Microsoft Defender Antivirus in the Windows Security app

Applies to:

In Windows 10, version 1703 and later, the Windows Defender app is part of the Windows Security.

Settings that were previously part of the Windows Defender client and main Windows Settings have been combined and moved to the new app, which is installed by default as part of Windows 10, version 1703.

Important

Disabling the Windows Security Center service does not disable Microsoft Defender Antivirus or Windows Defender Firewall. These are disabled automatically when a third-party antivirus or firewall product is installed and kept up to date.

If you do disable the Windows Security Center service, or configure its associated Group Policy settings to prevent it from starting or running, the Windows Security app might display stale or inaccurate information about any antivirus or firewall products you have installed on the device. It might also prevent Microsoft Defender Antivirus from enabling itself if you have an old or outdated third-party antivirus, or if you uninstall any third-party antivirus products you might have previously installed. This will significantly lower the protection of your device and could lead to malware infection.

See the Windows Security article for more information on other Windows security features that can be monitored in the app.

The Windows Security app is a client interface on Windows 10, version 1703 and later. It is not the Microsoft Defender Security Center web portal that is used to review and manage Microsoft Defender for Endpoint.

Review virus and threat protection settings in the Windows Security app

Virus and threat protection settings in Windows Security app.

  1. Open the Windows Security app by clicking the shield icon in the task bar or searching the start menu for Defender.

  2. Select the Virus & threat protection tile (or the shield icon on the left menu bar).

The following sections describe how to perform some of the most common tasks when reviewing or interacting with the threat protection provided by Microsoft Defender Antivirus in the Windows Security app.

Note

If these settings are configured and deployed using Group Policy, the settings described in this section will be greyed-out and unavailable for use on individual endpoints. Changes made through a Group Policy Object must first be deployed to individual endpoints before the setting will be updated in Windows Settings. The Configure end-user interaction with Microsoft Defender Antivirus topic describes how local policy override settings can be configured.

Run a scan with the Windows Security app

  1. Open the Windows Security app by searching the start menu for Security, and then selecting Windows Security.

  2. Select the Virus & threat protection tile (or the shield icon on the left menu bar).

  3. Select Quick scan. Or, to run a full scan, select Scan options, and then select an option, such as Full scan.

Review the security intelligence update version and download the latest updates in the Windows Security app

Security intelligence version number.

  1. Open the Windows Security app by searching the start menu for Security, and then selecting Windows Security.

  2. Select the Virus & threat protection tile (or the shield icon on the left menu bar).

  3. Select Virus & threat protection updates. The currently installed version is displayed along with some information about when it was downloaded. You can check your current against the latest version available for manual download, or review the change log for that version. See Security intelligence updates for Microsoft Defender Antivirus and other Microsoft antimalware.

  4. Select Check for updates to download new protection updates (if there are any).

Ensure Microsoft Defender Antivirus is enabled in the Windows Security app

  1. Open the Windows Security app by searching the start menu for Security, and then selecting Windows Security.

  2. Select the Virus & threat protection tile (or the shield icon on the left menu bar).

  3. Select Virus & threat protection settings.

  4. Toggle the Real-time protection switch to On.

    Note

    If you switch Real-time protection off, it will automatically turn back on after a short delay. This is to ensure you are protected from malware and threats. If you install another antivirus product, Microsoft Defender Antivirus automatically disables itself and is indicated as such in the Windows Security app. A setting will appear that will allow you to enable limited periodic scanning.

Add exclusions for Microsoft Defender Antivirus in the Windows Security app

  1. Open the Windows Security app by searching the start menu for Security, and then selecting Windows Security.

  2. Select the Virus & threat protection tile (or the shield icon on the left menu bar).

  3. Under the Manage settings, select Virus & threat protection settings.

  4. Under the Exclusions setting, select Add or remove exclusions.

  5. Select the plus icon (+) to choose the type and set the options for each exclusion.

The following table summarizes exclusion types and what happens:



Exclusion type Defined by What happens
File Location
Example: c:\sample\sample.test
The specific file is skipped by Microsoft Defender Antivirus.
Folder Location
Example: c:\test\sample
All items in the specified folder are skipped by Microsoft Defender Antivirus.
File type File extension
Example: .test
All files with the .test extension anywhere on your device are skipped by Microsoft Defender Antivirus.
Process Executable file path
Example: c:\test\process.exe
The specific process and any files that are opened by that process are skipped by Microsoft Defender Antivirus.

To learn more, see the following resources:

Review threat detection history in the Windows Defender Security Center app

  1. Open the Windows Security app by searching the start menu for Security, and then selecting Windows Security.

  2. Select the Virus & threat protection tile (or the shield icon on the left menu bar).

  3. Select Protection history. Any recent items are listed.

Set ransomware protection and recovery options

  1. Open the Windows Security app by searching the start menu for Security, and then selecting Windows Security.

  2. Select the Virus & threat protection tile (or the shield icon on the left menu bar).

  3. Under Ransomware protection, select Manage ransomware protection.

  4. To change Controlled folder access settings, see Protect important folders with Controlled folder access.

  5. To set up ransomware recovery options, select Set up under Ransomware data recovery and follow the instructions for linking or setting up your OneDrive account so you can easily recover from a ransomware attack.

See also