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About Windows Live OneCare safety scannerWindows Live OneCare safety scanner is a free Web-based service that gives you quick, on-demand PC health and security scans. It’s like taking your PC in for a tune-up and oil change at the service station. It also has straightforward explanations about online threats and troubleshooting hints for everyday PC issues as well as a vibrant online community where you can get answers to questions about your PC. What does Windows Live OneCare safety scanner cost?Nothing. The Windows Live OneCare safety scanner is available to all Microsoft Windows users, free of charge. How is Windows Live OneCare safety scanner different from Windows Live OneCare?Windows Live OneCare is subscription-based software that, once installed on your PC, runs continuously in the background and automatically updates itself. Windows Live OneCare offers persistent, always-on security features that generally don’t require any action on your part.(Santa's Note: there are excellent free programs like AntiVir and SuperAntiSpyware that do this for you too. If you can afford to pay for convenience Windows Live OneCare may be just your thing.)Windows Live OneCare safety scanner is a free Web-based service that gives you quick, on-demand PC health and security scans to help you diagnose and solve problems, but it does not proactively protect your PC against new virus infections. Will Windows Live OneCare safety scanner work with my operating system?Windows Live OneCare safety scanner supports: * Microsoft Windows XP all versions * Microsoft Windows 2000 * Microsoft Windows Server 2003If you are running Windows Vista or Windows 7, you can try the Windows Live OneCare safety scanner, Windows Vista/7 beta edition. Go to the What's new page. Which browsers will Windows Live OneCare safety scanner work with?Windows Live OneCare safety scanner is compatible with Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher, or MSN 9.2. Will the scanner install something on my computer?Yes. The Windows Live OneCare safety scanner is downloaded and installed on your computer the first time you do a scan. Then the scanner will check for updates whenever you do another scan. These updates will include new versions of the scanner and new virus recognition information (also known as virus definitions) from Microsoft. How often should I scan my computer?We recommend a complete Windows Live OneCare safety scanner scan once a month. How long will a scan take?The length of a scan depends on the size and number of your hard disks, and on the type of scan. A quick virus scan will be pretty fast (usually less than a few minutes), while a complete, full-service scan will take about 90 minutes. But the good news is that you can use your computer while the scanner runs, and you can cancel a scan at any point during its progress.About scan typesWindows Live OneCare safety scanner offers different scan types depending on what you want to check for. What does the complete scan do?The complete scan runs all three scans offered by the Windows Live OneCare safety scanner: * The protection scanner checks your computer for and helps remove viruses, spyware, and other malicious software (also called malware). It also checks your computer for common open ports that might make your computer more vulnerable to online threats and hackers. * The clean up scanner automatically checks your hard disk for any unnecessary files and gives you the option to delete them. It also checks your registry for stray data that may have become obsolete and gives you the option to delete it. * The tune up scanner checks your hard disk for its level of fragmentation and, if it's more than 10% fragmented, asks if you'd like to defragment it. What does the protection scan do?The protection scanner checks your computer for and helps remove viruses, spyware, and other malicious software (also called malware). It also checks your computer for common open ports that might make your PC more vulnerable to online threats and hackers. It will automatically attempt to clean any infected files it finds on your computer, make recommendations for any it couldn’t clean, and identify any open ports.When the scan is done, you’ll see a report detailing the number of files scanned, the number of infected files found (if any), the type of infection and virus name (if any), whether or not the scanner removed or cleaned the infected files (if any), and the number of common open ports. What does the clean up scan do?The clean up scanner will find obsolete temporary and registry files and tell you if it’s time for you to clean up your hard disk. Removing these files not only clears up clutter on your PC, it can also help improve your computer’s performance. You can choose to follow the recommendations or customize the clean up. What does the tune up scan do?The tune up scanner will look at your hard disk drive and tell you if it’s time to defragment it. Regularly defragmenting your hard disk can help optimize your computer’s performance and help it run faster. If your PC's hard disk is more than 10% fragmented, the tune up scanner will recommend that you defragment it. You can then choose to follow the recommendation or not.Keep in mind that defragmentation can take a while, especially the first time you do it. You may want to do this when you don’t need to be using your computer. What does a quick scan do?The quick scan checks the most commonly infected areas of your computer's memory for viruses, spyware, Trojans, and worms. It won't evaluate other clean-up or tune-up issues on your computer.Choose the quick scan if: * You've run a complete scan on your computer recently. * You're concerned your computer might have a virus.NoteCertain types of malicious software can infect your hard disk such that the quick scan can't completely clean the infection. When this occurs, the quick scan will notify you and recommend you run a complete, full-service scan.