Updating ClamWin

Updating ClamWin essentially consists of two parts: Obtaining the latest Anti-Virus updates, and also applying updates to the actual software itself.

Database Updates

Updates to the Anti-Virus definitions are typically performed automatically. This can be, and should be, updated automatically. The section on Configuring ClamWin mentions an “Internet Updates” tab containing options for setting this up.

Database updates may be obtained outside of the main ClamWin software by obtaining http://database.clamav.net/main.cvd and http://database.clamav.net/daily.cvd and then those files may be applied by placing those files into the location which ClamWin uses. ClamWin shows and specifies this location in the “ClamWin Preferences” on the tab called “File Locations”. The value of this may be C:\ProgramData\.clamwin\db or “C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\.clamwin\db”. There is also a FreshClam.exe (in the bin\ subdirectory under where the program was installed) and it has command line parameters --daemon, --install, and --uninstall, as well as others shown with --help.

Software/Program Updates

Updates to the program typically are performed after the software performs a check and then announces, through a message notification, that a new version is available. The user then needs to obtain the newer version of the software manually. These alerts about a new version are enabled by having a checkbox checked, which is checked by default, and that checkbox can be found on the “Internet Updates” tab of “ClamWin Preferences”. It is called “Notify About New ClamWin Releases”. Typically the new versions of the software include bug fixes, include other stability increases, and/or change how malware is detected so that hopefully more malware can be successfully detected. Therefore, these updates are generally recommended.

If a notification window (such as what is seen in the following picture)...

... pops up, then selecting Download will cause ClamWin to open up the default web browser, and may go to a URL such as “http://www.clamwin.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=132&version=0.95.3&source=sf” (where the quotes are not part of the URL, and the version number given reflects the installed version number).

Installing isn't quite as easy as pressing that Download button. That Download button simply causes ClamWin to open up a web page. So the user would still need to be able to download and install the updated software. (This means a user would need to have the security permissions to make such changes to the anti-virus software, which might not be a desirable thing.)

At the time of this writing, such manual efforts were known to be necessary, as there wasn't any more automated solution for updating the actual software. (The databases can be updated, but the software may not be quite so easy to effectively automate.) Naturally, experienced commercial service providers may prefer not to have users be alerted about a need to perform software maintenance, so they may be tempted to turn off the “Notify About New ClamWin Releases” option, which may be a perfectly fine thing to do if there is another (possibly commercial) automated software solution that is being used to keep ClamWin up to date. Surely such a feat can be performed with some degree of being automated. Such a task is just simply a feature that has not been built directly into the ClamWin software.

(This lack of automatic update capabilities may be one reason why some commercial IT support departments have been reluctant to use such sofware. They didn't want to go through a hassle of automating a solution, when they could instead just convince a company to pay money for a solution that provided built-in maintenance.)