DAW Antivirus Software in 2023

Hello, I know it is best to run my DAW on a computer isolated from the internet, which I do 90% of the time. Yet, with our world becoming more connected and the demand to turn around projects quicker, I can save significant time by handling files and small task from my windows main computer where cubase is located instead of always transferring to a separate machine to interface with the outside world.

My question, what antivirus software are you using in 2023 if you have gone down this path? I know antivirus will impact audio performance. I’m looking to squeeze every moment of efficiency out of my day. Thanks.

My DAW is online all the time. I take cloud backups (even the projects I’m working with are backed up to cloud in the background) and run F-Secure antivirus software without file exclusions, all running while working in DAW (Cubase Pro/Nuendo 12).

I have had no technical problems whatsoever with this setup, everything is running smoothly at 128 samples buffer / 48KHz / 24-bit. (Windows 11 23H2 that is, have not used my mac in a while)

Absolutely none except the built-in Windows stuff.


Thanks @steve Do you share files with clients or conduct any type of exchange with the outside world (apart from updating software) from your main DAW computer?

Right now I’m extreme, I don’t even check email from my main computer.

Yes. I use a this service: Sync | Secure Cloud Storage, File Sharing and Document Collaboration

Thanks @steve again. I’ll check it out to see if it fit my workflow.

I’ve never had the luxury of dedicating a computer as a DAW (for both space and budgetary reasons), so my computer is used for everything from email to web browsing to Adobe apps and lots more. I’ve used Windows Defender, the built-in malware protection in Windows 10 (and assumedly 11, unless they’ve renamed it again – I think they had another name during Windows 7 days), for years now without issues, both on the security and performance fronts.

One thing that I do to help on the DAW performance front, though, is set up an exclusion in Windows Defender for files loaded by Cubase13.exe. This doesn’t exempt the files from being scanned when installed or accessed otherwise, only when they are loaded by the Cubase process during operation. (It also doesn’t exclude Cubase itself from being checked when it loads, but that is a minor consideration compared to thousands of plugins and whatever else might be loaded – sample library files, perhaps? – that Defender might scan on access.)

Like Steve I use only the built-in Windows protection. So far it seems to have worked very well. The footprint seems very small.

I also download and upload Terabytes worth of data every month to and from clients as well as to cloud backup (Backblaze) plus use Outlook services, Soundly for sound fx, and finally Netflix / YouTube for news and entertainment.

Zero problems so far. Specs in sig.

@rickpaul thanks, i will search how to do these exceptions since i’m on windows 10 as well.

@MattiasNYC I will check out Backblaze. I appreciate all the help and insight into your workflow.

It’s pretty easy:

Go into Windows Security, then Virus & threat protection. Then Virus & threat protection settings/Manage settings. Scroll down to Exclusions, then add or remove exclusions. Accept the permissions prompt, then click Add an exclusion. Make sure to pick Process as the exclusion type:


Finally, enter cubase13.exe as the process name and click the Add button.


@rickpaul got it! Thanks

On Windows, I still find ESET to be my preferred solution with no measurable impact on my DAW apps. I have also recently tested Bitdefender on some DAW machines, and it has behaved well too.

These days it’s almost essential to be connected to the Internet for some percentage of time, so I prefer a third party tool over MS native stuff.

Good luck.

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Thanks @uarte I have heard of ESET before but my research didn’t show a significant difference unless you bought their top tier service which included banking services, shredder, etc and is also beneficial if on a mac since windows built in security is not available for mac computers

From a test conducted by AV Comparatives, an independent company that test antivirus software, they claim to have tested windows defender and ESET for Malware Protection Test and the Real World Protection Test.

The Real World Protection Test - (threats on the internet and malicious websites.) July and October 2021. Of 743 test malware files, Microsoft Defender blocked 741 threats and achieved a 99.7% protection score. ESET Smart security premium blocked 735 of the threats achieving a protection score of 98.9%.

Both Windows Defender and ESET scored 100% on the Malware Protection Test.

@uarte In your real world experiences, what benefit are you getting in an audio production environment by adding ESET on top of Windows? (if you are not on a mac) Thanks for taking the time to chime in.

I also prefer to use ESET Internet Security for years now! Very easy on the processor and a minimum on detection of stupid false positives. And of course you can also exclude your main music directories from being scanned all the time.


Ever tried a vpn for your devices connected to the worldwideweb? I use Proton, but there are also other services probably cheaper

A vpn hides your location and your real IP, but it doesn’t stop you from getting Malware. So a Virus Scanner is still a good idea.

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depends on the service to use. when the connected servers are strictly protected it’s a usefull first wall protection, beside tolls you should use also on a not to the www connected device. usb sticks are a real danger e.g.

To be clear, and for the benefit of anyone finding this page via search, etc.,
VPNs are not meant to protect from malware and viruses.

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Don’t rely on that, they do not stop you from visiting websites that contain malicious links and don’t check what you are downloading. If they do you have no clue if that what you see is really what it should be and I do not want to have a system in front that decides for me what is good or bad.