Microsoft has released a portable standalone security tool designed specifically to scan for and remove viruses, spyware and other threats.
The download package weighs in at a hefty 70MB, largely due to the fact it includes all the virus definitions it needs. Once downloaded, the tool will work for 10 days before expiring, forcing the user to download a fresh version with the latest updates included.
Microsoft Safety Scanner includes no real-time protection – it’s purely a scan-and-remove tool – and so can be used alongside existing security software to provide a second opinion or to try and detect and remove threats missed by the primary software. Although it doesn’t need to be installed, the program does require Administrator access before it will run.
Once launched, the program offers three options: quick scan, full scan and custom scan, whereby the user selects a specific drive or folder to scan for possible infection. The tool then performs the scan, attempts to remove any threats it finds and then finishes.
At the present time, Microsoft Safety Scanner sits in Microsoft’s portfolio alongside Microsoft Security Essentials, its conventional anti-malware tool, and the Malicious Software Removal Tool, which is updated once a month through Windows Update. Its primary use will be to provide backup diagnosis for existing security software (due to its lack of real-time protection, it is not a substitute for existing software), or to verify a computer is clean of viruses prior to downloading and installing security software on to it.