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Self Help - Antivirus, malware solutions for Windows computers


It is critical to make sure that your computer is running software that protects it against malicious software (or malware). Malicious software, which includes viruses, spyware, or other potentially unwanted programs, can try to install on your computer any time you connect to the Internet. They can also infect your computer when you install a program using a CD, DVD, or other removable media. Malicious software can also be programmed to run at unexpected times, not just when it is installed.

Different options for preventing these programs from infecting your computer exist, and depend on which version of Windows your computer is running. It is typically best practice to ensure that you only have one antivirus program installed at a time.


Windows 10 Antivirus

Microsoft includes Antivirus software in Windows 10 called Windows Defender. For more information on how to run that software and update your virus definitions, please visit Microsoft's website:

Windows 8 Antivirus

Microsoft includes Antivirus software in Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 called Windows Defender. For more information on how to run that software and update your virus definitions, please visit Microsoft's website:

Windows 7 Antivirus

Microsoft Security Essentials is a free download from Microsoft with constantly-updated virus definitions that works with not only Windows 7, but older versions of the operating system, as well. Microsoft's website contains not only the downloads for the specific version of Windows you require, but documentation on how to run and update the program.

Anti-malware options

Often times, free anti-malware programs can supplement antivirus programs for certain malicious software installs. These are the best two options on the market:

Basic prevention tips

An easy way to diminish the chances of picking up viruses or malware is to be vigilant about your online behaviors. Keep the following tips in mind:

  • Keep Windows up to date: Microsoft releases patches on a near-constant basis for the latest security vulnerabilities. Run Windows Update frequently to ensure that you have the latest patches.
  • Email links: Be wary of clicking suspicious links sent to you via email, even if you recognize the name of the person that sent it to you.
  • Websites: Regardless of the credibility of a website, malicious programs can be embedded in clickable links. This is especially true in advertisements. Be careful of what you click on online.

More Help

For questions, contact the CIT HelpDesk by calling (585) 245-5588, visiting us in Milne Library, or visiting our online service desk.