Can you please explain what the Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool is? It comes through every month with the Windows Updates, but I’ve never really figured out what it does.

Oh, that’s such a good question! I’ve been asked this question several times in the past and to be honest, I thought we already covered it in the newsletter. That’s the only reason why I never addressed it. But, after taking a quick look through our archives, I found out we’ve touched on it before, but we never really gave a good definition of it. So, before I go any further, I just want to apologize for neglecting this for so long and I hope my explanation of it today will make up for lost time. Let’s get started, shall we?!

Here’s the basic definition you’ve been looking for! The Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool is a utility that scans your computer for any infections that revolve around malicious software. If anything is found, the Removal Tool then helps to get rid of it. A few examples of the software it focuses on a bit more are Blaster, Sasser and Mydoom. Once the scan is finished and the malicious software is removed from your computer, the Tool gives you a report describing everything that was detected and removed.

Now, like the person who asked today’s question stated, a version of the Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool is released each month with the Windows Updates. Other versions of the Tool are also released when needed to help out with new security issues. The version you install each month through the Windows Updates simply sits in the background on your computer and alerts you if an infection is found. You are able to run the Tool more than once a month if you wish, but in order to do that, you need to download a different copy from Microsoft’s Web site. That’s completely up to you!

It’s possible that some of you neglect to install the Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool each month. You may think your computer is just fine and you’re convinced you don’t need another utility running on your computer. Well, everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, but I strongly recommend you run the Tool at least once a month. Even if your computer seems to be acting normal, you’re still at risk of being infected. The Removal Tool is heavy duty and it makes a big difference when it comes to keeping your computer safe.

You should also make sure you keep all of your other antivirus, spyware, etc. software up to date. Those programs can work along with the Tool to keep your computer as protected as possible. Also, just for your information, the Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool works with the following operating systems: Windows 2000, XP, Vista and Server 2003. Stay safe!

~ Erin