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How to run full virus scan with Microsoft Defender Antivirus on Windows 10


  • To run a full virus scan on Windows 10, open Windows Security > Virus & threat protection > Scan options, select “Full scan,” and click “Scan now.”
  • Alternatively, you can also use Command Prompt and PowerShell commands to run a malware scan on your computer.

On Windows 10, Microsoft Defender Antivirus proactively checks and scans your computer for threats automatically, such as viruses, spyware, ransomware, rootkits, and other malware and hackers. However, sometimes, you may still need to perform a scan manually to make sure the installation and data have not been compromised.

If you suspect a virus or another malware has infected your computer (or you want to perform a maintenance scan), Microsoft Defender Antivirus allows you to perform three types of manual scans on Windows 10, including quick, custom, and full scans using the Windows Security app, Command Prompt, and PowerShell.

This guide will teach you to perform a virus scan using the built-in anti-malware program on Windows 10.

Run full virus scan from Windows Security

To run a full virus scan on Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open Start on Windows 10.

  2. Search for Windows Security and click the top result to open the app.

  3. Click on Virus & threat protection.

  4. Under the “Current threats” section, click on Scan options.

    Windows Security scan options

  5. Select the Full scan option to check the entire system for viruses and any other type of malware.

    Microsoft Defender Antivirus full scan

  6. Click the Scan now button.

Once you complete the steps, Microsoft Defender Antivirus will scan your device for viruses and many other types of malware. If anything is detected, the antivirus automatically removes (or quarantines) the threats.

Also, depending on the amount of data, this process can take a long time. If you have a lot of files, it is recommended to start the scan when you are done using the device for the day and let the scan run overnight.

Run full virus scan from Command Prompt

To run a Microsoft Defender Antivirus full scan from Command Prompt, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.

  2. Search for Command Prompt, right-click the top result, and select the Run as administrator option.

  3. Type the following command to locate the latest version of Microsoft Defender Antivirus installation and press Enter:

    cd C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows Defender\Platform\4*
  4. Type the following command to run a full virus scan and press Enter:

    mpcmdrun -scan -scantype 2

    Command Prompt full virus scan

After you complete the steps, the anti-malware solution will scan the device for malware. You will notice the “Start scanning” messages as you run the command. Once the scan is complete, you will see the “Scan finished” message.

Run full virus scan from PowerShell

To start a full scan with Microsoft Defender Antivirus from PowerShell, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.

  2. Search for PowerShell, right-click the top result, and select the Run as administrator option.

  3. Type the following command to start a full malware scan and press Enter:

    start-mpscan -scantype fullscan

    PowerShell full virus scan command

Once you complete the steps, Microsoft Defender Antivirus will perform a full scan to check, detect, and remove viruses and any other type of malware it might be able to find.

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