Microsoft Anti-Virus ( MSAV ) was an antivirus program introduced by Microsoft for its MS-DOS operating system . The program first appeared in MS-DOS version 6.0 (1993 [1] ) and last appeared in MS-DOS 6.22. The first version of the antivirus program was made, and could scan for 1,234 different viruses. [2] Microsoft Anti-Virus for Windows ( MWAV), included as part of the package, MSAV to run properly on Windows 3.1x .

Microsoft Anti-Virus was supplied by Central Point Software Inc. (later acquired by Symantec in 1994 and integrated into Symantec’s Norton AntiVirus product) and was essentially a stripped down version of the Central Point Anti-Virus (CPAV) product which, in turn, Central Point Software Inc., had licensed from Carmel Software Engineering in Haifa, Israel. Carmel Software sold the product as Turbo Anti-Virus both domestically and abroad.

Microsoft Anti-Virus for Windows was also provided by Central Point Software.[3]


MSAV featured the “Detect and Clean” strategy, and the detection of boot sector and Trojan horse-type viruses (which were typical virus problems at that time).

The program also had an anti-stealth and check sum feature that could be used to detect any changes in normal files. This technology was intended to make up for the unavailability of regular update packages. The final update of MSAV was released in June 1996 by Symantec,[4] it added the ability to detect polymorphic viruses and the virus definitions were updated to scan for a total of 2,371 viruses.


VSafe was a terminate and stay resident component of MSAV that provided real-time virus protection.

By default, VSafe does the following:

  • Checks executable files for viruses (on execution).
  • Checks all disks (hard drive and floppy) for boot sector viruses.
  • Warns of attempts to write to the boot sector or partition table of the hard disk
  • Warns of formatting that could erase the hard disk.

There are more features that can be enabled, VSafe can:

  • Warn of attempts of executable files to terminate and stay resident (by normal methods).
  • Prevent programs from writing to disk.
  • Warn of attempts to write to the boot sector of a floppy disk.
  • Warn of attempts to modify executable files.

VSafe had a number of virus definitions embedded within its executable, but was capable of loading additional signatures (updates) from an external definition file.

See also

  • Internet Security
  • Comparison of antivirus software
  • Comparison of firewalls


  1. Jump up^ A History of Microsoft MS-DOS and Windows (and its main competitors) on the 8086 Processor family Archived 2006-02-24 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. Jump up^ List of viruses detectable by MSAV
  3. Jump up^ “MS-DOS MSAV command help”. Computer Hope. Retrieved 2017-07-09.
  4. Jump up^ [1]

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