McAfee Help

McAfee® Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware

McAfee Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware software is your first line of defense against the threat of infection from viruses, Trojans, worms, spyware, and potentially unwanted programs, catching them at points of entry like email, external drives, and web pages.

This protection feature might not be turned on, installed, or included in your McAfee software. To learn about the protection features included in your McAfee suite, read Understanding your protection features.
Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware features
Working with alerts
Alerts appear on your screen to let you know when security events occur on your PC. An alert provides information about an event, as well as recommendations and options for resolving security problems.
Using scans
When you install Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware, you have excellent virus protection out-of-the-box. Your activities are protected from viruses in real time, which means that any time a file is downloaded, accessed or in use, McAfee checks it for you. Leave real-time scanning on to ensure that your PC stays protected from the latest security threats.
Scanning your PC
Depending on your security needs, you can choose from many scan options in Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware, including quick scan, full scan, custom scan, and manual scan. For all scan types, except for manual scans, you select the type of scan from the Home Page. When the scan is finished, McAfee prompts you to handle any threats that it could not handle automatically.
Working with scan results
When a scan is finished, you receive an alert informing you about the results of the scan. When McAfee detects a security threat during a scan, it first tries to handle the threat automatically according to the threat type. In case of a virus, Trojan, or tracking cookie on your PC, McAfee tries to clean or quarantine the infected file.
Managing quarantined and trusted items
When an item is detected during a scan as a potential security threat, you are prompted to deal with that item by deleting it, putting it in quarantine, or trusting it. When McAfee quarantines items, it encrypts and isolates them in a folder to prevent the files, programs, or cookies from harming your PC. McAfee keeps a list of your quarantined and trusted items, which you can view for details. Work on these lists to permanently delete items, send items to McAfee for analysis, and restore items that you confirm to be safe.
Setting real-time scanning options
McAfee uses real-time scanning options that you can change to suit your needs. To change these settings, you need to decide which threats McAfee checks for, where it checks for them, and which file types it checks. For example, you can define whether McAfee checks for unknown viruses, or cookies that websites might use to track your behavior, and whether it scans local drives only, or network drives as well. You can also define the types of files that it scans.
Setting custom scan options
With custom scanning, McAfee allows you to select a variety of scanning options. By default when you run a custom scan, McAfee checks all the drives and folders on your PC, along with all network drives. However, you can exclude network drives and scan only parts of your PC, like your critical system files, the desktop, and program files. We recommend this when you want to scan specific areas, rather than all areas of your PC.
Setting a scan schedule
Scheduled scans are a necessary part of ensuring the continuous health of your PC. On a regular basis, they thoroughly check your PC for viruses and other threats.
Learning about Internet security
The McAfee website provides up-to-date information about global Internet activity, including current threat levels and regional virus information. You can access the website from the Navigation Center.