How to Change Previous Actions in Windows Defender

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

Windows Defender makes it easy to change previous actions that you might want to undo, such as responding to a pop-up window about possible spyware too quickly (for example, when you are asked “Do you want to allow it or block it?”). You may be too busy to actually read the pop-up, let alone understand the security implications of the program that is trying to run, so you click Allow. Later, when you realize that might not have been the best thing you’ve ever done, Windows Defender makes it easy to go back and see what you did, and make any necessary changes.

Spyware can be very nasty, and removing actual spyware usually isn’t as easy as clicking Remove or Undo, even with Windows Defender. It’s best to take the time to read those vexing pop-up windows, understand what the program is trying to do, and avoid allowing spyware to be installed on your computer in the first place.

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 History button at the top of the window.

The History screen appears.

4

Click the View button in the lower-right corner.

This enables you to view all actions taken on programs.

5

Click the Clear History button in the lower-right corner.

This clears your Windows Defender history.

6

Click Allowed Items, and then click the View button in the lower-right corner.

Any programs you have previously allowed will be displayed in the window.

7

If you decide you no longer want to allow a program (or inadvertently clicked the option to allow a program when you were prompted), select the program and click the Remove from List button.

Clicking Remove from List does not automatically block the program — it just allows Windows Defender to rescan the program. You will need to deny the program access when prompted by Windows Defender.

8

Click the Back button (left arrow) in the upper-left corner.

This returns you to the previous window.

9

Click Quarantined Items, and then click the View button in the lower-right corner.

Any programs you have previously blocked will be displayed in the window.

10

If you decide you want to allow a program (or inadvertently clicked the option to block a program when you were prompted), select the program and click the Restore button.

After restoring a previously blocked program, you will still need to allow the program when prompted by Windows Defender.

11

To permanently delete a program from your computer, select the program and click the Remove button. To permanently delete all quarantined programs from your computer, click the Remove All button.

Close the Windows Defender window when you're done.

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