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Vista Security Guide - Options in Windows defender



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Malware protection - Windows defender

You can now scan for any spyware and other malware using a new feature in Windows defender. Some key aspects within Windows defender are;

Real-time protection – windows defender looks for spyware that tries to install itself

Scanning – Windows defender scans and removes spyware that has already installed itself.

The Windows defender home page provides an overview of the current status, via three different colours;

Green status– indicates Windows defender is up to date and there no spyware installed on the computer.

Orange status– Indicates if Windows defender definitions are out of date and there is no known harmful software installed.

Red status– Indicates if your computer is compromised or has harmful software installed.

From the Security Center, click Windows defender which is on the left hand side within the blue area. This will bring you to the Windows defender application.


Windows Defender Guide


Here you can scan your computer for spyware. I will be scanning mine for spyware as from the figure above I have not scanned my computer for 11 days! However this was done on purpose just to outline some characteristics of Windows defender.

There are two different types of scans, quick scan and full scan.

Quick Scan – scans parts of Windows Vista known to where spyware is usually installed.

Full Scan – scans everything.

Ideally you want to complete a quick scan daily or around three times a week, and process a full scan once a month. Once the scan is finished Windows defender will present you with its results. If it has scanned any harmful or suspicious software Windows defender will ask you what to do with it. I always go for the remove option!


Windows Defender Results page


Well, thankfully my scan shows my system is clean from spyware, as above.

If you select the Tools option, from here you can configure when Windows defender checks for updates, and when it will take part in a scan. This is automated and so once this is set up it will scan and update for when you specify.


Windows Defender tools and settings


From the figure below, I have configured my options to Quick scan my computer daily, at 21:00, and enabled to check for latest spyware updates before scanning. This shows my computer will have the latest spyware definitions before it scans for any spyware.


Windows Defender options


Also under malware protection you will have your anti-virus software listed. If you do not have any anti-virus protection, you are vulnerable to viruses. Although you have basic spyware protection with windows defender, and a basic firewall in the Vista firewall to stop threats, they can still leak through. You may download a virus from a game over the internet, or visit a malicious website which looks completely innocent or you could install a virus via a CD or USB. You will need a virus scanner to check your system has not been compromised by a virus. To the point, a virus scanner is crucial and highly recommended. Take a look at my internet security software guide.


Other Security Settings

This feature would show the overall status over your internet security settings and User access control. If the Security Center notices they are not set at their recommended levels and potentially your computer is at risk, it will alert you.

Other Security Settings feature will monitor tools such as your phishing filter, pop-up blocker. It will check that unauthorised changes have not been made to your computer. It ensures these settings have not dropped below the recommended setup.

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