With Windows 10 build 14352, Microsoft is introducing a new security feature in its desktop operating system that can provide additional protection to users regardless of the antivirus solution running on their computers.

Called Limited Periodic Scanning, this new feature performs automatic scans with Windows Defender on your PC to remove malware that a third-party solution might not detect. This new tool is completely optional and can be enabled from the Settings app > Update & security > Windows Defender > Limited Periodic Scanning.

Previously, in Windows 8 and Windows 10, Windows Defender was automatically disabled when users installed a third-party antivirus solution, so Microsoft is changing this behavior with the Anniversary Update. Although the fully featured Windows Defender won’t remain active, these periodic scans can run side by side with your third-party antivirus and make sure that no malware reaches your data.

Scans performed only when you’re not using the PC

Microsoft guarantees that the automatic scans will take place in the most convenient times, so they won’t start if you’re playing games, for instance, as it might impact system performance.

“These periodic scans will utilize Automatic Maintenance—to ensure the system chooses optimal times based on minimal impact to the user, PC performance, and energy efficiency—or customers can schedule these scans. Limited Periodic Scanning is intended to offer an additional line of defense to your existing antivirus program’s real-time protection,” Microsoft explains.

The results of these scans are available in Windows Defender, so you can always open the default Windows 10 antivirus solution to see if there’s anything wrong with your PC. Additionally, notifications informing you of the results of the scan will be shown with the toast notification system and included in the Action Center for quick analysis.

On computers where a third-party antivirus solution isn’t available, so Windows Defender continues to be the default security app, this feature will be enabled by default. At the moment, it’s only available for consumers, but Microsoft considers adding it to commercial versions of Windows 10 too.

Limited Periodic Scanning is currently available in Windows 10 build 14352 but will be offered to retail users with the Anniversary Update due in the summer.

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