Scan for Viruses with Microsoft Security Essentials
For versions of Windows prior to Windows 8, use Microsoft Security Essentials to scan for viruses. Windows 8 computers have a built-in antivirus and spyware solution called Windows Defender.
- Download and install Microsoft Security Essentials.
- When first installing, Microsoft Security Essentials should update to the latest definitions. The icon in the system notification area at the bottom-right of the screen should look like this:
- Double-click the Security Essentials icon in the system notification area to open the Microsoft Security Essentials application.
- Select which type of scan should be performed: Quick, Full, or Custom. Quick will scan commonly accessed and exploited locations on a system. Full will scan every file and folder and a system. This is the most comprehensive scan, and takes the longest amount of time. Custom will scan files and folders in locations selected by the user.
- Click Scan Now to begin the scanning process.
- The scanning progress is displayed, including the number of items that have been scanned, the overall progress, and the current item being scanned. The scan can be cancelled at any time by clicking the Cancel Scan.
The icon for Microsoft Security Essentials in the system notification area (bottom-right of the screen) will turn green when it is up-to-date and the computer is being regularly scanned. It may turn red if the computer is at risk of infection. Open Security Essentials and follow the in-app instructions to resolve any problems if the icon turns red.