Secure your Windows 10 PC with these free virus scanners

Key door security

For a long time, Microsoft’s security program was as leaky as a basket, but nowadays Microsoft does take the safety of its users seriously. In fact, Windows received the maximum score on almost all points from the renowned research institute AV-TEST. Therefore, anyone who only considers the well-being of the computer important does not need an antivirus package from a commercial provider. Prefer not to rely on Windows Defender? Well-known names such as Bitdefender and Kaspersky also offer free virus scanners.

1 Windows Defender status

Enabling Windows Defender has little to do. This part is already standard in Windows 10. If you have not installed any other antivirus package, this security program is automatically active. Click successively Start / Settings / Update & Security / Windows Security / Windows Security to open. Windows Defender now appears in its own window. The program closely monitors the status of the system. If you see green check marks next to the parts, the PC security is currently in order.

2 Scan computer

For the safety of the system it is wise to perform a scan regularly. At your request, Microsoft Defender will examine the most critical areas in no time. Click on this Virus and threat protection and Quick scan. The program checks thousands of files in minutes. Afterwards, you can see how far Windows Defender has discovered threats. For added security, you can also check all files on the PC. In that case, click Scan options and highlight the part Full scan. Confirm with Scan now.

3 Specific files

You may want to check a specific folder for threats. Select from the list of scan options Custom scan and click Scan now. You then browse to the relevant file location, after which you confirm with Select folder. Windows Defender inspects the contents of the specified folder. You can also scan a single file. This is useful in case you have picked something from the internet, where you do not completely trust it. Right-click on the relevant file and choose Scan with Windows Defender. The program performs the check quickly.

4 Offline scan

Sometimes Windows Defender cannot uninstall malicious software. With aggressive malware, this often has to happen outside the operating system. Do you suspect that an infected program is interfering with the system? Then perform an offline scan outside the Windows 10 environment. It is important that you properly close open programs and documents. Select from the list of scan options at the bottom Windows Defender Offline scan and confirm with Scan / Scan now. After the computer restarts, Windows Defender appears in the recovery environment. The scan takes about fifteen minutes. The computer will restart afterwards.

5 Scan results

If you performed an offline scan in the previous step, no results will be shown. Obviously, you’d like to know if Windows Defender has found malicious programs. You can still view the scan results afterwards. Open Windows Defender via Start / Settings / Update & Security / Windows Security / Open Windows Security and navigate to Virus and Threat Protection / Threat History. At the part Last scan see how many files the program has checked. You can also see to what extent threats have been found and whether files have been quarantined. In the latter case, Windows Defender stores malicious data in an isolated environment so that it can no longer do any damage.

Windows Defender in System Tray

Windows Defender normally settles in the lower right corner of the system tray. You can recognize this program by the white shield. If you see a green check mark, the status of the computer is OK. Click on it to open the program window. You can also right-click on it to perform certain tasks directly. That way, you can run a quick scan or check for new security updates, for example. Is Windows Defender Not in the System Tray? Go to Start / Settings / Personalization / Taskbar and scroll down a bit. Click below System tray on Select which icons are displayed on the taskbar. Finally, you activate the switch behind Windows Security notification icon.

6 Manage notifications

A tricky point of many antivirus programs is that they frequently disturb users with all kinds of messages. Windows Defender also shows various notifications by default, for example when a scan has been completed or when a threat has been found. You decide which reports you will or will not see. From the Windows Defender main window, click in the bottom left Settings. Through Manage notifications put the switch under Receive informative notifications if desired. The security program now leaves you alone as much as possible. You can indicate which notifications you want to receive. If you would like to stay informed of any dangers, you can tick the option, for example Threats found, but you don’t have to respond immediately On.

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7 Ransomware protection

Ransomware attacks have caused a lot of nuisance in computer land in recent years. Cyber ​​criminals try to use this method to hijack systems and ransom their victims. Windows Defender allows users to arm themselves against it. In the main window, click Virus and threat protection, after which you choose at the bottom Manage ransomware protection. Then activate under Controlled folder access the switch and confirm with Yes. Through Protected folders / Yes / Add a protected folder designate the main file locations that you want to thoroughly protect against ransomware. Windows already protects a few folders by default. When a suspicious program wants to encrypt the files, Windows Defender puts a stop to it.

8 Safe programs

Sometimes a program is completely safe, but Windows Defender still blocks access to a certain file location. Consider, for example, a photo editor who wants to change an image within a specific folder. Does the security program interfere with the operation of a reliable application? From the main window, navigate to Virus and threat protection / Manage ransomware protection / Allow an app through Controlled Folder Access and confirm with Yes. Via Add an allowed app / Recently blocked apps, a list of programs that Windows Defender is currently blocking appears. For the program name, click the plus sign. Is the software in question not listed? Then add the application via the option Browse all apps added to the list of trusted programs.

9 Security updates

Like any antivirus, Windows Defender uses special lists to detect threats early. These lists are called virus definitions. Microsoft’s security program downloads fresh updates daily. This happens at varying times. Alternatively, Windows Defender allows users to manually search for new virus definitions. You can be sure that the computer is protected against the latest threats. Go to Virus and threat protection and view below Virus and threat protection updates when the virus definitions are updated. Has that been a while ago? Then click on Check for updates / Check for updates.

