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Using Windows Defender to Prevent Malware Problems (Windows 7)

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This document applies to HP and Compaq computers with Windows 7.
Windows Defender helps protect your computer against pop-ups, slow performance, and security threats caused by spyware and other malicious software (malware). This document explains how to scan for and remove malicious software using Windows Defender.

Enabling Windows Defender in Windows 7

To enable Windows Defender, connect to the Internet and perform the following steps:
  1. Click Start , and then type defender into the Search box. Then click Windows Defender.
    Figure 1: Opening Windows Defender
    Opening Windows Defender through the Search box
  2. Windows Defender displays its status on the Home page. If Real-time protection is On, proceed to the next section to open Windows Defender. If Real-time protection is Off, continue with the next step to enable Windows Defender.
    Figure 2: Windows Defender
    Windows Defender
  3. Click Tools, and then click Options.
  4. Select Real-time protection, and then place a check next to Use real-time protection (recommended).
    Figure 3: Windows Defender Options
    Windows Defender Options
  5. Click Save.

Opening Windows Defender in Windows 7

Use these steps to open Windows Defender:
  1. Click Start , and then type defender into the Search box. Then click Windows Defender.
    Figure 4: Opening Windows Defender
    Opening Windows Defender through the Search box
  2. The top of the page lists any potentially unwanted or harmful software that Windows Defender has detected:
    • If Windows Defender does not detect any unwanted or harmful software, no action is required.
    • If Windows Defender detects potentially harmful software, Windows Defender displays more detailed information so that you can decide to remove or temporarily disable the program that was found.
    Figure 5: Windows Defender
    Windows Defender window

Scanning for malware with Windows Defender

You can use Windows Defender to run a quick scan of your computer or a full system scan. If you suspect malware in a specific area of your computer, use Windows Defender to run a custom scan on individual drives and folders. To run a quick scan, click Scan at the top of the page. For other scan options, click the arrow next to Scan.
Figure 6: Scan options
Scan options

Running a quick scan with Windows Defender

A quick scan checks the places on the hard disk drive that malware is most likely to infect.
To run a quick scan, click Scan, or click the arrow next to Scan, and then click Quick Scan.

Running a full scan with Windows Defender

A full scan checks all files on your hard disk drive and all currently running programs. A full scan might cause your computer to run slowly until the scan is complete. If you suspect that malware has infected your computer, run a full scan.
To run a full scan, click the arrow next to Scan, and then click Full Scan.

Running a custom scan with Windows Defender

By running a custom scan, you can select specific drives and folders on your computer for Windows Defender to scan. If Windows Defender detects potentially unwanted or malicious software, it then runs a quick scan so the detected items can be removed from other areas of your computer, if needed. To run a custom scan:
  1. Click the arrow next to Scan, and then click Custom Scan.
    The Scan Options window opens.
    Figure 7: Scan options
    Scan options window
  2. Click Select.
  3. Select the drives and folders to scan, and then click OK.
  4. Click Scan Now to begin the custom scan.

Scheduling Windows Defender to automatically scan for malware

You can schedule Windows Defender to scan for malware automatically every day or once a week. Use the following steps to schedule malware scans.
NOTE:Click the following heading or the accompanying plus (+) sign to expand the information.
  1. Click Tools at the top of the page.
    The Tools and Settings window opens.
    Figure 8: Tools and Settings
    Tools and Settings
  2. Click Options.
    The Options window opens.
    Figure 9: Automatic scanning options
    Automatic scanning options in Windows Defender
  3. Select Automatic scanning.
  4. Place a check next to Automatically scan my computer (recommended).
  5. Set the frequency, time of day, and type of scan that you want to run:
    • In the Frequency drop-down list, select Daily to run the scan every day or select the day of the week to run the scan once a week.
    • In the Approximate time drop-down list, select the time of day to run the scan.
    • In the Type drop-down list, select either Quick scan or Full system scan.
  6. To keep Windows Defender up-to-date, place a check next to Check for updated definitions before scanning.
    When this box is selected, Windows Defender automatically checks for and installs the latest updates before scanning the computer.
  7. To set Windows Defender to scan only when then computer is not in use, place a check next to Run a scan only when system is idle.
  8. When you are finished scheduling the scan, click Save.

Removing malware with Windows Defender

After Windows Defender scans your computer, it displays the results of the scan. If Windows Defender detects no harmful software, then no action is required.
Figure 10: Scan results
Quick Scan results
If Windows Defender detects potentially unwanted or harmful software, ignore, quarantine, or remove each item that is detected. When you choose to quarantine software, Windows Defender moves it to another location on your computer, and then prevents the software from running until you choose to restore it or remove it from your computer.
To remove malware, select the software program and then click Remove.
Alternatively, you can remove programs that you suspect as malware through Control Panel:
  1. Click Start , and then click Control Panel.
  2. Under Programs, click Uninstall a program.
    The Uninstall or change a program window opens.
    Figure 11: Uninstall or change a program
    Uninstall or change a program in the Control Panel
  3. Select the program you want to remove.
  4. Click Uninstall or Uninstall/Change at the top of the program list.
  5. Read and respond to any messages that might open while the software is being removed from your computer.

Viewing quarantined items with Windows Defender

Windows Defender moves quarantine software to another location on your computer, and then prevents the software from running until you choose to restore it or remove it from your computer. From the quarantined list, you can choose to remove this software from your computer or allow this software to run. Use the following steps to view the quarantined items list.
Use these steps to view the quarantined items list:
  1. Click Tools at the top of the page.
    Figure 12: Tools and Settings
    Tools and Settings
  2. Click Quarantined items.
  3. The Quarantined items window opens.
    Figure 13: Quarantined items
    Quarantined items
  4. Click View to see the quarantined items.
  5. Select each quarantined item and then click one of the buttons at the bottom of the page:
    • Remove All - removes all items in the list from your computer.
    • Remove - removes the selected item from your computer.
    • Restore - allows the selected item to run and removes from the quarantined items list.
      WARNING:Do not restore software with severe or high alert ratings. If allowed to run, these items can harm your privacy or the security of your computer.

Keeping Windows Defender up-to-date

Keeping the Windows Defender definitions up-to-date helps the program protect against the latest spyware and malware. You can set Windows Defender to automatically check for updates or you can manually check for updates at any time.
You can set Windows Defender to check for updates every time it scans for malware. Use these steps to set Windows Defender to automatically check for updates:
  1. Click Tools at the top of the page.
    The Tools and Settings window opens.
    Figure 14: Tools and Settings
    Tools and Settings
  2. Click Options.
    The Options window opens.
    Figure 15: Automatic scanning options
  3. To keep Windows Defender up-to-date, select the check box next to Check for updated definitions before scanning.
    When this box is selected, Windows Defender automatically checks for and installs the latest updates each time it scans the computer.

Manually check for Windows Defender updates

To check for Windows Defender updates at any time, click the arrow next to the Help icon, then click Check for updates.
Figure 16: Check for updates
Check for updates
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