Take advantage of SmartScreen technology to help avoid malware
Microsoft SmartScreen technology can help protect your computer from online threats, including phishing sites and malware downloads. It can also warn you when a downloaded program has a higher risk of being malicious.
What is malware?
The term "malware" combines "malicious" and "software" and refers to any software that is designed to cause damage to a computer, server, or network. Viruses, spyware, worms, key loggers, and Trojans are examples of malware.
If you click links that are disguised as images, audio, or video files that might appear on suspicious websites, in instant messages (IMs), or in email messages, you might expose your computer to malware. In some cases, malware can even be hidden in files that have been uploaded to reputable websites. Malware can:
Slow down your computer.
Spread itself to other computers.
Erase everything on your computer.
Result in identity theft or give a criminal access to your computer and web accounts.
What are examples of SmartScreen technology?
SmartScreen Filter is a feature in Internet Explorer. Whether you're running Internet Explorer 9 or Internet Explorer 10, if you attempt to visit a site or download a file that is reported as unsafe, SmartScreen Filter displays a warning that advises you about the potential dangers and allows you to provide feedback.
Application Reputation is part of SmartScreen in Internet Explorer. Application Reputation protection helps reduce the number of unnecessary warning prompts for most downloads and will display them only when you are about to run downloaded programs that are more likely to be malicious.
Windows SmartScreen is built into the Windows 8 operating system. If your computer is running Windows 8, Windows SmartScreen Application Reputation can help protect you from downloaded programs that are more likely to be malicious. You can adjust Windows SmartScreen settings to suit your preferences for dealing with unrecognized apps.
Skype also employs SmartScreen technology. For example, if you're using Skype and you click links to websites that are known to contain malware and phishing threats, Skype blocks the sites.
How can I avoid malware?
Turn on your firewall.
Turn on automatic updating with Windows Update. Your operating system and your software programs should be updated regularly.
Always use antivirus and antispyware software from trusted sources and keep the software up to date.
Make sure that SmartScreen Filter is enabled in both Internet Explorer and Windows 8.
Make sure that User Account Control (UAC) is active so that it always notifies you of changes to your computer. Carefully review each message that you receive from UAC before you allow changes to your computer.
Be wary of social engineering:
Don't click links on suspicious websites or in email messages. Type addresses directly into your browser or use bookmarks.
Don't automatically trust sender information in IMs, email messages, or messages on social networking websites. If possible, verify links even if they're sent by friends or family.
Be careful when you download from the Internet. Files that end in extensions .exe or .scr often hide malware. However, even files with familiar extensions such as .docx, .xlsx, and .pdf can be dangerous.
Be sure to keep your browser plug-ins up to date.
Before you install something, consider the risks and benefits of installing it, and be aware of the fine print. For example, make sure that the license agreement does not conceal a warning that you are about to install software with unwanted behavior.
Only download programs and updates from reputable sources. If you use Windows or Microsoft Office, always go to Microsoft Update. For other software, always use the legitimate websites of the company or person who produces the software.
How do I remove malware?
Visit Microsoft Update and install the latest updates.
Download, install, and run the Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool.
Scan your computer with antivirus and antispyware software from a trusted source, such as Microsoft Security Essentials.
If you think that you have malware on your PC and can't access the antivirus and antispyware software on your computer, you can do a PC safety scan with the Microsoft Safety Scanner.
If you think that you have malware on your PC and you can’t access the Internet, download Windows Defender Offline from another computer to removable media (a CD, DVD, or USB flash drive), and then use that media to run Windows Defender Offline on the affected computer.
If the antivirus product that you are using doesn't work, you must use specialized removal tools or reformat your computer and reinstall the operating system. Either of these options might require you to take your computer to a professional for repair. For more information, see How do I remove a computer virus.
Need more support?
If you are having another problem not covered here, get support from Microsoft.