To help avoid getting your computer infected by malicious software, it’s a good idea to scan files before executing them. Today we take a look at a couple of options that will let you scan files easily from your desktop.

Scan File with Your Antivirus Software

Most Antivirus software will put an option in the context menu so you can scan individual files. After downloading a file or email attachment, simply right-click the file and select the option to scan with your Antivirus software.

If you want to scan more than one at a time, hold down the Ctrl key while you clicking each file you want to scan. Then right-click and select to scan with your Antivirus software.

Here is our favorite Antivirus app, Microsoft Security Essentials scanning a couple of files.

If a virus is found, your Antivirus app will delete it or put it in Quarantine so it cannot infect your system.

Using VirusTotal Uploader

To be very thorough and want a second opinion (actually 41), then you might want to check out the VirusTotal Uploader. This handy app will scan your files with 41 different Antivirus apps online. After installing VirusTotal Uploader, right-click the file, go to Send To, then VirusTotal.

Alternately you can launch VirusTotal Uploader and Get and upload the file.

It will send the file to and scan it with 41 different Antivirus apps and show you the results.

If you don’t want to install the Uploader, you can go to the VirusTotal site and upload a file from there to scan.

We’ve noticed that occasionally there will be a false positive detected on files we know are clean. Sometimes the definition database of an Anti-malware app isn’t current, or an obscure Antivirus App will find something questionable. If that is the case, use your best judgment when viewing the results.


Most Antivirus apps today have real-time scanning and should be able to detect possible infections before you’re able to execute them. However, if they don’t or when in doubt, following these tips can save you a lot of headaches in the long run.

If you use a lot of different flash drives throughout the day, check out our article on how to scan a thumb drive for viruses from the AutoPlay Dialog.

Download Microsoft Security Essentials

Download VirusTotal Uploader

VirusTotal Website