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HP PCs - Installing and updating antivirus software to protect your HP PC

There are thousands of viruses, software programs, and security threats that can harm your computer, allow private information to be accessed by others, or make the computer perform slower. It is important to protect your PC by installing antivirus software and keeping the antivirus definitions up to date.

Checking your computer for installed antivirus software

Many HP computers come with Windows Security or trial versions of other antivirus software apps already loaded. Before installing antivirus software, there are a few methods you can use to verify that your antivirus software is set up and running correctly.


Your computer might have come with a trial subscription to McAfee VirusScan or Norton Internet Security. HP recommends following on-screen prompts to renew your subscription. Renewing your subscription helps protect your system against new threats.

Verifying your security software by clicking the security icon in the Windows taskbar

Open the security software by clicking the software icon on the system tray area of the Windows taskbar.

  1. Move the mouse pointer along the lower-right corner of the Windows desktop, hover over the icons near the clock, and then read the text above each icon to find the security software icon. You might need to expand the system tray to display hidden icons.

    Tray icons for common security software
  2. Right-click the security icon to open the security software, make sure the software is enabled, and examine more options.

Locating security software in Windows 10

If you could not find a security software icon in the system tray or you are still not sure if your computer has security software, check for security software in Virus & threat protection in Windows Security.

  1. In Windows, search for and open Virus & threat protection.

  2. Under Who's protecting me?, click Manage providers.

    Selecting Manage providers

The security information displays.

Security providers

Installing antivirus software in Windows

If antivirus software is not installed, HP recommends you install antivirus software. New viruses are created and released often, and without antivirus software, the files and folders on the computer are at risk. If antivirus software is installed on your computer, you might need to update your antivirus software definitions.

Many HP and Compaq computers with Windows come with Windows Security. Other HP and Compaq computers might come with free trial versions of other antivirus software. These trial versions are usually limited versions that can be kept up to date for a specific period. After the period expires, your computer becomes more vulnerable to new viruses and security threats. It is important to upgrade or refresh the subscription to keep virus definitions current and continue protecting your computer.

If your device did not come with antivirus software, check with your Internet Service Provider (ISP). Many ISPs offer free or inexpensive antivirus software to their subscribers.


If you have antivirus software installed, but want to install different antivirus software, make sure to remove the old antivirus software before installing new software. Having multiple programs installed might make the computer slow, erratic, and potentially unprotected.

Updating antivirus software definitions in Windows

Because new viruses are created and released often, regularly update the virus definition files for the antivirus software. A virus definition file is a list of known viruses that the antivirus software uses to find and eliminate viruses.

The following steps offer a general overview for updating antivirus software, but if you need additional help, go to the antivirus software manufacturer website for more information. For a list of antivirus software support websites, see Security software support sites and other antivirus software (not HP).

For additional help with updating Windows Security definitions, see HP PCs - Using Windows Security to prevent virus and spyware problems (Windows 10).

  1. Open the antivirus software.

  2. Click buttons or menu items that read update or live update.

    An update window opens.

  3. Follow the on-screen instructions to update your antivirus software.

Security software support sites and other antivirus software (not HP)

Many trusted manufacturers provide support and antivirus software to help protect your computer.