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Malicious Software Removal Tool

The Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool helps remove specific, prevalent malicious software from computers that are running Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, or Windows XP. When the detection and removal process is complete, the tool displays a report describing the outcome, including which, if any, malicious software was detected and removed.

Current Version

Microsoft releases an updated version of the Malicious Software Removal Tool every month. The easiest way to download and run the tool is to turn on Automatic Updates; this guarantees that you receive the tool automatically every month. If you have Automatic Updates turned on, you have already been receiving new versions of this tool monthly. The tool runs in quiet mode unless it finds an infection. If you have not been notified of an infection, no malicious software has been found that needs your attention.

Note: If your computer is running Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2), Automatic Updates is turned on by default.

About This Solution Accelerator

The Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool does not replace an antivirus product. The tool differs from an antivirus product in three key ways:

  • It removes malicious software from an already-infected computer. Antivirus products block malicious software from running on a computer. It is significantly more desirable to block malicious software from running on a computer than to remove it after infection.
  • It removes only specific prevalent malicious software. Specific prevalent malicious software is a small subset of all the malicious software that exists today.
  • It focuses on the detection and removal of active malicious software. Active malicious software is malicious software that is currently running on the computer. The tool cannot remove malicious software that is not running. However, an antivirus product can perform this task.

Note: The Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool does not remove spyware. To help detect and remove spyware, you can download Microsoft Security Essentials.

Additional Resources

The following resources provide additional information to help you protect your computer.