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Microsoft’s Best Kept Secret

The Mystical Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool

OK, What is it?

According to Microsoft:

“The Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool checks computers running Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 2000, and Windows Server 2003 for infections by specific, prevalent malicious software – including Blaster, Sasser, Mydoom and Confiker – and helps remove any infection found. When the detection and removal process is complete, the tool displays a report describing the outcome, including which, if any, malicious software was detected and removed.”

This has been around since January 2005 and as long as you are checking your Microsoft Windows Updates then you have the latest definitions. There are new definitions released with the regular “Patch Tuesday” (2nd Tuesday of each month) security releases from Microsoft and the tool will automatically run in the background on a monthly basis.

So, why am I telling you this if everything is automatic?

Well it turns out that you can very easily run this tool any time you want, not just on Microsoft’s once a month schedule.

Go to Start > Run and type in “mrt” without the quotes (Vista users click the Start orb and type in “mrt” at the start search bar) a nice little window will open which allows you to see what “nasties” the tool is ready to find and the next window allows you to start a scan. I recommend doing a full scan which can take a few hours, but really digs deep into the crevices of your system to look for any abnormalities.

Keep in mind that this is NOT a replacement for antivirus software, but rather an enhancement of it that could potentially find a hazard that has maybe slipped in between anti virus updates or piggy backed in as an email attachment and is just waiting for the right sequence of events to be activated.

Add this useful tool to your arsenal of freebies and run it whenever the need arises.

Good luck,


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