How To Install Antivirus Software (For Beginners)

Anyone running a Windows computer knows how important it is to have good antivirus software. If someone you know still doesn’t have antivirus software running, here’s a quick guide you can send them to help them set it up.

The video above should walk you through most of the process, but you can read through the steps below as well. We’re going to use Microsoft Security Essentials for this demo, since it’s very easy to use and does a great job of protecting you from viruses. There’s really no need to spend money on anti-virus software when Microsoft’s offerings are more than good enough.

  1. Head over to the Microsoft Security Essentials page and download the software. Double-click on the installer to begin the installation process.
  2. The installation should be pretty self-explanatory. Just follow the steps it gives you. Make sure you’ve checked the box to turn on the Windows Firewall when prompted, and give the whole thing a few minutes to install.
  3. When it’s done, it will ask you to run a scan. Hit yes, and it will download the latest virus definitions and run its first scan. All of this will take a few minutes, so just leave the program alone and let it do its thing.
  4. When it’s finished it’s scan (hopefully without finding anything), it will begin monitoring your computer. Click the “Change My Scan Schedule” button to schedule a regular scan of your computer. I usually like to run mine on Sunday at 2am, when I know I’ll be sleeping. Save your settings and you’re done!

Now, Microsoft Security Essentials will run in the background, constantly monitoring your computer for any viruses. If it catches anything, it will let you know and tell you how to proceed. It will also run a scan during the time you’ve scheduled it for, so make sure your computer’s running at that time (in the above case, Sunday at 2am). You can check to make sure it’s running by going to your system tray in the bottom-right corner and looking for the green castle icon.

Remember, good antivirus software is important, but even more important is practising safe browsing habits. The best way to avoid viruses is to make sure you don’t download them in the first place. Don’t click on anything that claims it’s antivirus software unless you know where it came from, don’t click on any suspicious Facebook posts, and make sure that you don’t click on any fake email links. If you get an email from, hover over the link and look at the bottom of your screen to make sure it actually goes to somewhere at — if it goes somewhere else, it’s probably going to harm your computer.


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