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Microsoft Malware
Removal Tool

By Stephen Harrison B.Sc., M.Sc., MBCS, CITP

The Microsoft Malware Removal Tool, or the Malicious Software Removal Tool, as it is also known, is a 'stealth' Malware removal tool that aggressively scans your computer for especially troublesome, suspicious programs.

Malware with exotic names such as Sasser, zBot and Mydoom, with ratings of Severe, means they can cause lots of damage to your computer. They are also very difficult to remove.

'Stealth' removal tools usually eliminate targeted malicious programs from your computer.

The updated Microsoft Malware Removal Tool is released on the second Tuesday of each month, also known as Patch Tuesday.

If Microsoft are alerted to any serious threats they release the updated tool on a more regular basis.

If you have Windows updates switched ON, this tool will download and run silently on your computer, removing any suspect software found.

Attention!

Accept the Licence Agreement if prompted

A report is also sent to Microsoft to track Malware behaviour.

However, if you have Windows updates switched OFF, or you have recurring problems with Malware, read on.

This tutorial takes you through each step to download and run the Malware removal tool manually. This is a good idea as it could be argued that running the tool once a month is not enough. Listed below is a link to each part of the process. 

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Microsoft Malware Removal Tool Download

To download the correct version of the tool for your computer.


Microsoft Malicious Removal Tool Web PageMicrosoft Malicious Removal Tool Web Page


Microsoft Malicious Removal Tool Download PageMicrosoft Malicious Removal Tool Download Page

  • Double Left-Click the downloaded file. This will extract the tools files and load it up.

Microsoft Malicious Removal Tool File ExtractMicrosoft Malicious Removal Tool File Extract

The next step is to set up the tool to run the correct scan for your circumstances.

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Setup And Scanning Process

  • Click Next when prompted.

Microsoft Malicious Removal Tool Scan StartMicrosoft Malicious Removal Tool Scan Start

  • Select the appropriate scan option for your circumstances. For example: 

    Quick Scan: If you have Windows updates enabled, and you don't usually have an issue with Malware, a quick scan may be right for you. It checks the common areas of your computer where malicious programs likes to host themselves 

    Full Scan: Scans all files and folders on your computer. Recommended if you do not have Windows updates enabled and have had recent Malware problems 

    Customized Scan: Gives you the choice to scan specific folders where you think suspect software might be. I generally do a quick scan, and if anything is found, immediately do a full scan

Microsoft Malicious Removal Tool Scan OptionsMicrosoft Malicious Removal Tool Scan Options

  • The Malware detector starts scanning your machine

Microsoft Malware Removal Tool Scan In ActionMicrosoft Malware Removal Tool Scan In Action

The next step is to look at the completed scan report and what to do if malware is found.

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Post Scan Actions

  • If your computer has no difficult Malware installed that the tool is programmed to look for, you receive a No Malicious Software Was Detected message at the end of the scan

Microsoft Malware Removal Tool Scan Clean OutcomeMicrosoft Malware Removal Tool Scan Clean Outcome

  • Left-Click the View Detailed Results Of The Scan link to see which malicious programs Microsoft is searching for, and to confirm that none were detected

Microsoft Malicious Removal Tool Scan ReportMicrosoft Malicious Removal Tool Scan Report

  • If you receive a report where Malware is detected, confirm whether it has been removed from your computer or not

Microsoft Malicious Removal Tool Report DetectionMicrosoft Malicious Removal Tool Report Detection

  • If you see Not Removed next to any malware names, you need to look for an alternative free malware protection tool (unless you prefer to invest in one).

    The McAfee Stinger Utility is an excellent tool to remove malware free of charge

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Final Thoughts

This tool is not an alternative to a good anti Malware program.

The Microsoft Malware Removal Tool is a program written to tackle a very limited number of threats that can cause major damage. This doesn't mean your computer is permanently safe.

It means your computer is free of the Malware it is looking for at this moment.

There is also good information on how to avoid rogue security software that can catch you out on the Internet.

Finally, take a look at the Types of Malware page for further details and articles about this important subject.



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