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New Windows 10 security update proactively hunts down viruses when your PC is idle

Windows 10 is building in an additional line of defense against malware with some new features for Windows Defender, Microsoft’s pre-installed antivirus.

The update is called Limited Periodic Scanning, and was revealed as part of Microsoft’s Insider Preview Build 14352 this week. It allows users to run Windows Defender simultaneously to their own antivirus software. Defender will run its own periodic scan of your computer to further bolster the protections in place with other programs.

If the feature catches any malware you’ll be notified through a standard Windows 10 notification but in most cases, Windows Defender will act automatically on mitigating the malware in the background.

Limited Periodic Scanning, in theory, will only kickstart when your computer is idle or not in the middle of some important task. It uses the Automatic Maintenance feature to select the most opportune time to scan, according to the announcement.

Related: Pentagon CIO wants staff to upgrade to Windows 10 on their home devices

There have been a number of complaints against Microsoft over Windows 10 updates commencing in the middle of important work so the company will want to avoid such a fate again.

Limited Periodic Scanning is only for use by consumers so far, said Deepak Manohar from Microsoft Malware Protection Center, but the company is exploring possible enterprise applications for the feature.

The feature is currently only available for Windows Insiders and is turned off by default if you’re not already using Windows Defender. To turn on Limited Periodic Scanning, go to Settings, Update & Security and Windows Defender, and then Turn Limited Periodic Scanning on.

Microsoft has placed a big emphasis on security for Windows 10, claiming it is the most secure operating system available on the market right now. The CIO of the Pentagon, Terry Halvorsen has even publicly gushed over the security of the OS and urged his employees to use it on their personal devices. However, Windows 10 has still faced many concerns and criticisms over its attitude to user privacy by collecting and monitoring a huge amount of data.