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How to Run Different Types of Antivirus Scans on Windows 11 Using Built-In Tools


Windows 11 comes with a robust built-in antivirus tool called Windows Security (formerly Windows Defender). It offers multiple types of scans to ensure your system is protected from malware and other security threats.

Accessing Windows Security

  1. Open Windows Security:
  • Press Win + I to open the Settings app.
  • Go to Privacy & security > Windows Security.
  • Click on Open Windows Security.

Alternatively, you can type “Windows Security” in the Start menu search bar and select the app.

Types of Scans in Windows Security

Windows Security offers several types of scans:

  1. Quick Scan:
  • Scans areas where threats are commonly found, such as system memory, startup programs, and certain files.
  1. Full Scan:
  • Scans all files and running programs on your hard disk, which can take an hour or more.
  1. Custom Scan:
  • Scans specific files or folders that you choose.
  1. Microsoft Defender Offline Scan:
  • Runs a scan outside of the normal Windows operating system to remove persistent malware that cannot be removed during regular operations.

Running a Quick Scan

  1. Open Windows Security.
  2. Click on Virus & threat protection.
  3. In the Current threats section, click on Quick scan.
  4. The scan will start, and you can monitor its progress. It typically takes a few minutes to complete.

Running a Full Scan

  1. Open Windows Security.
  2. Click on Virus & threat protection.
  3. In the Current threats section, click on Scan options.
  4. Select Full scan and click Scan now.
  5. The full scan will begin. This can take an hour or more, depending on the number of files and the size of your hard drive.

Running a Custom Scan

  1. Open Windows Security.
  2. Click on Virus & threat protection.
  3. In the Current threats section, click on Scan options.
  4. Select Custom scan and click Scan now.
  5. A file explorer window will open. Select the files or folders you want to scan and click Select Folder.
  6. The custom scan will begin, focusing only on the specified files or folders.

Running a Microsoft Defender Offline Scan

  1. Open Windows Security.
  2. Click on Virus & threat protection.
  3. In the Current threats section, click on Scan options.
  4. Select Microsoft Defender Offline scan and click Scan now.
  5. Your computer will restart, and the offline scan will run automatically. This can take about 15 minutes.

Scan Configurations and Settings

Configuring Scan Settings

  1. Open Windows Security.
  2. Click on Virus & threat protection.
  3. Under the Virus & threat protection settings section, click on Manage settings.
  4. Here, you can configure various settings such as:
  • Real-time protection: Ensures ongoing protection against threats.
  • Cloud-delivered protection: Uses the power of the cloud to enhance security.
  • Automatic sample submission: Automatically sends suspicious files to Microsoft for analysis.
  • Tamper protection: Prevents unauthorized changes to security settings.

Scheduling Scans

Windows Security does not have a direct option to schedule scans, but you can use Task Scheduler to set up scheduled scans.

  1. Press Win + S and type “Task Scheduler”.
  2. Open Task Scheduler and click on Create Basic Task in the right pane.
  3. Name your task and provide a description. Click Next.
  4. Choose when you want the task to start (daily, weekly, etc.) and click Next.
  5. Set the start date and time for the task. Click Next.
  6. Select Start a program and click Next.
  7. In the Program/script field, type C:\Program Files\Windows Defender\MpCmdRun.exe.
  8. In the Add arguments field, type -Scan -ScanType 1 for a quick scan or -Scan -ScanType 2 for a full scan. Click Next.
  9. Review your task settings and click Finish.

Additional Tips and Tricks

  • Keep Windows Updated: Ensure that your Windows operating system is up to date, as updates often include important security patches.
  • Regular Scans: Perform regular scans (at least once a week) to keep your system secure.
  • Use SmartScreen: Enable Windows SmartScreen to help protect your device by warning you about potentially malicious sites and downloads.
  • Backup Important Files: Regularly back up your important files to an external drive or cloud storage to prevent data loss in case of malware attacks.
  • Be Cautious with Downloads: Avoid downloading software or opening email attachments from unknown or untrusted sources.

By following these steps and tips, you can effectively use Windows Security to protect your Windows 11 system from various security threats. Regular scans and proper configurations will help ensure that your device remains secure and your data stays protected.