Windows Security (formerly Defender) is Windows 11's built-in antivirus tool.Although many users install third-party antivirus software, Windows Security provides adequate virus protection. Windows Security includes quick and full scan options to detect and quarantine viruses when selected.
Although Windows Security occasionally runs automatic scans, users still sometimes need to manually initiate their antivirus scans.Therefore, it's a good idea to set up at least one shortcut to Windows Security that provides more direct access to antivirus scanning options.Here's how to set up four different Windows Security scan shortcuts in Microsoft's latest desktop operating system:
How to Set a Desktop Shortcut for Quick Scan
The Quick Scan option in Windows Security performs a quick but less thorough antivirus scan of the folder.Instead of manually opening Windows Security and selecting that option, you can set up a desktop shortcut that launches a quick scan when selected.This is how to add a shortcut to start a quick antivirus scan on your Windows 11 desktop:
1. Right-click somewhere on the desktop wallpaper, open the context menu, and select New.
2. Then select Shortcuts from the secondary menu.
3. Enter the following text in the Location box: "%ProgramFiles%\Windows Defender\MpCmdRun.exe" -Scan -ScanType 1.
4. Click "Next", the shortcut name text box will pop up.
5. Enter Quick Scan in the text box.
6. Select the "Done" option to add a "Quick Scan" shortcut to your desktop area.
Now, double-click the shortcut for Quick Scan to try it out.When you start scanning with this shortcut, you will see a MpCmdRun.exe window open.When the scan is complete, a small notification will inform you of the scan results above the system tray clock.
The shortcut will have a shield icon by default.You can choose an alternate shield icon by right-clicking the quick scan shortcut and selecting Properties > Change Icon.Enter %ProgramFiles%Windows Defender\EppManifest.dll in the Find Icon box and click the OK button.Then choose a different shield, click OK, and choose Apply.
Alternatively, you can set a shortcut to run a full scan instead.To do this, enter "%ProgramFiles%\Windows Defender\MpCmdRun.exe" -Scan -ScanType 2 in the Location box of the Create Shortcut window.Enter Full Scan as the title of the shortcut in the Name text box.
How to Set Up Quick Scan Hotkeys
You can turn a quick scan desktop shortcut into a keyboard hotkey.You can then trigger a quick antivirus scan by pressing the Ctrl + Alt key combination.You can set a hotkey for your antivirus scan shortcut like this.
1. Follow the previous method to add a shortcut to Quick Scan on the desktop.
2. Right-click your QuickScan desktop shortcut and select Properties.
3. Next, you need to click inside the Shortcut key box.
4. Press the S (for scan) key.
5. Select Apply to save the new Ctrl+Alt+S keyboard shortcut.
6. Click OK to close.
Now pressing the Ctrl+Alt+S hotkey will start a quick Windows Security antivirus scan.However, don't wipe the quick scan shortcut.You will need to keep that shortcut on the desktop for the Ctrl+Alt+S key combination to work.
How to set up a shortcut to the Virus & Threat Protection (Quick Scan) tab
Windows Security's scanning options are included on its Virus and Threat Protection tab.From there, you can choose between quick, custom, and full scan options.Setting a shortcut for that tab will give you more direct access to its options from your Windows 11 desktop.That's how to add a shortcut to the Virus & Threat Protection tab on your desktop.
1. Open the Create Shortcut window by right-clicking on the desktop and selecting New and Shortcut.
2. Enter %windir%\explorer.exe windowsdefender://threat in the Location box, and then click Next in the Create Shortcut window.
3. Enter Virus and threat protection in the Named box.
4. Click Finish to add the new tab shortcut.
Now you can click on the Virus & Threat Protection tab shortcut on the desktop to bring up the Quick Scan button, like the snapshot below.There you can click on the scan option to see all the scan settings.Press the "Scan Now" button to start the selected scan.
The shortcut to the Virus & Threat Protection tab will not have the Windows Security Shield icon by default.However, you can add one to it, as outlined for Quick Scan Shortcuts.You can also apply a hotkey to that shortcut, as covered in the second method.
How to Set Virus & Threat Protection Context Menu Shortcuts
Windows 11's desktop context menu can include extra shortcuts to various software and built-in tools.You can use the freeware Winaero Tweaker to add a shortcut to the Virus & Threat Protection tab in the classic context menu.So you can use the software to add 11 shortcuts to the Windows security label in the right-click menu.
1. OpenWinaero TweakerThe download page of the website.
2. Click on the link provided on the website to download Winaero Tweaker.
3. Next, you need to open the file manager (press Windows key + E) and the download folder containing the ZIP archive of Winaero Tweaker.
4. Right-click winaerotweaker.zip and click the Extract All option for this archive.
5. If the "Show extracted files on completion" setting is not selected, click the checkbox for that option.
6. Select "Extract" and the Winaero Tweaker folder will appear.
7. To install Winaero Tweaker, double-click its setup file and select WinaeroTweaker-22.214.171.124-setup.exe.Then in Winaero Tweaker's installation wizard select various installation options according to your preference and click the Install button.
8. After installing the software, select Run Winaero Tweaker in the setup wizard.
9. Click "Finish" to close the installation wizard and start Winaero Tweaker.
10. Double-click the context menu in Winaero Tweaker's navigation sidebar.
11. Select Winaero Security to open the settings shown directly below.
12. Then click the "Add Windows Security submenu to desktop context menu" checkbox to select it.
Now you can open the Virus and threat protection Windows Security tab from the context menu, along with 10 other tabs.Right-click on the Windows 11 desktop background and select Show more options to bring up the classic context menu.Move your cursor over Windows Security to see the submenu shown in the image below.There you can select Virus & Threat Protection, open that tab's Quick Scan button.
Makes Windows Security's scan options easier to use
So, here's how to set up handy desktop, keyboard, and right-click menu shortcuts for Windows Security's antivirus scanning.You can quickly start an antivirus scan by setting up a quick scan desktop or keyboard shortcut.Alternatively, add a shortcut to the Virus & Threat Protection tab on the desktop or context menu, giving you more direct access to all of Windows Security's scanning options.
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