How To Scan Individual Windows Processes For Virus Activity

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It can be useful to manage and view different processes running in Windows for troubleshooting as well as for security purposes.

The Task Manager that comes with Windows although useful doesn’t examine these processes in great detail or scan them for malicious activity.

default windows task manager

While antivirus/anti-malware applications can custom scan a system thoroughly, they take time. Sometimes, it can be useful just to scan a set of processes or individual processes just to know if they are “clean”.

Process Explorer which is a part of Sysinternals tools suite by Microsoft is a free utility that does both of these functions. It is free to download and use. Get it from here.

An earlier article described how to replace Task Manager with Process Explorer. It can also scan individual processes or process trees for malicious activity besides managing the processes.

Here is how to scan processes using Process Explorer :

Open Process Explorer and right click on the process/process tree that needs to be scanned. Then click Check Virus Total. VirusTotal (which can be used to scan individual files too) is the scan engine used and it will use this to check if a process is malicious or safe.

process explorer in Windows

Accept the ToS and click Yes.

virus total tos for process explorer

Click OK for the next notification.

Virus Total notification for Process Explorer

The online details of the scanned processes will be displayed in a separate column titled  VirusTotal. The results 0/57 and so on describe that the process isn’t listed as malicious or bad (which is a good thing) from the total scanned databases of popular antivirus providers.

Virus Total scan results for Windows processes

Clicking on that link will open a webpage that will display the detailed information regarding the specific process.

detailed information about scanned Windows processes by virus total

This is an extremely useful free process management tool for Windows and can help in scanning as well as managing Windows processes.

Do give it a try.

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