Wednesday, January 28, 2009


When you do a Microsoft Update every month (I hope you do!) then you’ll find that one of the items listed is the Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT for short) update. Now for months I’ve simply applied the update as a normal part of the process not even caring what it does.


So I did some research and found that Microsoft actually have a site dedicated to telling you what the MRST is all about. You’ll find it at:


and as the site says


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, and Mydoom—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.

Now, it is updated monthly to include checking for all the newest nasties. I’m not quite sure how it exactly works but it sits in the background monitoring for rogue software. If it detects any you are informed at the next login. It is my understanding that the tool actually does a scan once a month when it is updated. More technical information on the tool can be found at:


You always gotta wonder what something like this is doing sight unseen in your machine. Is it running? Is it doing anything? Well, as it turns out you can run the tool from the command line. Simply press the Start button, select the Run command from the menu and type MRT and press enter. After a few welcome screens you are able to select from a number of scan options.




Select the scan desired and press Next.



When it’s all done you should hopefully see



Now the tool doesn’t replace anti virus/anti spyware software but it is worth ensuring that you update your system every month via Microsoft Update to ensure you get this handy free utility.