How do I scan my computer for ransomware?

Answered by Randy McIntyre

To scan your computer for ransomware, you can utilize the Windows Security settings and Windows Defender Offline scan. Follow the steps below:

1. Open your Windows Security settings: You can do this by clicking on the Windows Start button, searching for “Windows Security,” and selecting the corresponding app.

2. Select Virus & threat protection: Once you’re in the Windows Security app, click on the “Virus & threat protection” option in the left-hand menu.

3. Access Scan options: Under the Virus & threat protection settings, scroll down until you find the “Scan options” section. Click on it to proceed.

4. Choose Windows Defender Offline scan: In the Scan options, you will see various scan types. Look for the “Windows Defender Offline scan” option and select it.

5. Initiate the scan: After selecting Windows Defender Offline scan, click on the “Scan now” button to start the process.

Windows Defender Offline scan is designed to detect and remove advanced malware, such as ransomware, that may be difficult to eliminate while the operating system is running. This scan runs outside of Windows, helping to ensure a more thorough analysis of your system.

During the scan, your computer will restart and Windows Defender Offline will launch before the operating system loads. The scan will then commence, thoroughly checking your system for any signs of ransomware or other malicious software.

It’s important to note that the Windows Defender Offline scan may take a significant amount of time to complete, depending on the size of your hard drive and the number of files it needs to scan. It’s recommended to run the scan when you don’t need immediate access to your computer.

Once the scan is finished, Windows will boot up as usual, and you will be able to view the scan results in the Windows Security app. If any ransomware or other threats are detected, Windows Defender will guide you through the necessary steps to remove them and protect your system.

Remember to keep your Windows Defender antivirus definitions up to date to ensure the best possible protection against ransomware and other malware. Regularly scanning your computer for threats is a good practice to maintain the security of your system.

In my personal experience, running regular scans with Windows Defender Offline has been effective in detecting and removing various types of malware, including ransomware. It provides an extra layer of security and peace of mind knowing that my system is being thoroughly checked for any potential threats.