Many users use Windows Defender for virus protection. The program included in Windows is not only free of charge, but can also keep up with the competition from Kaspersky, Bitdefender or Avira in terms of detection rates. This is how you can also scan network drives with the Defender.
Scan network drives with Windows Defender
By default, Defender only scans the local drives on the PC. However, he is also able to extend his virus scan to shared network drives. Microsoft advises against this, however: If several computers are active in a network and each of them not only examines its own drives but also the shares of the other computers, not only is computing power wasted, but the network is also unnecessarily burdened. It is much better if each PC restricts itself to its own hard drives when scanning for viruses.
The administrator can use the group policy editor to transfer the settings for the network scan to shared computers in the LAN. However, this is only useful for a specific selection, for example for the NAS device.
However, if you have set up a NAS device in addition to the work computer in your private network, it can make sense to extend the Defender’s area of action to it. If you work with a Professional or Enterprise version of Windows, proceed as follows: Type gpedit in the search field on the taskbar and click on “Edit group policy”. This opens the “Editor for local group policies”. Now click on “Computer Configuration”, “Administrative Templates”, “Windows Components”, “Microsoft Defender Antivirus” and double-click to open the “Scan” subfolder. Double-click on “Scan network files”, select the “Activated” option in the window that opens and confirm with “OK”.
Owners of Windows Home have to proceed differently, because the group policy editor is missing in this version of Windows. You have two options: On the one hand, you can activate the network scan via the registry. To do this, click through to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE SOFTWARE Policies Microsoft folder and right-click on the Windows Defender subfolder. Select “New -› Key ”, name the key“ Scan ”and confirm with the Enter key. Then click on it with the right mouse button and go to “New -› DWORD value (32-bit) ”. Name the new entry “DisableScanningNetworkFiles” and confirm it. Double-click the entry and make sure that the value is “0”. To switch off the network option again, simply delete the DWORD value.
The fastest way to activate the network scan is to use a command in the Windows Powershell, which you call up via the search field in the taskbar.
On the other hand, you can also use the Powershell to activate the network option. Type powershell into the search field on the taskbar, right-click on “Windows PowerShell” and select “Run as administrator”. Enter the command Set-MpPreference -DisableScanning- NetworkFiles 0 and confirm with Enter. To switch the network scan off again later, use the command Set-MpPreference -DisableScanningNetworkFiles 1.
The great compendium on network security