How to Check for Malware on Windows 11: A Step-by-Step Guide

Checking for malware on Windows 11 is crucial for maintaining your computer’s security and performance. To accomplish this, you can use built-in tools like Windows Security or third-party antivirus software. The process involves running a full system scan, reviewing the scan results, and taking action to remove any detected threats. Follow the steps below to ensure your system is clean and protected.

How to Check for Malware on Windows 11

By following these steps, you’ll be able to run a thorough malware scan on your Windows 11 PC. We’ll be using Windows Security, which comes pre-installed, but you can also use third-party programs if you prefer.

Step 1: Open Windows Security

Open the Start menu and type “Windows Security,” then press Enter.

This action will launch the Windows Security app, which is a built-in tool designed to help you protect your PC against malware and other threats.

Step 2: Navigate to ‘Virus & threat protection’

Click on the “Virus & threat protection” option in the navigation pane.

Once you’re there, you’ll see options to run different types of scans. This section is your main hub for dealing with malware and other threats.

Step 3: Run a Quick Scan

Click on the “Quick scan” button to initiate a quick scan of your system.

A quick scan checks the most common areas where malware might be hiding. It’s a good first step if you suspect an issue but don’t want to wait for a full scan.

Step 4: Run a Full Scan

For a more comprehensive check, select “Scan options” and then choose “Full scan” before clicking “Scan now.”

A full scan will go through all files and programs on your PC. This is more time-consuming but essential for ensuring no malware is missed.

Step 5: Review Scan Results

Once the scan is complete, review the results to see if any threats were detected.

Windows Security will give you a detailed report of any detected issues. It’s important to review this carefully to understand what’s been found.

Step 6: Remove Detected Threats

Follow the prompts to remove or quarantine any detected threats.

Windows Security provides options to clean, quarantine, or ignore detected threats. Always choose to clean or quarantine to protect your system.

After completing these steps, your PC should be free of malware. If threats were found and removed, you should notice an improvement in performance and security.

Tips for Checking for Malware on Windows 11

  • Keep your Windows and antivirus software up to date. New threats emerge regularly, so updates are crucial.
  • Schedule regular scans. Setting up automatic scans can help catch malware early.
  • Be cautious with downloads. Avoid downloading files from unfamiliar websites.
  • Use a reputable antivirus program. There are many free and paid options that offer robust protection.
  • Check system performance. If your PC is slow or behaving oddly, it might be worth running a scan even if you don’t see other signs of malware.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I run a malware scan?

Running a scan at least once a week is recommended. Regular scans can help catch threats early and keep your system secure.

Can I use third-party antivirus software with Windows Security?

Yes, you can. Windows Security will automatically disable certain features if a third-party antivirus is installed, to avoid conflicts.

What should I do if malware is detected?

Follow the prompts to remove or quarantine the detected malware. If the issue persists, consider seeking professional help.

Are free antivirus programs effective?

Many free antivirus programs offer good basic protection. However, paid versions often provide more comprehensive features.

Can malware affect system performance?

Yes, malware can slow down your PC, cause crashes, and even lead to data loss. Regular scans help prevent these issues.

Summary of Steps

  1. Open Windows Security.
  2. Navigate to ‘Virus & threat protection.’
  3. Run a Quick Scan.
  4. Run a Full Scan.
  5. Review Scan Results.
  6. Remove Detected Threats.


Checking for malware on Windows 11 is a vital task that helps ensure your computer remains secure and runs smoothly. By using Windows Security or a trusted third-party antivirus program, you can protect your system from various threats. Regular scans and updates play a key role in maintaining cybersecurity.

Remember, malware can sneak into your system in many ways, from email attachments to malicious websites. Stay vigilant, be cautious with downloads, and keep your software updated. Following these simple steps and tips can make a significant difference in your computer’s health and your peace of mind.

For further reading, consider looking into advanced malware protection techniques or investing in a comprehensive cybersecurity suite. Your digital safety is worth the effort!

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