Schedule a Scan in Microsoft Defender Antivirus

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To schedule a scan in Microsoft Defender Antivirus (previously called Windows Defender), follow these instructions.

1. Accessing Task Scheduler

To begin scheduling a scan in Microsoft Defender Antivirus, you first need to access the Windows Task Scheduler:

  1. Press the Windows key on your keyboard, or click on the Start Menu.
  2. Type “Task Scheduler” into the search bar.
  3. Click on the Task Scheduler app to open it.

2. Navigating to Windows Defender Settings

Once the Task Scheduler is open, follow these steps to navigate to the Windows Defender settings:

  1. In the left pane of Task Scheduler, look for and expand the Task Scheduler Library folder.
  2. Expand the Microsoft folder within the library.
  3. Next, expand the Windows folder.
  4. Scroll down and find the Windows Defender folder. Click on it to select it.

3. Setting Up the Scan

To set up a scan in Microsoft Defender Antivirus:

  1. In the top center pane of Task Scheduler, look for an entry named Windows Defender Scheduled Scan.
  2. Double-click on Windows Defender Scheduled Scan to open its properties.
  3. Within the properties window, go to the Triggers tab.
  4. Select New to create a new trigger for the scan.
  5. In the new window that opens, you can now specify:
    • Frequency of the scan (e.g., daily, weekly).
    • Start time for the scan.
    • Any additional conditions you wish to apply (e.g., only run if the computer is idle).

4. Choosing the Type of Scan

Selecting the appropriate type of scan is crucial for effective malware protection. Microsoft Defender Antivirus offers several scan options:

  1. Quick Scan:This scan type is recommended for regular, scheduled scans. It checks processes, memory, profiles, and certain locations on the device for malware.
  2. Full Scan:A full scan is more comprehensive, scanning all files on all mounted drives. Due to its thoroughness, it takes more time and resources.
  3. Custom Scan:Custom scans allow you to specify particular files or folders to scan, such as a USB drive or a specific directory.

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5. Optimization and Considerations

When scheduling scans, there are several important factors and optimizations to consider:

  • Microsoft Defender checks for updates 15 minutes before any scheduled scan.
  • If a device is on battery power, a full scan will stop and resume at the next scheduled time.
  • Scheduled scans are conducted according to the local time zone of the device.
  • Real-time protection reviews all files that are opened and closed, as well as files in accessed folders, providing comprehensive coverage.
  • Cloud-delivered protection ensures that all files accessed are scanned with the latest security intelligence.
  • When real-time protection detects malware, Defender may initiate a full scan as part of the remediation process.
  • Extended offline periods can increase the duration of a full scan.
  • Quick scans can be configured to scan exclusions from real-time protection using PowerShell, Intune, or Group Policy.

6. Scheduled Quick Scan Performance Optimization

To enhance performance, Microsoft Defender Antivirus has optimizations for scheduled quick scans:

  • A scheduled quick scan may be skipped if a qualified scan ran within the last seven days and if the device was rebooted after the last scan.
  • This optimization reduces unnecessary performance degradation and does not affect protection levels.
  • Conditions where this optimization does not apply include:
    • When Microsoft Defender for Endpoint is managed.
    • If Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) is installed.
    • If the computer was restarted since the last quick scan.
    • If real-time protection was disabled after the last quick scan.
    • If the last initiated quick scan was not completed.

7. Additional Tips and Resources

To further enhance your experience with Microsoft Defender Antivirus and ensure optimal protection, consider these additional tips and resources:

  • Stay Updated:Regularly check for and apply updates to Microsoft Defender Antivirus to ensure the latest security features and threat protections are active.
  • Community Support:Engage with the Microsoft Security community in the Tech Community forums for insights, tips, and answers to common questions.
  • Learn More:Explore Microsoft’s documentation and learning resources for detailed guides and best practices in securing your device.
  • Feedback and Improvement:Provide feedback to Microsoft on your Defender Antivirus experience to help improve future versions and functionalities.

For further information and detailed guides, refer to Microsoft’s official support page and the comprehensive article on scheduling regular quick and full scans with Microsoft Defender Antivirus.




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