Site search
Logo

Windows Defender Security Center on-demand scan in Windows 10

By , winhelp.us logo. Last updated: 2018-08-21

How to run an on-demand scan with Windows Defender Security Center in Windows 10

Windows 10 Creators Update (April, 2017) and newer versions almost completely replace Windows Defender desktop program with the new Windows Defender Security Center app. The old Desktop program is still there, named Windows Defender Antivirus, but all settings are now inside the modern app. The Settings app, Update & security, Windows Defender tab displays only version info and a button to access the new Security Center app.

Users of Windows 8/8.1 and older versions of Windows 10 (pre-2017) should see the Windows Defender on-demand scan in Windows 8, 8.1 and 10 tutorial instead.

The easiest method for targeted scans is the good old right-click (or touch and hold) menu: just choose the Scan with Windows Defender command. As usual, you can select multiple files or folders in File Explorer by holding down Shift or Ctrl keys.
Windows 10, File Explorer, right-click menu. To scan the selected item, choose 'Scan with Windows Defender'.

To launch Windows Defender Security Center, open Start, type "defender" and click the result.
Windows 10 Creators Update, Start menu. To open Windows Defender Security Center, type 'defender' into Search box and click the result.

Running a monthly full anti-virus scan with Windows Defender Security Center in Windows 10 Creators Update and newer

A full scan should be performed once every month to ensure that there are no viruses and malware hiding somewhere deep in your computer. You should also run a full virus scan when the status of Windows Defender Security Center icon keeps its red error circle (Actions needed) or the yellow warning triangle (Actions recommended) in Taskbar and Action Center after a quick scan.

With a bit of tweaking, you can even run the monthly full scan automatically. Please remember that there is no need to run the quick scan because Windows Defender Antivirus does it daily, and it notifies you if the scan has not been run for a prolonged time.

Open the Virus & threat protection tab from the left (the shield icon). Then click or tap the Advanced scan link.
Windows 10 Creators Update, Windows Defender Security Center, Virus & threat protection tab. To run a thorough virus and malware scan, click or touch the 'Advanced scan' link.

Choose the Full scan option and click or touch Scan now.
Windows 10 Creators Update, Windows Defender Security Center, Virus & threat protection tab, Advanced scans. Select the 'Full scan' option and click the 'Scan now' button.

Full scan might take several hours to complete. You can do some work if you have a fast device, or you can call your friends or do some exercise.

If no threats are found and Windows Defender Security Center status remains green, you can safely close the app window after the scan is complete.

If something suspicious has been found, Windows Defender Security Center will show the "There may be threats on your device" line. You must wait until the scan completes to see details on the detected items.
Please note: the app will not turn black after finding threats, the screenshots were taken on different devices - one with the light and the other with the dark app mode (Settings, Personalization, Colors).
Windows 10 Creators Update, Windows Defender Security Center, Custom scan running. If malware has been detected, the 'There may be threats on your device' message appears.

After the scan finishes, click the Clean threats button to quarantine the detected items. The cleanup process might take a few minutes to complete on slower devices. Also, a notification Toast will appear above Taskbar Notification Area (System Tray), stating that Windows Defender Antivirus found threats.
Alternatively, click or tap the See threat details link to review what has been found - but you really must know what you're doing if you plan to add some items to the exclusions list. This list has the Start actions button for automatic malware removal.
Windows 10 Creators Update, Windows Defender Security Center, threats found, start the recommended actions. Click or tap the 'Clean threats' button. Windows 10 Creators Update, Windows Defender Security Center toast: Threats found, Windows Defender Antivirus found threats, Get details.

In some cases, a restart is required to remove all traces of malicious software. It is strongly recommended to reboot your device right away in such situations.

Windows Defender offline scanning in Windows 10 Creators Update and newer

Windows 10 Anniversary Update from August, 2016 added a long-awaited feature to Windows Defender: scan offline. This helps removing nasty rootkits and stealth malware that hide themselves before or after Windows starts.

To run an offline scan in Windows 10 Creators Update, close all open documents and running programs, open Start, type defender and click the result.
Open the Virus & threat protection tab from the left (the shield icon). Then click or tap the Advanced scan link.
Windows 10 Creators Update, Windows Defender Security Center, Virus & threat protection tab. To run an offline scan, click or touch the 'Advanced scan' link.

Choose the Windows Defender Offline scan option and click or touch Scan now.
Windows 10 Creators Update, Windows Defender Security Center, Virus & threat protection tab, Advanced scans. Select the 'Windows Defender Offline scan' option and click the 'Scan now' button.

Windows Defender will warn that the offline scan will take some time and restart your device. Make sure nothing important is open and click the Scan button.
Windows 10 Creators Update, Windows Defender Security Center, Save your work, Windows Defender Offline scan will take some time and restart your device. Click or tap the 'Scan' button.

After a short while, Windows will warn that it will shut down in less than a minute. Click Close and wait until Windows restarts your device.

After the reboot, Windows will load a few files required for scanning and prepare for the scan. Stand by, this should take only a minute or so.
Windows 10, Windows Defender Offline loading. Stand by.

After this, Windows Defender will run the offline scan and quarantine infected items automatically. The scan should not take more than 15-20 minutes to complete.
Your device will restart automatically after the detection and removal process completes. Sign back in and your device should be free of malware.
Windows 10, Windows Defender Offline scanning. When malware detection and removal is complete, your device will restart automatically.


 

Ctrl+F searches in the contents







Next: Windows Defender in Windows 8 and 8.1
Previous: Configure Windows Defender Security Center in Windows 10