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Published on 02.22.08 by Brent Trahan

Scanning For Spyware Using Windows Defender

An in depth guide on scanning your computer for spyware using Windows Defender.

You have a few options when scanning your PC for spyware using Windows Defender. You can choose to perform a quick, full, or custom scan. This guide explains what each type of scan does and how to use them.

Quick Scan

A quick scan will scan only known parts of your computer where spyware commonly hang out.

To perform a quick scan in Windows Defender, simply click Scan at the top of the Windows Defender window.

Full Scan

A full scan will scan your entire computer for spyware.

To perform a full scan in Windows Defender, click the down arrow to the right of Scan at the top of the Windows Defender window and then select Full Scan.

Custom Scan

If you only want to scan a folder instead of your entire computer for spyware a custom scan is the way to go.

  1. Click the arrow to the right of Scan at the top of the Windows Defender window and then select Custom Scan.
  2. Make sure Scan selected drives and folders is selected and then click Select.


  3. Click the + signs next to the drives and folder to navigate to the folder or drive you want to scan and then check off the folder or drive to scan.


  4. Click OK.
  5. Click Scan Now to start the scan.

Scan Using the Command Line Utility

You can also scan your computer with Windows Defender using Windows Defender’s command line utility.

  1. Click the Start orb, All Programs, Accessories, and then right-click Command Prompt and select Run as Administrator to launch an elevated command prompt.
  2. Type C:\Program Files\Windows Defender\MpCmdRun.exe –Scan -0. -0 is for the default type of scan, -1 is for a quick scan, and -2 is for a full scan.
  3. Press Enter on your keyboard to start the scan.

You probably won’t see anything about the progress of the scan. When it’s finished scanning a new line will appear in the command prompt.

Still need help? Ask your computer question now.

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