 2015 at 3:06
  • 8
    If you want to check all files of the system, then you should use clamscan -r --bell -i --exclude-dir="^/sys" / because in /sys/ are no real files and not excluing it would cause reading errors. askubuntu.com/questions/591964/clamav-cant-read-file-error
    – Adam
    Dec 6, 2016 at 13:54
  • 2
    sudo freshclam ERROR: /var/log/clamav/freshclam.log is locked by another process ERROR: Problem with internal logger (UpdateLogFile = /var/log/clamav/freshclam.log).
    – Dmitriy
    Mar 15, 2018 at 9:58
  • @Dmitriy What has it to do with the answer? It's a specific problem. Maybe you should ask a new question with your detailed problem.
    – BuZZ-dEE
    Mar 15, 2018 at 12:44
  • 2
    @Dmitriy You are probably getting this error because freshclam is already running. See this answer: askubuntu.com/a/909276/338982 Jul 19, 2018 at 8:15

The accepted answer is a great answer, but every time I reach this page, it's a pain to find the command I want from the clutter of information. So just providing a concise answer to the question:

sudo apt-get install -y clamav; sudo freshclam

To scan all folders in your computer (except /sys):

clamscan -r -i --exclude-dir="^/sys" --bell / 

To scan specific folders or files, you have to create a file in which you list out which files/folders you want to scan, and tell clamav where to find that file:

clamscan -r -i --bell --file-list=/home/nav/ClamScanTheseFolders.txt

My ClamScanTheseFolders.txt contained:

  • 2
    Nice. But that should be two dashes before exclude: --exclude Nov 19, 2017 at 18:33
  • There is still an issue with double dashes before exclude. It does not work after copying and pasting into terminal window Sep 1, 2018 at 6:37
  • Does this require a running instance of the clamav-daemon ? Dec 20, 2021 at 12:55
  • 2
    @SumitKumar No. clamscan doesn't need the daemon running. clamdscan does (but is faster because you don't have to load the definitions every time.) Mar 7, 2023 at 15:47

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