Update Windows Defender and run Quick Scan with one click

Windows Defender is the built-in security app bundled by default with Windows since Windows Vista. Although Microsoft claims that it offers only baseline antivirus protection, it's better to have to preinstalled and running than to have no antimalware at all. If you have Windows Defender enabled, you might find this trick useful to update it and then perform a Quick Scan with just one click.


It is possible to create a special shortcut to update Windows Defender virus signatures and then start a quick scan immediately.

Tip: Download Windows Defender offline updates for Windows 10.

This trick involves the console MpCmdRun.exe utility which is a part of Windows Defender and used mostly for scheduled scanning tasks and IT administrators.

The MpCmdRun.exe tool has a number of command line switches which can be viewed by running MpCmdRun.exe with "/?". However, there is an undocumented switch, SignatureUpdateAndQuickScan which is useful in our case.
To update Windows Defender and run Quick Scan with one click, follow the instruction below.

  1. Right click the Desktop and select New - Shortcut. Windows 10 new - shortcut
  2. In the shortcut target box, type or copy-paste the following command:
    "C:\Program Files\Windows Defender\MpCmdRun.exe" /SignatureUpdateAndQuickScan

    See the following screenshot: Windows 10 Defender update and quick scan

  3. Type some useful name for your new shortcut: Windows 10 Defender name shortcut
  4. For the shortcut icon, refer to the following file:
    "C:\Program Files\Windows Defender\MSASCui.exe"

    Windows 10 Defender shortcut icon

You are done.

Windows 10 Defender ready shortcut

Now let's test our shortcut. Double click it.

First, it will update its signatures: Windows 10 Defender quick scan in action

And next, it will begin a quick scan: Windows 10 Defender quick scan in action 2

After it is finished, you will find the scan results in Event Viewer, inside Microsoft\Windows\Windows Defender\Operational Journal under the latest "Information" record: Windows 10 Defender quick scan results

That's it. This trick works in Windows 10 and Windows 8. I haven't checked it in earlier versions of Windows. Now read: Enable Anti-Adware feature in Windows Defender.

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