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Is it necessary to disable virus scanner during TeX Live installation, and if so, why?

  • I hope there is no virus. :-) – kiss my armpit Aug 30 '12 at 9:47
  • It probably speeds up the installation, as there are thousands of files to scan. – Juri Robl Aug 30 '12 at 10:34
  • a better question would be "is it necessary to disable virus scanner during TeX Live installation, and if so, why?" – barbara beeton Aug 30 '12 at 12:05
  • If it was necessary, the message would say 'You need to disable...' – Paweł Rumian Aug 30 '12 at 15:03
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    I'm late for the party, but I'll tell a funny story that happened to a friend: she asked me to help her install MiKTeX on a Windows 7 machine. For some reason, the installation always halted at the middle without no further details. Every time. At the end of the day, I found out that a process in charge of handling icon overlays for TortoiseSVN (or one of the other tortoises) was clashing with the install. I disabled the icon overlay feature from TortoiseSVN and MiKTeX installed like a charm. :) – Paulo Cereda Sep 4 '12 at 1:34

Sometimes during installation, there are problems when unarchiving (more precisely, untaring) some packages, which make the installation fail. These problems are hard to reproduce with enough reliability to be understood and fixed, but are still somewhat frequent (according to reports of installation failure on windows on the TeX Live list).

One probable explanation for these problems is that the antivirus locks some newly created files or directories before the installer is finished with them, so access is denied to the installer and installation fails.

So, my advice is: try first with antivirus on, then if it fails for unexpected reasons (which excludes network problems, for example), disable the antivirus before trying again. By the way, this is not at all specific to installing, the same applies for upgrading.


TeXLive installation consist of tens of thousands of files.

If you have downloaded the installation package from an official site it is almost certainly virus-free, so you can speed up the installation process by disabling antivirus software.

Still I do not think it is important :)

  • "almost certainly" :-) – kiss my armpit Aug 30 '12 at 11:49
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    This is what most of us do think. Still, it would be nice to have some official explanation. – yo' Aug 30 '12 at 12:33
  • I did not disable the virus scanner on my PC when installing TeX Live 2012, and there was no problem. But for other virus scanners there might be a problem. Is says "Best to disable", not "You must disable". You could just try it, and if it does not work, disable the scanner and try again. – Stephen Aug 30 '12 at 14:46

I would guess they are worried about some antivirus software program falsely flagging a file as having a virus and wrecking the installation, or even preventing the installation program from working correctly. McAfee is particularly notorious for doing both.

  • Antivirus programs are snake oil. – Reinstate Monica - M. Schröder Aug 31 '12 at 16:44
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    @MartinSchröder Really? All of them? Obviously they are far from being a modern day incarnation of Panacea but to dismiss them all as mere scams seems to go somewhat beyond what reality could support. – cfr Apr 4 '15 at 1:39

Yes - I had to temporarily disable McAfee Real Time Scanning to get the install to work.

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