10 SmartScreen filter

The so-called SmartScreen filter is an important part of Windows Defender. This prevents the program from getting harmful apps and files on your computer. Furthermore, the filter also ensures that you do not visit infected websites with the Edge browser. With the default settings, the SmartScreen filter alerts you to a suspicious program, file, or web address. You can also fine-tune the filter by directly blocking harmful objects. From the Windows Defender main window, go to App and browser management. Bee Check apps and files and SmartScreen for Microsoft Edge mark the option To block. Confirm with Yes.

11 Exclude files

It’s annoying when Windows Defender does not trust a file, file format or folder, when you have no doubts yourself. In that case, you add the item in question to the exception list at your own risk. The security program will then no longer warn you. Inside the Windows Defender main window, go to Virus and threat protection and click below Virus and threat protection settings on Manage settings. You now scroll a bit down, where you the part Add or remove exclusions clicks. Through Add an exclusion you choose File, Folder, File type or Process. Browse to the correct location to select a file or folder. To set a file type as an exception, enter the correct extension. Confirm with Add.

12 Family appliances

Are there more machines with Windows 10 linked to your Microsoft account or are you the head of a family group? You can easily monitor the safety status of other systems from a distance. In Windows Defender, go to Family options and click below Check the status and security of your family’s devices on View devices. A web page opens, where you enter the username and password for your Microsoft account. You see an overview of all Windows 10 devices. Click on a computer name and view the current status of Windows Defender. You will immediately notice when further security measures are needed.

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13 Current status report

Windows Defender constantly checks the health status of the computer. The program detects an imminent shortage of storage capacity and possible problems with the laptop battery. Windows Defender will also let you know if any software requires an update. After all, users request an up-to-date status report at any time. In the Windows Defender main window, click Device performance and status. If you only see green check marks, the PC status is OK. A yellow mark represents a warning. Click on it to show the recommended solution.

14 Installing Bitdefender

If you prefer to ignore Windows Defender, you can choose from all kinds of paid and free solutions. Today, several well-known developers offer a virus scanner for free. Users benefit from reliable anti-virus software, so that malware and other threats have no chance. At the same time, such free programs are quite stripped down. For example, additional functions such as a password manager, spam filter and file shredder are often not available. Do you never use that? Here download the free version of Bitdefender. Double-click the downloaded exe file to download additional program components and perform the installation. The program may request a restart of the PC. Place a check mark at the bottom of the installation window to accept the conditions and confirm with Install.

15 Bitdefender account

Bitdefender obliges you to create an account, otherwise you cannot use the program. After installation, click Sign in to Bitdefender and create an account. You enter a name, e-mail address and password for this. If you have already installed a Bitdefender program, you can of course also type existing login details. In the latter case, click login. Sometimes Bitdefender advertises its paid security products. You can easily disable this notification in the account settings. Click on the gear icon at the top right and choose Account Info. Then deactivate the switch behind Display notifications with special offers.

16 Full system scan

The meager appearance of Bitdefender Antivirus Free might suggest otherwise, but your computer is in good hands with this program. The Romanian developer has a high reputation and the security software recently received the maximum score from AV-TEST on all points. Unlike many other antivirus software, Bitdefender Antivirus Free only allows you to scan the entire PC. So reserve enough time for this. Click on at the top System Scan to start this task. You follow the progress in the main window. Click on afterwards System scan and view the results.

17 Scan individual file

With a full system scan, your computer will be sweet for quite a while. If you only want to check a single file, you can do that faster. With the mouse button pressed, drag the relevant file (or folder) to the program window and then release the mouse button. In seconds you will know if everything is safe. If Bitdefender detects a threat, the program quarantines the file. That way it can’t do any damage. Bitdefender will analyze suspicious files again at a later time, with more information about the data possibly known. Based on this, the file will be restored or permanently deleted.

18 Installing Kaspersky

For free concepts, Russian Kaspersky offers an extensive antivirus package. surf to to pick up the Security Cloud – Free program. Double-click the exe file and select Dutch as the installation language. Through Get on you accept the terms of use and the privacy policy with two ticks. Then click on Accept / Confirm. The program asks if you need a password manager so that you can securely store login details. Make a choice and click Install / Yes. The program will start after a few minutes. Through Apply / Done Kaspersky asks for credentials. click on create an account and follow the free registration procedure. Finally log in.

19 Which scan?

After logging in to Kaspersky Security Cloud – Free, the creators will introduce interesting features to you. Click on first Get on and then always on Next one to get acquainted with some functions. End with Ready. Through Database update / Start update get the latest virus definitions. To check the computer for threats, click Scan in the main window. Now choose between Full Scan, Quick scan, Selective Scan and Scan from external devices. If necessary, point to a folder or external data carrier and click Start scan. It is also possible to check a single file. Right click on it and choose in the context menu Scan for viruses.

20 Scan options

You adjust the scan settings at your own discretion, such as the level of security and the desired action after the discovery of a threat. Click the gear icon at the bottom left and go to Scan. At the part Security level you choose between High, Recommended or Low. Enter Action on threat detection what you want to do with a suspicious file, for example give a warning (report), disinfect or delete. Through Schedule of scan perform a quick or full scan automatically from now on, such as every working day or every weekend.

21 VPN access

Kaspersky offers users the opportunity to set up a VPN connection. This allows you to surf the web anonymously. Click successively Secure Connection / Open / Connect and activate the big switch in the Kaspersky Secure Connection dialog. You are now surfing under a different IP address. With the free version, the program selects a VPN server from any country. The daily data limit for internet traffic is 200 MB. If you link a Kaspersky account to the vpn function, the daily limit increases to 300 MB.


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