Malware comes, and malware goes. Not all malware of course, but the majority of malware doesn’t stick around very long – just a few days in many cases. Still, with upwards of 300,000 new malware samples every day (according to some estimates), AV solutions could soon be overrun in the race to keep pace with this onslaught. Luckily, malware can often be be grouped by families (malware with inherited characteristics), and that’s where Microsoft’s Malicious Software Removal Tool specifically, comes into play.
The Malicious Software Removal Tool, which is updated monthly, is included with Patch Tuesday’s Windows Update and once activated – runs in the background targeting specific, prevalent malware families. If an infection is found, the tool will remove the malware (hopefully), and provide a report on any actions taken.
A list of malicious software detected and cleaned by the Malicious Software Removal Tool is available here.
If you wish, you can download and then run this tool manually, as required. The latest edition of the tool is always available at the Microsoft Download Center.
System requirements: Windows 7, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, Windows XP
You might wonder as to why Microsoft would make a point of including this AV scanner as part of Windows update. Here’s why (in my view) – an astonishingly large number of users don’t have any security applications installed or, an installed AV solution’s databases is rarely (if ever) updated.
If you take issue with this statement (and that’s fair), then test it by asking a typical user friend/s to name their AV application; tell you the last time they updated the database and, if they recall the last time they ran a malware scan. I think you’ll be disappointed with the response.
A website worth taking note of: Microsoft Consumer Security Support Center.
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