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Adding Windows Defender to the Context Menu

written by: •edited by: Tricia Goss•updated: 11/17/2014

By editing the Windows Registry, you can add the Scan with Windows Defender option to your right-click menu. This will allow you quick and easy access to the tool any time you want to scan a folder or drive.

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    Scanning with Windows Defender

    Windows Defender protects your Windows 8/8.1 computer from viruses, spyware and malware using both real-time and manual scanning. The option to manually scan is only available through the Windows Defender graphical interface and offers Quick, Full and Custom scan options. The former two options scan the most likely infected areas or every file on your computer, respectively.

    If you need a comprehensive scan of only selected folders, you need to select Custom and check each folder you would like to include. This is a tedious waste of time if you are already viewing the target folder in File Explorer.

    A better option would be to right-click that folder and choose to scan without opening another window, similar to how other virus scanner integrate the option into the right-click context menu. Although Windows Defender lacks this ability by default, you can add the option by tweaking the Windows Registry.

    Please note that using the Registry Editor incorrectly can damage your system, so only make these changes if you feel confident in doing so.

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    Modifying the Registry

    1. Type “regedit” in the Windows Search and press Enter to launch the program. If you receive a User Account Control warning, click Yes.

    2. Open the key HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Folder\Shell by double-clicking each folder icon to expand it.

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    3. Right-click the Shell folder, point to New and select Key. A new key appears below “Shell” with the name highlighted.

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    4. Type “Scan with Windows Defender” and press Enter to rename it. This name appears in the context menu by default. However, you can override this default by adding a new String Value to this key (like you’ll do in the next two steps), naming it “MUIVerb” and entering your preferred text in the entry’s Value Data field.

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    5. Right-click any empty space in the right pane, point to New and select String Value. This time a new entry appears in the right pane.

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    6. Open the new entry, change the name to Icon and enter the following text in the Value Data field:

    %ProgramFiles%\\Windows Defender\\EppManifest.dll

    Click OK. This entry adds the Windows Defender icon to the context menu, so you can readily find the scan option in a cluttered context menu. However, this entry is entirely optional, so if you don’t want the icon, skip Steps 5 and 6.

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    7. Right-click the Scan with Windows Defender key, point to New and select Key to create a new sub-key. Name this sub-key Command.

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    8. Double-click (Default) in the right-pane and type the following text in the Value Data field:

    "C:\Program Files\Windows Defender\MpCmdRun.exe" -scan -scantype 3 -SignatureUpdate -file %1

    Click OK and then close Register Editor. Note that copying and pasting the text sometimes causes problems, so it’s best to manually type the values in the Value Data field.

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    9. Right-click any folder, including ZIP files, in File Explorer to see the Scan with Window Defender option in the context menu. Selecting this option runs a scan on the folder and any inherent files or sub-folders.

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    The scan opens in a Command Prompt style window and closes automatically if no threats are detected. However, if a threat is detected, the Command Prompt window remains open and informs you of the results.

    NOTE: Another option is to create a text file in NotePad with the following lines of code:

    @ECHO OFF
    "C:\Program Files\Windows Defender\MpCmdRun.exe" -Scan -ScanType 3 -File %1
    PAUSE

    Save it as Windows Defender.cmd and move it to the folder C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\SendTo where [username] is your Windows username. You can then right-click any folder or file, point to Send to and select Windows Defender to run a scan. The advantage to this approach is you can also scan individual files and the window remains open, even if no threats are detected. However, it requires an extra context menu selection and isn’t as elegant as the original method.