There are a lot of computer viruses and malware on the internet, which could infect your computer if you’re not careful or just unlucky. If you practice safe browsing habits, you can reduce the chance of your computer being infected with malware. The main steps you can take to protect yourself are to ensure your browser is up to date, ensure that Safe Browsing is enabled, have an ad-blocker installed, and to not download anything from suspicious websites.
Even if you’re careful though, it’s possible that your computer may be infected by malware at some point. To protect yourself against malware that does get through, it’s best practice to have an anti-virus solution installed as part of a defence-in-depth strategy. Regardless of whether you have your own anti-malware solution or not, Chrome includes a built-in tool to find and remove various types of malware.
How to check for malware on your computer with Chrome
To run a scan, you need to open Chrome’s settings. To do so, click on the triple-dot icon in the top-right corner, then click “Settings”. Once in the settings, you should run a quick “Safety check”, to do so, click on “Check now” in the “Safety check” subsection, which is third from the top. This will only take a few seconds and will check that your browser is up to date, if any saved passwords are included in known data breaches, if safe browsing is enabled and if you’ve got any potentially harmful extensions installed.
To run a malware scan, scroll all the way to the bottom of the options, expanding out the advanced options if necessary, then click on “Clean up computer”. On the “Clean up computer” page you can click the “Find” button to start a scan for malware. Optionally you can choose to send report details to Google by ticking the checkbox.
The scan can take some time to run. If no malware is identified, Chrome will report “No harmful software found”. If some malware is identified, however, you will be asked to confirm that you want to remove the malware by clicking the “Remove” button.