Microsoft Safety Scanner

Microsoft has released another security tool called “Microsoft Safety Scanner.”

By design this tool is a program that you download and run if you think your PC has a virus.  It will scan your PC and remove viruses that it finds.  It has an expiration date of 10 days (to keep the virus signatures fresh).

This is a good tool to load on your USB drive and use to help out a friend with virus problems.

The download is about 70 MB and comes in 32 and 64 bit versions.  It is available at, search on “Safety Scanner” or try this link:  Microsoft Safety Scanner.

It should not interfere with any other anti-virus software that you use.

Microsoft already offers 2 anti-virus solutions – Microsoft Security Essentials and Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT).  Security Essentials is a free anti-virus program from Microsoft that gets good reviews although it lacks email scanning ability.  The MSRT is a tool downloaded and run every month as part of Microsoft Patch Tuesday (the second Tuesday of the month) if you have Windows Updates enabled, and you should.  You can run the MSRT anytime to scan your system (Windows 7: mrt) although looks like this new tool will be more thorough (I’m judging by the file sizes!  MSRT is 12 MB, Safety Scanner is 70MB).

Microsoft has older anti-virus products like Defender, OneCare and MBSA, I recommend uninstalling these and using these newer products.

Also there are many non-Microsoft anti-virus products worthy of mention.  Free and commercial, run once and real time scanners, and even on-line scanners and boot and scan CDs.

Some products that I have experience with and can recommend –

  • Microsoft Security Essentials.  Free.  Does not scan email.
  • AVG.  Free version available.
  • Malwarebytes.  Free version available.  My favorite on-demand scanner.
  • SuperAntiSpyware.  Free version available.  On-demand scanner.
  • Kaspersky.  Commercial product.  Download rescue disk available.
  • BitDefender.  Commercial product.  Download rescue disk available.
  • Norton.  Commercial product.  Versions include Internet Security and 360.  Free download for Comcast subscribers.  Includes additional utilities like backup, performance and registry cleanup.  Has a reputation for being complicated and resource intensive.

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