MSRT vs. MSERT: When to use each Windows malware tool

The Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT) and the Microsoft Safety Scanner (MSERT.exe) do more or less the same thing: scan for and remove Windows malware. We explore and explain the differences.

Padlock on pink binary background with Windows logo
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Microsoft provides Windows users with two tools that offer malware scanning and repair services, should those scans turn up anything in need of fixing. One is named MSRT; the other runs an executable called MSERT.

Naturally, this overlap raised my curiosity, and led me to explore these two tools to suss out their similarities and differences.

msrt vs msert 1 IDG

Figure 1: MSRT appears in File Explorer as a Windows Knowledge Base download, while MSERT comes from Microsoft Docs documentation.

Meet the Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT)

Like clockwork, Microsoft issues Windows security and bug-fix updates on the second Tuesday of each month. Over time, this day of the month has become known as “Patch Tuesday” or “Update Tuesday.” Those updates flow through the Windows Update (WU) facility that is built into all modern Windows versions.

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