Join the Microsoft SpyNet community

Windows Defender detects known spyware and other potentially unwanted software. This includes software that has not yet been analyzed for risks and any changes made to your computer by that software. The online Microsoft SpyNet community helps you see how other people respond to software that has not yet been classified for risks.

You can choose to join the Microsoft SpyNet community with either a basic or advanced membership. With a basic membership, Windows Defender automatically sends information back to Microsoft about spyware, potentially unwanted software, and software or changes by software that has not yet been analyzed for risks.

With an advanced membership, Windows Defender sends more detailed information about detected software and alerts you when it detects software that has not been analyzed for risks. For more information about these reports, read the Windows Defender privacy statement on the Microsoft website.

If you choose to join Microsoft Spynet and be notified about software that has not been analyzed for risks, you can see if other members of the community permit or deny the software or changes made by the software. This information might help you decide what to do. In turn, your choices are added to the community ratings to help other people decide what to do. You can choose to be notified about software that has not yet been classified for risks by using the options provided in Windows Defender or by joining Microsoft SpyNet with an advanced membership.

New spyware is continually being developed, so SpyNet ratings also help Microsoft determine which software to investigate. For example, if many people deny changes by software that has not yet been classified, Microsoft will analyze the software, determine if it is spyware, and if needed, update the Windows Defender definitions. Up-to-date definitions help Windows Defender detect the latest spyware threats and keep them from infecting your computer. Even if software is not spyware, Windows Defender alerts you if it detects that software is operating in a way that might be malicious or unwanted.

To join the Microsoft SpyNet community

  1. Open Windows Defender by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking All Programs, and then clicking Windows Defender.

  2. Click Tools, and then click Microsoft SpyNet.

  3. Select the level of participation that you want by clicking Join with a basic membership or Join with an advanced membership, and then click Save. Administrator permission required If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.