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How to scan an external hard drive for viruses on a Windows PC or laptop

Scan external drives for viruses

An external hard drive is like any storage device, and as such it should be regularly scanned for viruses just like you would scan your PC and laptop's primary hard drive for harmful threats.

As a virus is essentially just a file, any piece of hardware that can store files has the potential to host viruses. Therefor you should regularly scan your external hard drive(s) and other portable storage devices for infected files. Here's where we show you how to scan an external hard drive for viruses. Visit: Group test: what's the best portable hard drive.

This should be obvious, but just in case it's not: the first thing you are going to need to do is make sure you have anti-virus software installed on your computer. If you don't then take a look at our 5 of the best free antivirus programs for Windows PC, laptop or tablet to find out which one is best for you.

How to scan an external hard drive for viruses: the quickest way

If you already have antivirus software installed, then scanning an external hard drive or any portable storage device for viruses should be as simple as locating the drive via My Computer, then right clicking it and selecting Scan [with your antivirus software].

How to scan an external hard drive for viruses: the quickest way

If this option is not available then you will have to open your antivirus software and instruct it to scan an individual drive or folder. Below is a demo on how to do this using AVG-free antivirus software. Obviously not all antivirus software will be the exact same process as this, but most programs should be similar to the example below.

How to scan an external hard drive for viruses: step one

The first thing you are going to need to do is open your antivirus software and location the Scan option.

How to scan an external hard drive for viruses: step two

From here should be presented with a few different scan options such as Manage Scheduled Scans or weather you want to scan your entire computer or just a specific files or folder. You want to select Scan specific file or folder.

How to scan an external hard drive for viruses

How to scan an external hard drive for viruses: step three

You should now be presented with an explorer style view of the files and folders on your computer. Provided that you external hard drive is connected properly, all you will need to do from here is select your hard drive and select scan.

How to scan an external hard drive for viruses

That's how you scan an external hard drive for viruses.

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