Virus & threat protection in Windows Defender Security Center helps you scan for threats on your device. You can also run different types of scans, see the results of your previous virus and threat scans, and get the latest protection offered by Windows Defender Antivirus.
If you are using a third-party antivirus software, you’ll be able to use its virus and threat protection options here.
The Threat history area lets you:
- Scan for potentially harmful threats on your device.
- See any threats currently on your device.
- See threats that have been quarantined before they can affect you.
- See anything identified as a threat that you have allowed to run on your device.
- See the last time a scan was run on your device and how many files were scanned.
- Run a specific type of scan.
Run the scans you want
Even though Windows Defender Antivirus is on and scans your device automatically, you can perform an additional scan whenever you want.
- Scan now. Concerned that you may have done something to introduce a suspicious file or virus to your device? Select Scan now to immediately check your device for any recent threats. This option is useful when you don’t want to spend the time running a full scan on all your files and folders. If you need to run one of the other types of scans, you'll be notified you when the scan is done.
- Run a new advanced scan. Select this link to choose from one of the following advanced scan options:
- Full scan. Scans every file or program that’s currently running on your device to ensure that there’s nothing dangerous in progress.
- Custom scan. Scans only files or folders that you select.
- Windows Defender Offline scan. Uses the latest definitions to scan your device for the latest threats. Run it when you are concerned that your device has been exposed to malware or a virus, or if you want to scan your device safely without being connected to the internet.
Protect your device with the latest definitions
Definitions are files that contain information about the latest threats that could infect your device. Windows Defender Antivirus uses definitions every time a scan is run. Microsoft automatically downloads the latest definitions to your device, but you can manually check that you have the most current definitions as well. Just select Virus & threat protection updates > Check for updates to scan for the latest definitions.
Manage your Virus & threat protection settings
Use Virus & threat protection settings when you want to customize your level of protection, send sample files to Microsoft, exclude trusted files and folders from repeated scanning, or temporarily turn off your protection.
Manage your real-time protection
Need to stop running real-time protection for a short while? You can use the Real-time protection setting to turn it off temporarily; however, real-time protection will turn on automatically after a short while to resume protecting your device. While real-time protection is off, files you open or download won’t be scanned for threats.
If the device you’re using is part of an organization, your system administrator may prevent you from turning off real-time protection.
Get access to cloud-delivered protection
Provide your device with access to the latest threat definitions and threat behavior detection in the cloud.
Send us files with automatic sample submission
If you’re connected to the cloud with cloud-delivered protection, you can send suspicious sample files to Microsoft to check them as potential threats. Microsoft will notify you if you need to send additional files—and alert you if the file needed contains personal information.
Protect files from unauthorized access
Use the Controlled folder access setting to manage which folders that apps can make changes to. You can also add additional apps you trust to make changes in those folders.
When you turn on Controlled folder access, a lot of the folders you use most often will be protected by default. This means that content in any of these folders cannot be accessed or changed by any unknown or untrusted apps. Once you add additional folders, they become automatically protected as well.
To add protected folders:
- Select Virus & threat protection settings.
- Under Controlled folder access, select Manage Controlled folder access.
- Under Controlled folder access, select Protected folders.
- Select Add a protected folder and follow the instructions to add folders.
If you see an App is blocked message when you try to use a familiar app, you can simply unblock the app. Here's how:
- Write down or take note of the path of the blocked app.
- Select the message, and then select Add an allowed app.
- Browse for the program to which you want to allow access.
If you try to save a file to a folder and the folder is blocked, that means the app you’re using is blocked from saving to that location. If that happens, just save the file to another location on your device. Then use the previous steps to unblock the app, and you’ll be able to save the files to your desired location.
Exclude items from virus scans
There may be times when you’ll want to exclude specific files, folders, file types, or processes from being scanned, such as if these are trusted items and you are certain you don’t need to take time to scan them.