Security | Vulnerability Scans and Assessment Windows

How to remove malware using Microsoft Safety Scanner on Windows 10 and 11

How to remove malware using Microsoft Safety Scanner
How to remove malware using Microsoft Safety Scanner

The Microsoft Safety Scanner (MSERT) is a standalone tool specifically designed for Windows users to scan, detect, and remove various types of malware, including viruses, spyware, and unwanted software. What sets it apart is that it doesn’t require any additional installation, making it a convenient and efficient option to safeguard your computer. Similar to the Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT), the Microsoft Safety Scanner operates similarly to the standard anti-malware software you would typically use on Windows. It even utilizes the same engine and threat definitions as the Microsoft Defender Antivirus. In this article, I will show you how to remove malware using Microsoft Safety Scanner on Windows 10 and 11.

Here are other related guides on Windows security: How to turn on Windows 10 Tamper Protection for Microsoft Defender Part 1How to enable or disable Windows Defender Antivirus Periodic Scanning on Windows via Windows SecuritySmart App Control and how to enable Phishing Protection: Windows 11 New Security Features, and How to enable or disable Core Isolation Memory Integrity in Windows 10 and 11.

What to note?

However, it’s important to note that the Safety Scanner is not intended to replace your regular antivirus solution, as it lacks real-time protection and automatic updates. Instead, it serves as an additional tool to scan and remove infections when you suspect that your current security software might not be functioning optimally or if you believe your device has been compromised. One key thing to be aware of is that the Microsoft Safety Scanner is only valid for ten days. After this period, you will need to download an updated version to ensure you have the most recent security threat definitions and enhancements.

To assist you in effectively scanning and removing malware from your Windows computer, we have provided step-by-step instructions using the free Microsoft Safety Scanner tool: Please see how to Find and remove Malware with Microsoft Defender Offline, How to perform vulnerability scan on Microsoft SQL Server, and how to schedule Windows Defender Antivirus to scan on Windows.

How To Remove Malware With Microsoft Safety Scanner On Windows 10 and 11

Open the Microsoft support page dedicated to the Microsoft Safety Scanner tool. Locate and click on the “Download Microsoft Safety Scanner (64-bit)” option to initiate the download process for the tool.

How to remove malware using Microsoft Safety Scanner Download
Microsoft Safety Scanner Download

Go to where the file is downloaded, right-click on the MSERT. exe and select “Open“.

How to remove malware using Microsoft Safety Scanner - Launch the msert.exe file
Launch the msert.exe file

Accept the terms and conditions by checking the corresponding box and click the “Next” button.

How to remove malware using Microsoft Safety Scanner - Accept the End User License Agreement
Accept the End User License Agreement

Proceed by clicking the “Next” button again. At this stage, you will encounter the Microsoft Safety Scanner privacy information.

How to remove malware using Microsoft Safety Scanner - Welcome page of the Microsoft Safety Scanner
Welcome page of the Microsoft Safety Scanner

   Choose the scan type that suits your needs:

   – Quick scan: Focuses on scanning the most vulnerable areas where viruses, spyware, and unwanted software tend to reside. It does not remove any infections but prompts you to perform a full scan if necessary.

   – Full scan: Scans the entire system comprehensively, detecting and removing malware infections.

   – Customized scan: Enables you to perform a quick virus scan while specifying a specific folder location. If you opt for the Customized scan, click the “Choose Folder” button to select the desired folder for scanning.

How to remove malware using Microsoft Safety Scanner - Select the scan type
Select the scan type

Click the “Next” button to proceed with the scanning.

System scanning in progress
System scanning in progress

Finally, click the “Finish” button. Here is an article on how to determine much RAM your Windows PC really need.

Scan Result
Scan Results

At this point, the Microsoft Safety Scanner will initiate the scan process, examining your system for common viruses and various other types of malware, akin to any other anti-virus software.

Please see How to Manage Windows Defender Antivirus Through Microsoft Endpoint Manager Admin Dashboard and Intune, and How to manage Microsoft Defender Antivirus with Group Policy and Microsoft Malware Protection from the Command Line.

How To Remove Malware With Microsoft Safety Scanner In Command Prompt

Open the Start menu, search for Command Prompt, right-click on the top result, and select the “Run as administrator” option.

Open Command Prompt
Open Command Prompt

Navigate to the folder that contains the Microsoft Safety Scanner tool using the cd command:

E.g., cd C:\downloads\files

 Execute the command below to initiate a forced scan:

msert /f
msert full scan command
msert full scan command

The command automatically launch the msert file. Click the “Next” button to proceed with a full scan.

msert Full Scan type.
msert Full Scan type

Run the following command to perform a full scan and automatically clean any infected files:

msert /f:y

Click the “Next” button to proceed with the scan and automatic cleaning.

To run a silent scan without a visual interface, use the following command:

msert /q

Execute the command below to run a full silent scan:

msert /f /q

 After completing these steps, the tool will initiate a scan on your computer, detecting and deleting any malware it finds.

In the event that a threat is detected during the quick scan, you will be prompted to perform a full scan. If you executed the command with the “/f:y” option, the scan will detect and remove any malware automatically. Alternatively, if you used the “/q” option, the tool will run silently in the background without displaying a user interface. To view the full list of available options, you can utilize the “msert /?” command.


It is always recommended to download a fresh copy of the tool for each scan. Additionally, please keep in mind that the Safety Scanner expires after ten days from the time of downloading. By following these instructions, you can effectively utilize the Microsoft Safety Scanner to detect and remove malware from your Windows 10 and 11 system, bolstering its security and protecting your data.

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