For long, Microsoft’s Windows Live OneCare Scanner has been an excellent resource to check for malware on systems. It has been particularly useful during important dates such as April the 1st. For instance, once a malware infected a PC, it was only detectable with Microsoft’s Security Scanner. It was widely telecasted on news channels like BBC that the malware agent had infected systems months back and was to initiate according to a set date. Many common anti-malware software failed to detect this threat, so Microsoft launched a warning to use the OneCare Scanner to identify and remove this threat. It has helped people avoid the inconvenience of keeping their systems at a back date to avoid malware initiation after a large scale threat warning.
Microsoft has recently launched something brand new called Microsoft Safety Scanner. It is a free downloadable security tool which scans and remove viruses, spyware, and other malicious agents from your system. It does not conflict with your existing antivirus software and is not meant for its replacement. It is pretty much as useful as the OneCare Scanner, i.e. for on-demand scanning and removal of malware. As in the case of the OneCare Scanner, it can be useful to perform a scan near dates when malware are widely released, such as, April and May (almost every year).
To perform a scan launch Microsoft Safety Scanner and select a scanning mode. The Quick Scan performs a blazing fast scan of your system by checking areas that are most likely to be infected. Whereas, the Full Scan is more comprehensive and searches the entire system for infections. You can also choose what areas of the system you wish to scan via the Customized Scan option.
After you have selected the scanning mode, click Next to continue. The Microsoft Safety Scanner will launch a scan and remove malicious agents from your system.
Please note that Microsoft Safety Scanner is not meant to be a replacement for a common antivirus and expires after 10 days of being downloaded. To run the scan again with the latest anti-malware definitions you should download and run the Microsoft Safety Scanner again. However, since it provides enhanced scanning and removal like the OneCare Scanner, it is an effort worth making periodically, specially when a major virus threat is launched near known dates of malware mischief.
Microsoft Safety Scanner works on Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7.