The Microsoft Safety Scanner (MSERT), formerly known as the Emergency Response Tool, is a standalone application that scans for malware, spyware, and potentially unwanted software on your Windows 10 computer and wipes them without requiring any installation.
The following utility is closely comparable to the Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT), and it functions similarly to your typical antivirus software on Windows 10. MSERT shares the same engine and threat definitions as the built-in Windows Security app, also known as the Windows Defender.
However, the Microsoft Safety Scanner Tool isn’t a full-fledged antivirus solution simply because of its lack of real-time protection and auto-definition updates. It only works as an alternative security tool that scans and deletes harmful software from your PC in cases where your existing anti-malware utility doesn’t work as intended.
Furthermore, every version of MSERT has a validity of ten days. Once expired, you must download the latest version to ensure you scan your Windows 10 device with the updated threat definitions.
If you suspect your Windows computer is infected with potentially malicious software, follow this guide to use the free Microsoft Safety Scanner Tool and eliminate the threats.
Using Microsoft Safety Scanner on Windows 10
To scan your Windows 10 desktop or laptop for malicious software with Microsoft Safety Scanner, follow the below steps:
- Launch your preferred web browser and visit the official Microsoft Safety Scanner download page.
- Click the download link for Microsoft Safety Scanner corresponding to your Windows architecture.
- If you aren’t sure whether your PC runs 32-bit or 64-bit Windows, go to Start > Settings > System > About and check what the system type is under “Device specifications.”
- Once downloaded, launch the MSERT.exe tool and click Yes in the UAC prompt.
- Now tick the box next to “Accept all terms of the preceding license agreement” and click Next.
- Click Next again, then choose the type of scan you wish to run on your Windows 10 PC. Here are your options:
- Quick scan: It scans through directories that are likely to contain malware, spyware, and other harmful software. If it finds any, the tool will prompt you to run a full scan.
- Full scan: It will scan for infections throughout your entire system. This may take several minutes to hours on slower PCs.
- Customized scan: This lets you choose a specific folder for a quick scan.
- After that, click Next and wait for the tool to perform scanning for malware and other threats and wiping them from your PC.
- Once it completes scanning, click Finish to close the Microsoft Safety Scanner tool.
Provided that you have followed the steps, MSERT should get rid of any known malware, spyware, and unwanted software from your Windows 10 computer.
Using Microsoft Safety Scanner with Command Prompt
If you are unable to open MSERT.exe on your PC for some reason, you can run the tool via Command Prompt as well. Here’s how to use it:
- Right-click the Start button and select Command Prompt (Admin) from the contextual menu.
- Now enter the following command to change the CMD path to the Downloads folder containing the Microsoft Safety Scanner tool: cd C:\Users\username\Downloads
- Make sure to update the path depending on where you have the MSERT.exe file.
- If you wish to perform a forced scan, type the following command and hit Enter:
- The Microsoft Safety Scanner window should appear. Click Next to continue with a complete system checkup.
Below are some additional MSERT-related commands you may find helpful depending on the situation:
- msert /f:y for a full scan, with auto-removal of infections.
- msert /q to run a quick scan immediately without the Microsoft Safety Scanner window opening up.
- msert /f /q to perform a full scan in the background without launching the graphical user interface.
If you want to check out all the commands, enter msert /? in the CMD window.
This is how you wipe malware on Windows 10 using the Microsoft Safety Scanner Tool. Although this guide mainly focuses on the latest Windows version, it’s worth noting that Microsoft’s security tool also works on Windows 8.1 and 7