Using Windows Defender on a Windows 7 computer

Windows Defender is a free anti-spyware program that detects and removes known spyware and malware from your computer. This program is installed by default on Windows 7 computers and automatically stays up-to-date 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 files and programs installed on your hard drive.

Scheduling automatic quick scans

NOTE
If you are prompted for confirmation or a password during any of the following steps, provide confirmation or type the correct password. You should configure Windows Defender to automatically run a daily quick system scan by following these steps:

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

defender home

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

defender options

  1. Click Options. You will see the Options window. which should look similar to the following:



  2. Under the Automatic scanning header (in the left-hand column), check the Automatically scan my computer (recommended) check box.
  3. For Frequency, click Daily.
  4. For Approximate time, click a time of day that is most convenient for your schedule. (The computer must be on for the scan to proceed.)
  5. For Type, click Quick scan.
  6. If necessary, check the Check for updated definitions before scanning check box.
  7. If necessary, check the Run a scan only when system is idle check box. The Options window should now look similar to the following:

defender quick scan

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

Running a full system scan

NOTE
If you are prompted for confirmation or a password during any of the following steps, provide confirmation or type the correct password. You should periodically run a full system scan on your computer following these steps:

  1. Click Start.
  2. Click Control Panel.
  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.
  2. 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 Status area as shown below: