How to Check If Your Antivirus Is Working on Windows 10

Photo of Windows 10 technical preview running in a virtual machine on a pc screen. Win10 is the new version of Windows OS; it is set for release in 2015.
There are many top-rated antivirus programs compatible with Windows 10. Try these simple tests to be certain that they’re fully alert and functional.

Students of mathematics may know that when they need to prove an algebraic equation right, they will be asked to start with the assumption that it is wrong and then go about solving the equation and arrive at the answer which will be that the equation is right.

Now, when checking if your Windows 10 computing device has an antivirus working or not, a similar method is employed.

There are standards created and the test is done in a practical way without harming the device or the software installed in it in any manner.

Certain actions will be performed and if the action is prevented by your computer, then you should feel happy that there is indeed an active antivirus program working in it.

Now this is just a broad theoretical explanation. Here are the steps you will need to take to check if your antivirus is working on Windows 10.


The above two are acronyms that stand for the European Institute for Computer Antivirus Research and the Anti-Malware Testing Standards Organization, respectively.

Both these setups function as not-for-profit organizations and are devoted to keeping computers safe from malware.

In a joint effort, the top antivirus software companies across the world support the efforts of EICAR and AMTSO and trust the checks and tests conducted through their methods on their products.

Steps to Check Your Antivirus Software — EICAR

  1. You can visit org and download a test file.
  2. Read through the details provided and understand what you are about to do.
  3. Click the download button.
  4. Choose the file you wish to download from the choices given there.
  5. If your antivirus is working perfectly, it will prevent this download from happening.
  6. The reason behind this is that the test file on in some ways mimics a malware program, and your antivirus will consider that to be malware and warn you accordingly.
  7. If the download occurs, you should not be worried. There will be a popup informing you how the necessary protection against similar malware downloads can be enabled on the antivirus software you had installed.
  8. You may choose to follow those instructions and do the test again to be certain that the functioning of the antivirus is up to date.

Steps to Check Your Antivirus Software — AMTSO

  1. You can visit org to download the necessary test files. In the case of AMTSO, a drive-by download is triggered.
  2. The antivirus installed in your Windows 10 device would spot it.
  3. It will immediately popup a message on your screen.
  4. The message will tell you that an imminent threat has been detected and stopped. This can give you the satisfaction that your antivirus is indeed working properly and you can continue using your device to browse the internet safely.

Another feature in this AMTSO test is that it prepares your system to prevent download of malware hidden in a compressed file.

Some antivirus programs may lack the capability to locate malicious content within a compressed file. If your antivirus software is of that type, then this test drive-by download will happen but you will get a detailed instruction page on how to be prepared if such malware were to get downloaded on to your system by mistake in the future.

Protecting Against PUP or PUA

Conceptual business illustration with the words potentially unwanted program
Now, when checking if your Windows 10 computing device has an antivirus working or not, a similar method is employed.

These two acronyms expand to Potentially Unwanted Programs or Potentially Unwanted Applications. In either case, these are sneaky programs that may get downloaded when you are possibly downloading legitimate software you wish to use.

These programs often get bundled with them and without your expressed approval, they can download themselves automatically.

The reason could be some kind of a revenue implication for the developer from whom you are downloading a free software program.

But many of these PUPs or PUAs can prove to be carriers of malicious content or the ability to let a hacker obtain indirect and unauthorized entry into your system.

Luckily, the AMTSO website linked above gives you a solution to prevent such PUPs from downloading. In an exercise quite similar to what you did for the previous cases, you can click on an “.exe” file for download.

An alert from Microsoft’s built-in Windows Defender program should be able to stop this download, conveying to you that it is capable of defending against any attempt to download PUPs.

If the .exe file gets downloaded, then too, there will be the detailed tutorial to help you fix this anomaly and stay protected.

Ensuring Cloud Protection

Cloud storage has gained currency of late and the main purposes are that you won’t have to worry about the storage size in your device and, if your physical device were to be affected by any disaster or damage—including data theft or a hack—your documents will be safe on the cloud and you can access and retrieve them.

But how safe is the cloud storage you have chosen? What role can your antivirus play in ensuring that your cloud is equally secure?

AMTSO has a CloudCar Testfile which is designed to signal that some of the anti-malware properties in your antivirus program need to be updated. You can get in touch with your antivirus developer and find the solution to this.

Taking Steps to Keep Hackers at Bay

The EICAR and AMTSO tools discussed here are considered some of the best in the industry for the purposes used.

However, they are not the only ones with the capability to evaluate or test out your antivirus software.

Each testing tool has its own unique ways to help you find out how good your antivirus is or how safe your Windows 10 device is.

The objective is to stay protected always and ward off hackers.

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