Getting started with Microsoft Security Essentials

There’s not much to do. Microsoft Security Essentials works in the background to protect your PC. It checks for updates automatically a few times a day and doesn’t slow your PC down while it works.

Simple color-coding, simple actions

You can keep track of how your PC is doing by looking at the Microsoft Security Essentials icon in the notification area at the far right of the taskbar. Green means everything is okay, yellow means that your PC is potentially unprotected, and red means that your computer is at risk.

When you see yellow or red, click the icon and you’ll be able to see the details and take actions. Usually the best thing to do is to choose Clean computer so that the threat can be removed.

If you want to delete threats automatically whenever they are identified, open Microsoft Security Essentials, click the Settings tab and then choose Default actions.

Scanning right now

Open Microsoft Security Essentials and you’ll be on the Home tab. You can select a Quick scan or a Full scan (and then click Scan now).

The quick scan will look for viruses in all the places they are most likely to hide. It’s a good choice when you’re just checking on the health of your PC.

But if something makes you think your PC is infected with a virus or spyware, we recommend a full scan. Your computer will be a little slower while it is running, but the full scan looks everywhere for possible problems.

Scheduling scans

By default, Microsoft Security Essentials runs a scan of your PC once a week when you’re probably asleep (2:00 am on Sunday).

If you want to adjust this, open Microsoft Security Essentials and click the Settings tab. Under Scheduled scan, you’ll be able to change the day and time as well as the type of scan.

Scanning more than just your hard drive

It may be useful to scan external drives and USB drives since they can get infected too.

Open Microsoft Security Essentials and click the Settings tab. Go to Advanced and click the option to Scan removable drives. Whenever scans run, your removable drives will also be scanned (if they’re attached to your PC). If you want to run a scan right away, go back to the Home tab and click Scan now.

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