How do I know if I already have computer protection software?

If your computer is running Windows 8

If your computer is running Windows 8, you already have computer protection software. Windows 8 includes Windows Defender, which helps protect you from viruses, spyware, and other malicious software.

If Windows Defender is turned off and you don’t have another computer protection software installed (or your other antivirus program is not working), you will see a warning in the notification area on your taskbar.

If your computer is running Windows 7

Windows 7 includes spyware protection, but to protect against viruses you can download Microsoft Security Essentials for free.

To find out if you already have computer protection software:

  1. Open Action Center by clicking the Start button , clicking Control Panel, and then, under System and Security, clicking Review your computer’s status.
  2. Click the arrow button next to Security to expand the section.

If Windows can detect your antivirus software, it’s listed under Virus protection.

Windows doesn’t detect all antivirus software, and some antivirus software doesn’t report its status to Windows. If your antivirus software isn’t displayed in Action Center and you’re not sure how to find it, try any of the following:

  • Type the name of the software or the publisher in the Search box on the Start menu.
  • Look for your antivirus program’s icon in the notification area of the taskbar.

If your computer is running Windows Vista

Windows Vista does not include virus protection. To protect against viruses, you can download Microsoft Security Essentials for free.

The status of your antivirus software is typically displayed in Windows Security Center.

  1. Open Security Center by clicking the Start button , clicking Control Panel, clicking Security, and then clicking Security Center.
  2. Click Malware protection.

If Windows can detect your antivirus software, it will be listed under Virus protection.

Windows does not detect all antivirus software, and some antivirus software doesn’t report its status to Windows. If your antivirus software is not displayed in Windows Security Center and you’re not sure how to find it, try any of the following:

  • Look for the antivirus software in the list of programs on the Start menu.
  • Type the name of the software or the publisher in the Search box on the Start menu.
  • Look for the icon in the notification area of the taskbar.

If your computer is running Windows XP

Click the security icon on the taskbar, or click Start, select Control Panel, and then double-click Security Center.

On April 8, 2014, Microsoft will end support for Windows XP. This means that after April 8, there will be no new security updates available through automatic updating for computers that are still running Windows XP.

Also on this date, Microsoft will stop providing Microsoft Security Essentials for download on Windows XP. (If you already have Microsoft Security Essentials installed, you will continue to receive antimalware signature updates for a limited time, but this does not mean that your PC will be secure because Microsoft will no longer provide security updates to protect it.)

For more information, see Support is ending soon.

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