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How Scan any File or Folder Using Windows 8’s Built-in Anti-Virus

Windows 8 includes a built-in antivirus solution that runs in the background. You might, however, be surprised that there is no obvious way to scan an item on demand. Here’s how to launch the Windows Defender GUI as well as add a scan option to the context menu.

Manually Opening Windows Defender

The first way to scan your files is to use the Windows Defender GUI, to do so navigate to:

C:\Program Files\Windows Defender

Then launch:

MSASCui.exe

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When the GUI opens, choose to do a custom scan, then click the Scan now button.

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Now choose the folder you want to scan, and then click OK.

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That’s all there it to it.

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Scan Using the Context Menu

If you don’t fancy opening the GUI, you could always add an option to the context menu. To do so, press the Windows + R keyboard combination to open a run box and type:

shell:sendto

Then press enter.

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Now go ahead and download this batch file we wrote, then unzip its contents into the SendTo folder.

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Now when you right click on a file or folder, you will be able to scan items using the “Send to” menu.

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Unfortunately it does use the command line scanner, nevertheless it gets the job done.

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That’s all there is to it.

Taylor Gibb is a Microsoft MVP and all round geek, he loves everything from Windows 8 to Windows Server 2012 and even C# and PowerShell. You can also follow him on Google+

  • Published 12/15/12

Comments (10)

  1. cyborganism

    Just curious, is there a way to display the Windows Defender icon in the taskbar? I always want to see the status of Windows Defender right on the taskbar, not inside Action Center.

  2. Ghorab

    when i launch MSASCui.exe this messege show to me
    http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/443/15122012044951.png/
    what can i do ?

  3. Bill
  4. Taylor Gibb

    @cyborganism no not by default, but that’s nothing a few lines of code couldn’t change.

    @ghorab looks like you have installed a 3rd party AV, in this circumstance WD is disabled.

  5. ReadandShare

    My Win 7 Home Security Essentials provides for a convenient ‘right click’ scan of specific file(s). Truth be told, I rarely if ever use it. So now, Win 8 did away with it altogether? Could it be because Win 8 scans automatically whenever you download / click on a file — and thus render a manual scan unnecessary?

  6. Smokey

    @cyborganism If you simply want to have the Windows Defender icon showing in your taskbar, then just search for windows defender on your start screen and right click the windows defender icon and select to pin it to your task bar.

    Hope that helps

  7. cyborganism

    @Smokey
    The problem with your method is that it isn’t updating the status of the icon just like MSE does. It merely displays the icon of the program in the taskbar.

  8. MSE for the Winz
  9. MSE for the Winz

    Also MSE has all this build in. Defeneder isn’t needed to do what is wanted in this article.

  10. rover3500

    I put it as a shortcut in sendto, then u can take the .bat off the end looks even better.(i tried it def still works ok)
    I’ve never liked the way most avs have massive context like ‘scan program with *******’ so thanks for a nice short one.

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