Microsoft Malware Prevention troubleshooter checks your PC's preparedness

Martin Brinkmann
Jun 12, 2013
Updated • Jun 12, 2013
Antivirus, Windows

Is your PC properly configured to protect your files, data and information from malware and other malicious attacks? Experienced users may be able to answer that question without having to think much about it, while inexperienced users may have the nagging feeling that their PC may not be as well protected as it could or should be.

Microsoft's Malware Prevention troubleshooter serves two purposes. First, it analyzes important security related settings and features letting you know in the end if there is something that you can improve security-wise. Second, it offers to resolve several of the issues that it finds right away.

The program belongs to the Fix-It category of applications that Microsoft creates for a variety of troubleshooting related purposes. These tools can be run right after you have downloaded them to your PC.

Note: The tool requires an Internet connection when you run it as it is downloading components from Microsoft before it performs the scan. Yes, this is done every time you run the application.

microsoft malware prevention

You can select to have the application apply fixes for issues that it finds automatically, or not. I strongly suggest you select the "let me select the fixes to apply" option on the selection screen as you do not have any control whatsoever otherwise.

The scan should not take too long and results are displayed to you afterwards. If you have selected the manual option, you are free to check or uncheck identified issues so that you can decide what you want repaired or resolved, and what not.

What the program scans for

  • Is antivirus software installed and running on the system.
  • Is Windows Update configured to automatically install updates.
  • Is the Windows Firewall enabled or a comparable program.
  • Is the pop-up blocker enabled (Internet Explorer).
  • Is Remote Registry turned on or off.
  • Check if the latest Internet Explorer version is installed on the system. Will also modify privacy settings for improved privacy if necessary, and delete Internet cache and browsing history.
  • Enable User Account Control (UAC) if disabled.
  • Reset proxy settings.

Checking the findings of the program manually is important, as you may end up otherwise with modifications that torpedo changes that you have made to the system. If you require a custom proxy server to connect to the Internet, or Remote Registry, then you'd better make sure you select manual and uncheck the findings before you continue with a click on the next button.

The antivirus software that Microsoft suggests is the company's own Microsoft Security Essentials tool. While that is certainly better than no protection at all, it is not the best tool in this regard as it is not a complete solution to protect your system from malicious software.

The Fix It appears to be compatible with all versions of Windows from Windows XP onwards to Windows 7 but not Windows 8 right now. You can download the latest version of the program from Microsoft.


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  1. ilev said on June 14, 2013 at 12:13 am


    Yes they do, unless your Windows PC is always offline.

  2. Miguel said on June 12, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    In my opinion, this tool is a bit too “basic”… Hope they’ll update it with new checks in the future.

    But anyway, if it works on XP, I’m glad they finally found that the “Remote registry” service should have been disabled in Windows XP a lot of time ago :P

  3. Nebulus said on June 12, 2013 at 9:47 am

    This tool provides nothing that you can’t easily do by hand… And I might not need to connect to Microsoft each time I do it either :)

    1. ilev said on June 12, 2013 at 2:00 pm

      You don’t need to connect to Microsoft, Windows has ~90 secret services running in the background transmitting every action made on your Windows PC, 24/7, to Microsoft’s servers.

      1. Nebulus said on June 12, 2013 at 7:19 pm

        They wish, but they don’t :)

  4. Skip Cowles said on June 12, 2013 at 9:47 am

    This does not work with windows 8 per the web site when I tried to use it

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on June 12, 2013 at 10:02 am

      You are right, it is only for XP to 7. I edit the article.

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