How to Conducting Full Malware Scan in Your System
Various types of malware can manifest as seemingly unrelated issues on Windows PCs, such as Blue Screens of Death, problems with DLL files, crashes, abnormal hard drive activity, unfamiliar pop-ups, and other critical Windows-related issues.
Since these are malicious programs intentionally designed to disrupt or harm your data, steal financial information, deprive you of your information, negatively impact network, servers, etc., thus you need to scan the system for malware regularly.
Scanning your system thoroughly for viruses and other malicious software, such as Trojan horses, rootkits, spyware, and worms, is an important troubleshooting step for resolving any software related issues.
Malware scan using Windows Security
Windows Security is a basic part of the Windows operating system which is designed to protect your device and data from malware attack. It is an in-built tool which is automatically disabled.
When you search for “Windows Defender” in the Start menu, it will lead you to Windows Security. Interestingly, Microsoft still commonly refers to its antivirus scanning as Windows Defender. It provides real-time and always-on antivirus protection against malware.
Ways to access Windows Security:
- Start Menu Search: Type Windows Security directly into the Start menu search.
- Via Settings Option: Go to Settings > Privacy & Security > Windows Security. Here, you will find an overview of your system’s security status. Click the Open Windows Security button for full access to the app.
Note: Windows Security was also known as Windows Defender Security Center.
You can scan for malware using 3 types of scans depending on the severity of the threat. The three scans are:
- Manual Scan- A manual scan allows you to target specific files and folders of your choice.
- Quick Scan- A quick scan checks key areas where malware often lurks during system startup, such as registry keys and known Windows startup folders.
- Advanced Scan- Advanced scan begins with a quick scan and then proceeds to sequentially scan all mounted fixed disks and removable/network drives (if configured).
Running Manual Malware Scan with Windows Defender
Follow these steps to perform a manual malware scan using Windows Defender if you have concerns about a particular file or folder on your local device:
- Right-click the file or folder in File Explorer.
- Select Scan with Microsoft Defender.
It is important to run a quick scan if you find any malware or viruses on your device.
Run Quick Scan with Windows Defender
Consider the steps mentioned below to perform a complete virus scan on Windows 10 & 11:
- Click the Start button on the taskbar.
- Type Windows Security in the search bar.
- Click on Virus & Threat Protection within the Windows Security app.
- Click on Scan under the Current Threats section.
- Select the Full scan option to thoroughly check your entire system for viruses and any other type of malware.
- Click on Scan Now to start the scan.
Microsoft Defender Antivirus will check the computer for viruses and other malicious software after the scan process is completed. If any threats are detected, the antivirus will automatically remove them to keep your system secure.
Run Advanced Scan with Microsoft Defender
Follow the below-mentioned steps to run an advanced scan in Windows security:
- Click on Start.
- Go to Settings.
- Go to Update & Security.
- Select Windows Security.
- Click on Virus & Threat Protection.
- Under Current threats, choose Scan options (or in early versions of Windows 10, under Threat history, select Run a new advanced scan).
Now, you have to pick one of the following scan options:
- Full scan: This checks all files and programs currently on your device.
- Custom scan: Use this to scan specific files or folders.
- Microsoft Defender Offline scan: This deep scan runs before Windows loads, catching especially sneaky malware. Learn more about Microsoft Defender Offline.
7. Finally, click Scan Now.
Malware Scan Using Microsoft Safety Scanner
Microsoft Safety Scanner is a Windows tool which is designed to scan and remove virus from Windows computers. It is basically useful when the system finds any type of malware. This tool scans for and removes various types of malware, such as viruses, spyware, and other unwanted software that could damage the computer. Safety Scanner does not come in Windows by default. You need to download it from the official Microsoft website.
Points to Consider:
- Microsoft Safety Scanner only runs when manually triggered.
- It expires 10 days after download. To use the latest definitions, re-download and run it.
- Safety Scanner is a portable executable and doesn’t appear in the Start menu or as a desktop icon.
- Safety Scanner complements but doesn’t replace your existing anti-malware product.
Run Malware Scan with Microsoft Safety Scanner
- Download Microsoft Safety Scanner and open it.
- Select the type of scan you wish to perform and initiate the scan.
- Review the scan results presented on your screen.
- For more comprehensive detection details, refer to the log located at %SYSTEMROOT%\debug\msert.log.