Running Windows 8.1 and it has the Microsoft Windows Defender anti-virus running. Okay, but how can I force a scan?
Microsoft’s done a good job of learning from every other anti-virus and anti-malware program to create a simple, effective program that defends your Windows 8.1 PC computer from all the baddies out there, whether they’re old school attacks or sly hacks or macro viruses. It would have been nice to see Microsoft do this ten years ago, but that’s all water under that proverbial bridge, and the good news is that we’re not stuck with some of the more questionable third-party programs that sometimes seem like they might be malware themselves. 🙂
Before you do any sort of scan, of course, you should check to ensure that you have the most up-to-date virus definitions since rather alarmingly there are new viruses unleashed into the wild on almost a daily basis. That’s easy to do to.
To start, just bring up the charms bar and search for “antivirus”, simply enough:
Lo and behold, the #1 match is Windows Defender.
Cool. Click or tap on it to launch the program.
Right here from the home screen you can see how to perform a scan: simply click or tap on Scan now.
But first, confirm that you have the program enabled, as I do. If it doesn’t say “On” next to real-time protection, go to “Settings” and fix that (unless you’re running other anti-virus software, in which case you might want to evaluate which will do a better job of keeping you protected from malware. Running multiple real-time antivirus programs is just going to bog down your computer)
Also notice that my last scan was from months ago: 3/25/2015 and I’m running this test on 5/12/2015. Yikes. That’s a long time without a scan!
Before we do the quick scan, click or tap on “Update” to make sure the virus definitions are up-to-date:
Easy to click on “Update” even if it says it’s updated because, well, because those bad guys are earnest in their attempts to sneak bad software onto your computer.
Done? Click on “Home” and then “Scan now”.
If nothing is detected — our desired outcome! — then there’s no message indicating that the scan was clean or anything, so it can be rather disconcerting to just have it drop back to the home screen when done.
Closer examination, however, will confirm that the quick scan (which took about 4 minutes on my PC) finished without a problem detected:
If you do have malware detected, Windows Defender will step you through the process of cleaning things up, and good luck to you with that process. They can be insidious and hard to eradicate, unfortunately.