Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

Those names are just enough "off" to be suspicious. Internet Explorer might be blocking it for a very good reason!

Virus and Salutations Center says to use MS Safety Scanner, but IE blocks this program? What's up? Is it safe or not?

In this excerpt from Answercast #19, I take a look at a mysterious "Virus and Salutations Center" and suggest a deeper look.

Salutations and safety?

I have no idea. There are two things that are going on here:

  • One, I have no idea what a Virus and Salutations Center is.

I have never heard of such a thing and I suspect that it is not something in Windows. It leads me to believe that perhaps you are already infected with malware that is trying to get itself deeper into your machine.

  • MS Safety Scanner: again, I don't know of something that is called exactly that. [Update: reader Mary points out in the comments here that it does exist and can be downloaded directly from Microsoft here.]

There's Microsoft Security Essentials, which I strongly recommend. But MS Safety Scanner is not a term that I've heard of as legitimate anti-malware software.

Suspected malware

Internet Explorer is blocking the program... probably because it's malware. Probably because IE should be blocking it!

So my recommendation is to triple check exactly what it is you're looking at. Make sure that it is legitimate. It sounds like it's not.

Article C5371 - May 21, 2012 « »

Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

May 22, 2012 12:31 AM

The Microsoft Safety Scanner is a free downloadable security tool that provides on-demand scanning and helps remove viruses, spyware, and other malicious software. It works with existing antivirus software.

If this tool is being offered for download from other than the official Microsoft website I'd pass on it. Why risk downloading malware disguised as a legitimate tool when you can get the real thing directly from Microsoft?

Cool. Thanks for the clarification. I'd not heard of it but the authoritative link from Microsoft is perfect. Thanks again/

David Oxley
May 22, 2012 9:25 AM

Hi Leo,
I'm surprised that you don't know about MS Safety Scanner.
I just Googled it and found it on Microsoft's site.
I downloaded it and ran it very successfully.

May 22, 2012 9:30 AM

Microsoft Virus and Security Solutions Center is a Microsoft Support reference.

Microsoft Safety Scanner is also known as Microsoft Emergency Response Tool (msert.exe)
Basically a standalone Microsoft Security Essentials without Real-time Protection it can be run from a USB flash drive.

Best reference on Microsoft Security Software is from Corrine at Security Garden.


May 22, 2012 5:10 PM

"Virus and Salutations Center?"

Is it possible that the question was intended to reference the Microsoft "Virus and Security Solution Center?"

Could spell-check change a mis-typed "Security Solution" into "Salutations?"

It's a possibility (not the spell checker, but a miscommunication). But I wanted to be super clear since so many malware purveyors use exactly that kind of "similar but not quite right" sounding name to mislead people.
May 25, 2012 6:43 AM

Mr. Notenboom:

First, I want to say that I have been a subscriber of your website for quite some time and eagerly await your newsletters!

Secondly, I am humbled at your honesty . . . that you don't try to pretend to Know everything and that when you don't know something you say so (as in the case with the MS Safety Scanner tool!)

Did you know that Microsoft has a built in malware removal tool called MRT (Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool)?

I don't know if it is in Windows XP or Vista but It's in Windows 7. It arrives every month via Windows Update! Just type in MRT in the Search bar by pressing the start button (Windows Orb) that is in the far left bottom of the desktop!

It is a great application to have as an added layer of security against Cyber-Miscreants!

Mr. Notenboom please keep up the good work by informing those of us who want to keep safe in Cyber-Space and help others to do so as well!

Thanks for Listening,


Comments on this entry are closed.

If you have a question, start by using the search box up at the top of the page - there's a very good chance that your question has already been answered on Ask Leo!.

If you don't find your answer, head out to to ask your question.