I am yet to see an anti-virus software that's using the native Windows theme. Why do they prefer custom skins over native windows skins? Does it have anything to do with security and/or consistency? Or is it just about the looks?

  • 2
    They like to think they're 'stand alone' and 'light weight'. Most, if not all, are not.
    – insidesin
    Aug 5, 2015 at 14:29

2 Answers 2


Some viruses replace AntiVirus software with fake duplicates that look the same way. That takes more effort when the AntiVirus software doesn't simply use the native skin.

  • I see similarity with bank notes. Do common users recognize genuine and fake anti virus dialogs correctly? I doubt it. Aug 5, 2015 at 15:38
  • I can guarantee that nearly 50% of StackOverflow's relatives have 'PC Scanner', 'PC Optimiser Plus' and other malware/scam trash on their PCs.
    – insidesin
    Aug 5, 2015 at 15:51
  • 3
    @insidesin Yes, right, relatives...**sobs quietly and presses uninstall**
    – MonkeyZeus
    Aug 5, 2015 at 17:56
  • I still cannot believe how CCleaner and other trash are able to build such giant fanbases
    – BlueWizard
    Aug 6, 2015 at 7:40
  • Oh yeah. That makes perfect sense. This also explains why they keep on changing the skin every now and then.
    – su8898
    Aug 6, 2015 at 7:53

The business of AV companies is confidence.

They sell you on the idea of auto-magic security, but have no actual way to show you that it works that way. Because, of course, it doesn't.

So they rely on the a set of design and interaction cues not entirely dissimilar to what a slot-machine maker would do. The overly-designed shell is just part of that pattern. Makes it real-er.

And the winnings of perfect automatic security seem so much closer, when it's all bells and whistles, wouldn't you agree?

There is no technical reason for this. But plenty of engagement, retention, and other reasons, all very commercial in nature. Taking apart a screenshot of a shell like that and putting it back together for a malicious purpose shouldn't scare a script-kiddie. That's part of what they do, don't they? Copy and paste.

  • Thanks for the answer. I agree most of the anti-virus skins gives us the sense of "auto-magic" security. But I must say at least some of them has crappy and cheap looking skins IMO. McAfee for example.
    – su8898
    Aug 6, 2015 at 8:01

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