Using Windows Defender on a Windows Vista computer

Windows Defender is a free anti-spyware application that detects and removes known spyware and malware from your computer. This application is installed by default on Windows Vista and computers and stays up-to-date automatically through Windows Updates.

You can run a quick system scan or a full system scan of your computer: A quick system scan checks your computer's hard drive in places where spyware is most likely to be found. A full system scan will check all applications that are installed on your computer and all files on your hard drive.

Scheduling automatic quick scans

NOTE
If you are prompted for confirmation or a password during any of the following steps, do so.

You should configure Windows Defender to automatically run a daily quick system scan by following these steps:

  1. Click Start.
  2. Click All Programs.
  3. Click Windows Defender. You will see the Windows Defender home window, which looks similar to the following:

    defender home
  4. Click Tools. You will see the Tools and Settings window, which looks similar to the following:

    defender options
  5. Click Options. You will now see the Options window.
  6. Under the Automatic scanning header, click the checkbox in front of Automatically scan my computer (recommended).
  7. From the downward pointing arrow to the right of Frequency, click Daily.
  8. From the downward pointing arrow to the right of Approximate time, click a time of the day that is most convenient for your schedule. (The computer must be on for the scan to proceed.)
  9. From the downward pointing arrow to the right of Type, click (Quick scan).
  10. If necessary, click the checkbox in front of Check for updated definitions before scanning.
  11. If necessary, click the checkbox in front of Apply default actions to items detected during a scan. The Option window should now look similar to the following:

    defender quick scan
  12. Click Save. Now, every day at 11:00 a.m. (in this example), Windows Defender will do a quick scan of your computer's hard drive if the computer is on.

Running a full system scan

NOTE
If you are prompted for confirmation or a password during any of the following steps, do so.

You should periodically run a full system scan on your computer following these steps:

  1. Click Start.
  2. Click All Programs.
  3. Click Windows Defender. You will see the Windows Defender home window, which looks similar to the following:

defender home page

  1. Click the downward pointing arrow to the right of Scan, which looks similar to the following:

defender full scan

  1. Click Full Scan. While your computer is being scanned, the Windows Defender window will look similar to the following:

defender full scan

  1. When the scan is complete, the scan results and the date and time that the scan was completed will be displayed in the Windows Defender home window.