How to Run Microsoft Security Essentials in the Safe Mode

By Elvis Michael

Microsoft Security Essentials is an anti-malware suite that protects your system from common infections, such as spyware, Trojan horses and viruses. The program is freely available from Microsoft’s official website, and is periodically updated to find the latest malware as they arise. An efficient option to remove viruses is through Windows Safe Mode, which only loads basic, necessary system files. In turn, this allows you to better troubleshoot the cause of any particular problem on your computer.

Update Microsoft Security Essentials with the latest definition files prior to launching Windows Safe Mode. Launch the application from its desktop shortcut. If not available, its default installation directory is “Microsoft Security Client” within the “Program Files” hard disk directory. Once open, go to the “Update” tab and click “Update.”

Restart your computer once all program updates are installed. Press and hold the “F8” keyboard key before the Windows logo is loaded. This subsequently launches the Advanced Boot Options menu.

Select “Safe Mode” using your keyboard’s arrow keys, then press “Enter.” Allow Safe Mode approximately one minute to load.

Log into your Windows account and launch Microsoft Security Essentials.

Select whether to perform a “Quick,” “Full” or “Custom” virus scan. A quick scan inspects essential directories such as user accounts, the “Windows” folder, the registry and all system files throughout the computer. A full scan searches for malware within all available files and folders. Finally, a custom scan allows you to select which directories and hard disks you wish to inspect for viruses.

Press “Scan Now” to initialize the procedure. Depending on your system’s performance, allow sufficient time for the process to complete.


Perform an automatic, scheduled scan to ensure your computer remains clean. From the "Settings" tab, enter the desired time, date and scan type. Set the program to scan while your computer is not in use.