How to Use Windows Live OneCare to Get Rid of a Virus in Windows Vista

If you think you have a virus on your Windows Vista computer that your antivirus program can't find (or if it stops running altogether), you can use the Windows Live OneCare Safety Scan to get rid of a find and eliminate the virus.

The free Windows Live OneCare Safety Scan is a service from Microsoft that frequently catches new malware before any of the commercial products — including Microsoft’s own Live OneCare — can detect or fix a problem. This free service is slow and clunky and offers no options, but when a new 0day exploit hits the stands, the free safety scan gets its scanner updated first.

There's no reason to pay the Windows Live OneCare annual fee, which many consider to be a protection racket only half a step removed from early-1900s gangster Frank Nitti, one of Al Capone’s top henchmen. The free version does just as much and is updated faster.

To run a free safety scan, make sure you have an hour or two to spare; then follow these steps:

  1. Start Internet Explorer and go to Windows Safety (http://safety.live.com/).

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    The safety scanner doesn’t work with Firefox or Chrome, so you will have to use Internet Explorer.

  2. Click the Protection icon (you don’t need or want a “Full Service” scan).

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    Windows Live OneCare takes you to the Protection Center.

  3. Click the Protection Scan button.

    You may be required to install software from Microsoft that hooks into the free scanner. To do so, you may need to manually install an ActiveX control and manually enable pop-ups. Follow the instructions to install that software and run a scan.

Now just sit back and relax. The free Protection Scan can take a long time, but it’s the most up-to-date scan anywhere.

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