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Using Windows Vista Defender to Prevent Problems Caused by Malware

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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. Below are two ways to access Windows Defender and instuctions on using Windows Defender.
NOTE:Windows Defender is a service that runs in Windows Vista. Once enabled, Windows Defender remains active. To prevent Windows Defender from opening, or prevent the Windows Defender service from starting, use "Services" under "Administrative Options" (not recommended).

Opening Windows Defender

Select one of the followings to find out how to open Windows defender. If Windows will not open, select Opening Windows Defender in Safe Mode.
Use the following steps to open Windows Defender.
  1. Click Start , and in the Start Search field type the following and press Enter :
    security center
    The Windows Security Center window opens.
  2. If Windows Defender is already enabled, the Spyware and other malware protection section inside the Malware section displays On next to a green circle. You do not have to enable Windows Defender as it is already on.
    If Windows Defender is disabled, click the Turn on... button in the Spyware and other malware protection section. Windows Defender is activated.
    NOTE:If you experience problems enabling Windows Defender, please refer to the Microsoft support article Unable to enable Windows Defender application in Windows Vista (in English).
    Figure 1: Security Center showing Windows Defender as off.
Use the following steps to open Windows Defender in Safe mode. Use these steps if Windows does not open under normal conditions:
  1. Turn on the computer.
  2. Press the F8 key repeatedly when the first screen appears.
  3. From the Windows Advanced Options Menu, use the arrow keys to select Safe Mode , and press ENTER .
    When the Windows desktop appears, Safe Mode is displayed in the four corners of the screen and the desktop might look different that it usually does.
  4. Press Ctrl + Alt + Delete .
    Windows Task Manager opens.
  5. Select the Applications .
  6. At the bottom of the Applications tab, click New Task...
    The Create New Task box opens.
  7. Type in the Open field C:\Program Files\Windows Defender\msascui.exe
    or
    Click Browse and find C:\Program Files\Windows Defender\msascui.exe and double-click the file.

Opening and Using Windows Defender

Use these steps to open Windows Defender:
  1. Click Start , All Programs , and then click Windows Defender .
    Windows Defender opens to the home page.
    Figure 2: Windows Defender home
  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 potentially 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.

Scanning for malware

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 3: Scan options

Running a quick scan

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

A full scan checks all files on your hard disk drive and all currently running programs. A full scan may 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

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 4: Scan Options window
  2. Click Select .
  3. In the window that opens, select all 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 automatically scan for malware at a certain time every day or once a week. Use these steps to schedule malware scans:
  1. Click Tools at the top of the page.
    The Tools and Settings window opens.
  2. Click Options .
    The Options window opens.
    Figure 5: Automatic scanning options
  3. Select the check box next to Automatically scan my computer (recommended) .
  4. Set the frequency, time of day, and type of scan that you want to run:
    • In the Frequency dropdown 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 dropdown list, select the time of day to run the scan.
    • In the Type dropdown list, select either Quick scan or Full system scan .
  5. 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 before scanning the computer.
  6. To set default actions for Windows Defender to perform when it detects alert items, select the check box next to Apply default actions to items detected during scan .
  7. To set the action that you want Windows Defender to perform when it detects high, medium, or low alert level items, select the action from the dropdown list next to each item:
    • Default action (definition-based) - Windows Defender performs the default action for the item. This action varies depending on the alert level of the item.
    • Ignore - Windows Defender ignores all items at this alert level.
    • Remove - Windows Defender removes from your computer all items at this alert level.
  8. When you are finished scheduling the scan, click Save .

Removing malware

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 6: 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 , Control Panel , and then Programs .
  2. Under Programs and Features, click Uninstall a program .
  3. Select the program you want to remove, and then click Uninstall at the top of the program list.

Viewing quarantined items

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 these steps to view the quarantined items list:
  1. Click Tools at the top of the page.
  2. Click Quarantined items .
  3. The Quarantined items window opens.
    Figure 7: Quarantined items
  4. 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 updated

Keeping the Windows Defender definitions up-to-date helps the program to 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.

Set Windows Defender to automatically check for updates

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 8: Tools and Settings
  2. Click Options .
    The Options window opens.
    Figure 9: Automatic scanning options
  3. Select the check box next to Automatically scan my computer (recommended) .
  4. Set the frequency, time of day, and type of scan that you want to run:
    • In the Frequency dropdown 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 dropdown list, select the time of day to run the scan.
    • In the Type dropdown list, select either Quick scan or Full system scan .
  5. 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 updates

You can manually check for Windows Defender updates at any time, using these steps:
  1. Click the arrow next to the Help icon.
  2. Click Check for updates .
    Windows Defender checks for updates and automatically installs new definitions or updates.

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