I've been hot on free security tools lately, as I've had the chance to work with a lot of small and midsized businesses . Non-enterprise businesses don't have the big budget for the expensive security tools that the big boys have. They're more cost sensitive but are still aware that security is a key factor in making IT part of the profit center and not a loss center. Any free or low cost security tools go a long way at securing these firms.
One such tool is the Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool or MSRT. The MSRT scans your computer for existing malware and removes that malware. The MSRT looks for the most common malware seen out in the wild, so it's not a comprehensive anti-malware solution. However, it is still very useful to run on machines on a regular basis. There are two ways to run the MSRT -- manually by downloading the tool, or automatically as its delivered to your computer through Windows Update each month. If you run it through Windows Update, you have to give it permission to run the first time, but it will run automatically on subsequent downloads.
When you download the tool and run it manually, the first page will show you a link that shows you a list of the malware that it detects. As seen in the figure below
You then can choose a scan type:
I'll choose a quick scan here, since I don't want to wait for hours for the full scan to complete. However, if you have a new system that hasn't been running any anti-malware software, you might want to consider a full scan.
The quick scan checks the most common places where malware hides, based on the malware that the MSRT is configured to find.
When the MSRT finishes, you hopefully will see what you see below. If it does find malware, it will let you know about it and remove it for you.
Learn more about the MSRT and download it at: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/safety/pc-security/malware-removal.aspx
Thomas W Shinder, M.D.
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