Run third-party malware detection tools in Windows

Ever run into a situation where, even though your computer needs a critical program, it just won't let you download it? This is especially frustrating when a virus is ravaging your system and it won't download the program that's the cure for that virus. Learn how to survive this situation with advice from Kevin Beaver.

Question: I am getting a "Windows security warning" box when I try to download third-party (non-Microsoft) antivirus tools. When I click the download button, a box pops up and says "Windows security settings do not allow download." How can I make third-party malware detection tools work with a Windows machine?
- Posed by a SearchWindowsSecurity.com reader.

Windows security threats expert Kevin Beaver offers this response:

I assume you are using Internet Explorer (IE) for the download. If so, it's trying to tell you that you're downloading an executable or similar file that's potentially dangerous. Try setting your IE security to a lower setting via the following:
  1. In the IE's Tools menu, click Internet Options.
  2. In the Internet Options dialog box, click the Security tab.
  3. In the "Select a zone to view or change security settings" control, make sure the Internet icon is selected.
  4. In the "Security level for this zone" control, set security to Medium-high or Medium.
  5. Click OK.
  6. Try the download again.

This should do the trick. If not, you can always try to download the software using another browser such as Firefox.

For more information on running antivirus software:

  • A proper set of antivirus tools?
    Windows security threats expert Kevin Beaver analyzes a set of tools and their potential antivirus capabilities, and suggests that more is needed to keep viruses at bay.
  • Antivirus failing across multiple Windows XP accounts
    If your antivirus software stops running across multiple Windows XP user accounts, check out suggestions from Windows security expert Kevin Beaver about what to do.
  • Patching your antivirus software
    Don't let your antivirus software be the weak link in your security chain. Patching it to keep it up to date is as important as patching your OS.


This was first published in September 2007

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