Configuring Tools and Settings in Windows Defender

8 of 10 in Series: The Essentials of Home Network Security

You can configure many advanced options in Windows Defender, such as automatic scanning, default actions, real-time protection settings, excluded files and folders, excluded file types, and more. These changes can be made from the Windows Defender Options screen.

1

Click the Start button and type Defender in the Search Programs and Files text box.

A list of search results appears.

2

Click Windows Defender in the search results.

Windows Defender is launched and the Windows Defender window appears.

3

Click the Tools button at the top of the window, and then click Options under Settings.

The Options screen displays.

4

Under Automatic Scanning, make any desired changes and then click the Save button.

On this screen, you can enable or disable automatic scanning, set the frequency, select the approximate time to start automatic scans, choose the type of scan (full or quick), check for updated definitions prior to scanning your computer, and choose to run the scan only when your compute is idle (so that performance will not be degraded while you’re working on your computer).

5

Click Default Actions in the left pane, make any desired changes, and then click Save.

You can choose what action Windows Defender takes (Recommended Action Based on Definitions, Remove, Quarantine, or Allow) when a specific alert level (Severe, High, Medium, or Low) is triggered. The Recommended Action Based on Definitions setting enables Windows Defender to take advantage of the latest data (definitions) about Internet threats to take the most appropriate action.

6

Click Real-Time Protection in the left pane, make any desired changes, and then click Save.

You can enable or disable real-time protection, choose whether to scan files and attachments that are downloaded via a Web browser, and choose whether to scan programs that are running on your computer. Real-time Protection allows Windows Defender to scan programs for spyware or other threats automatically as they are accessed on your computer or over the Internet.

7

Click Excluded Files and Folders in the left pane, make any desired changes, and then click Save.

You can identify specific files or folders on your computer that you do not want Windows Defender to scan. You may choose to do this if Windows Defender causes a problem with certain files or folders. Click Add, and then browse to the location of the file or folder you wish to exclude and click OK. If you change your mind about excluding a file or folder, select it and click Remove.

8

Click Excluded File Types in the left pane, make any desired changes, and then click Save.

You can identify types of files that you do not want Windows Defender to scan, such as pictures (.jpg) or music (.mp3). You might exclude certain file types so that Windows Defender runs faster by skipping over your music files, for example. Simply type the file extension — you don’t need to include the asterisk (*) or leading period (.) and click Add. To scan any file types you have previously excluded, select the file type from the list and click Remove.

9

Click Advanced in the left pane, make any desired changes, and then click Save.

You can select whether to scan compressed files (for example, .zip files), e-mail and attachments, and removable drives (such as USB drives). You can also enable heuristics, which checks for partial matches of existing spyware definitions, and you can configure Windows Defender to automatically create a restore point before taking action on any detected items (so that you can recover your computer if the action causes a problem).

10

Click Administrator in the left pane, make any desired changes, and then click Save.

You can select whether you want Windows Defender to alert all users when spyware is detected or only the administrator. You can also configure Windows Defender to allow the administrator to see the history, allowed items, and quarantined items for all users on the computer. Close the Windows Defender window when you're done making changes.

   
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The Essentials of Home Network Security

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