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Windows 8 : Conquering Viruses and Spyware with Windows Defender (part 2) - Performing a custom scan, Preventing malicious software using real-time scanning

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12/24/2014 8:48:54 PM

Performing a custom scan

A custom scan lets you scan a specific drive or folder. For example, if someone sends you a flash drive or DVD, you might want to check that disk before copying or opening any files from it.

For downloads, you might consider creating a subfolder within your Downloads folder, perhaps named Unscanned or something similar. Whenever you download a file or save an e-mail attachment that you don’t trust 100 percent, save it to that Unscanned folder. Then scan just the folder to make sure all is well. If the files check out okay, you can then move them to any folder you like. Or, in the case of a downloaded program, click the icon to start the program installation.

To do a custom scan, choose the Custom option on the Home tab in Windows Defender and click the Scan Now button. Click to select the drive you want to scan, like the example shown in Figure 3. Or, expand any drive icon and select the specific folder you want to scan. Then click OK to start the scan.

FIGURE 3 Use Custom scan to scan only specific drives or folders

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Preventing malicious software using real-time scanning

You’ve probably heard the saying “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” That’s certainly true of viruses, spyware, and other malicious software. Getting rid of malicious software that has already infected your computer is a good thing. But preventing it from getting there in the first place is even better. That’s where real-time protection comes into play. The term “real time” means “as it’s happening.”

The Windows Defender real-time protection analyzes files as they approach your computer from the Internet. Any virus, spyware, or suspicious-looking files are blocked to keep your computer from being infected. If Defender detects a potential threat, it alerts you to the issue and quarantines the threat.

To turn on real-time protection (it is turned on by default), click the Settings tab and choose the Real-Time Protection item in the left panel. Click Turn On Real-Time Protection and then choose Save Changes. Figure 4 shows an example of the real-time scanning option.

FIGURE 4 Real-time scanning option

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If you turn off real-time scanning, Windows displays a red banner at the top of the Windows Defender window that specifies that your computer is at risk. You also will receive a Windows alert that appears on the task bar indicating that you need to protect your compute, which you can do by re-enabling the real-time protection option.

 
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