You will find below two different methods to Scan Files and Folders for malware using Microsoft Defender, which comes as a part of Windows Security Suite in Windows 10.
Scan Files and Folders Using Microsoft Defender
Microsoft Defender, which was previously known as Windows Defender should automatically scan files and folders for malware as soon as you open them on your computer.
This happens only if “Real Time Scanning” feature in Windows Security is switched ON and actively running on your computer.
However, you can always manually scan files and folders on your computer using Microsoft Defender, even if the “Real Time Scanning” feature in Windows security has been switched OFF.
In general, users disable “Real Time Scanning” while using third party antivirus programs and also if this feature is consuming excessive resources on the computer.
1. Scan File or Folder For Malware Using Microsoft Defender
If no third party antivirus software is installed on your computer, you should be able to scan any file or folder for malware by right-clicking on it.
1. Locate the File/Folder that you want to scan for viruses or malware.
2. Right-click on the File/Folder and select Scan with Microsoft Defender option.
Note: If May 2020 update is not installed on your computer, the right-click option will read “Scan with Windows Defender”.
3. On Windows Security screen, you will be able to see the results of malware scan.
If the file or the folder is clean, you will see “No Current Threats”. If malware is detected, you will see Threats Found alert from Microsoft Defender, along with the names of affected files.
How to Remove Malware Using Microsoft Defender
If malware is detected, simply, click on Start Actions button and Microsoft Defender will begin the process of removing malware from the affected file or folder.
If you are interested in getting more information about the removed malware, click on Protection History option located below the scan results (see above image).
2. Scan Folder for Malware Using Microsoft Defender Custom Scan
The Custom Scan feature in Microsoft Defender can be used to Scan Folders located anywhere on your computer and also Folders located on USB Storage Devices.
Also, you should be able to use Microsoft Defender Custom scan, even if third party antivirus program is installed on your computer.
1. Go to Settings > Update & security > Windows Security > Virus & Threat Protection.
2. On the next screen, click on Scan Options.
3. Select Custom Scan option and click on Scan Now.
4. On the next screen, select the Folder that you want to scan for malware.
Apart from Custom Scan, Microsoft Defender can also perform a thorough Offline Scan of all the Files, programs and apps located on your computer.