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Windows 10 and 11 include Windows Security, which provides the latest antivirus protection. Your device will be actively protected from the moment you start Windows. Windows Security continually scans for malware (malicious software), viruses, and other security threats. In addition to this real-time protection, updates are downloaded automatically to help keep your device safe and protect it from threats.


  • Windows Security is built-in to Windows 10 and 11 and includes an antivirus program called Microsoft Defender Antivirus. 

  • If you have another antivirus app installed and turned on, Microsoft Defender Antivirus will turn off automatically. If you uninstall the other app, Microsoft Defender Antivirus will turn back on automatically.

  • For info on how to uninstall an app, see Repair or remove an app in Windows.

Understand and customize Windows Security features

Windows Security is your dashboard to manage the tools that protect your device and your data:

  • Virus & threat protection Monitor threats to your device, run scans, and get updates to help detect the latest threats. (Some of these options are unavailable if you're running Windows 10 in S mode.)

  • Account protection - Access sign-in options and account settings, including Windows Hello and dynamic lock.

  • Firewall & network protection - Manage firewall settings and monitor what’s happening with your networks and internet connections.

  • App & browser control - Update settings for Microsoft Defender SmartScreen to help protect your device against potentially dangerous apps, files, sites, and downloads. You'll have exploit protection, protection from potentially unwanted apps, and you can customize protection settings for your devices.

  • Device security - Review built-in security options to help protect your device from attacks by malicious software.

  • Device performance & health - View status info about your device’s performance health, and keep your device clean and up to date with the latest version of Windows.

  • Family options. Keep track of your kids’ online activity and the devices in your household.

You can customize how your device is protected with these Windows Security features. To access them, select Start  Settings  Update & Security  > Windows Security. Then select the feature you want to explore.

Status icons indicate your level of safety:

  • Green means your device is sufficiently protected and there aren’t any recommended actions.

  • Yellow means there is a safety recommendation for you.

  • Red is a warning that something needs your immediate attention.

Run a malware scan manually

When you're concerned about risks from a specific file or folder, you can right-click the file or folder in File Explorer, then select Scan with Microsoft Defender.

If you suspect there's malware or a virus on your device, you should immediately run a quick scan. Quick scan reviews the files and processes that are most likely to be infected. This is much faster than running a full scan on all your files and folders.

Run a quick scan in Windows Security

  1. Select Start  Settings  Update & Security  > Windows Security and then Virus & threat protection.

  2. Under Current threats, select Quick scan.

If the scan doesn't find any issues, but you're still concerned, you may want to check your device more thoroughly.

Run an advanced scan in Windows Security

  1. Select Start  Settings  Update & Security  > Windows Security  and then Virus & threat protection.

  2. Under Current threats, select Scan options.

  3. Select one of the scan options:

    • Full scan (check all files and programs currently on your device)

    • Custom scan (scan specific files or folders)

    • Microsoft Defender Offline scan (run this scan if your device has been, or could potentially be, infected by a virus or malware). 

      Learn more about Microsoft Defender Offline.

  4. Select Scan now.

Learn more about running an advanced scan

Turn Microsoft Defender Antivirus real-time protection on or off

Sometimes you may need to briefly stop running real-time protection. While real-time protection is off, files you open or download won't be scanned for threats. However, real-time protection will soon turn on automatically again to protect your device.

Turn real-time protection off temporarily

  1. Select Start  Settings  Update & Security  > Windows Security then Virus & threat protection > Manage settings

  2. Switch the Real-time protection setting to Off and choose Yes to verify.

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