Exploring Windows Defender in Vista Ultimate

Posted by: Minal Agarwal , on 6/9/2008, in Category Windows Vista
Views: 44492
Abstract: Security is one of major concerns of all the computer users today. Microsoft claims Windows Vista as its most secure Operating System so far. Vista has built-in features that help you protect your system from malicious programs and hackers. One such feature is Windows Defender. This article elaborates on this feature.
Exploring Windows Defender In Vista Ultimate
Hackers always come up with new innovative ways to hack computers. Hence Windows Vista is incorporated with antispyware package called Windows Defender. Windows Defender helps you detect software or program that poses a potential threat to your privacy or your computer. It enables you to scan your computer periodically for any malware or spyware that may try to install on your computer and alerts you when such an installation starts or when a program runs itself to make any changes to your system settings.
You can use the Windows Defender to scan your system always in the background or do it yourself manually. You need to open the Windows Defender window to set this. To open the window go to Start > Control Panel > Security > Windows Defender.
If Windows Defender is not turned on, you will receive a dialog box with a warning as shown below:
Click on Turn on and open Windows Defender to open the Windows Defender window.
The window displays the Status of the last scan. So if the Windows Defender was already configured on your system then last scan details would be shown over here.
Click on the Scan button, to let Vista perform a quick scan of your system and report any spyware problem. You can also click on the down arrow next to the Scan button for scan options.
Custom Scan allows you to set options for scanning, like you can choose the drives and folders you want to check.
When you scan your system the scan details Start time, Objects Scan are displayed in the window. See the figure given below:
Apart from the above options, you can click on the Tools button to display the Tools and Settings screen as shown below:
There are six options that you can modify:
1.    Options: opens the Options screen where you can set the Automatic Scanning options like frequency, time and the type of scan. You can check for updated definitions before scanning and apply default actions to items detected during the scan. These default actions could be customized in the section Default actions where you can determine what actions Windows Defender would display or apply (if the clause if selected in the Automatic scanning section.) to the items detected in the scan. In addition to these, the screen offers Real-time protection, Advanced and Administrator options.
TIP: Windows Defender uses information files called ‘definitions’ to identify spyware. To be able to spot recent spywares on your system, you need to update definitions regularly. Hence ensure your computer is set to check for updated definitions before scanning. You can also ‘Check for Updates’ from the main screen of Windows Defender.
2.    Microsoft SpyNet: lets you join the online community ‘Microsoft SpyNet’ to share information about how Windows Defender responds to potentials spyware programs.
3.    Quarantined Items: displays all the programs that are quarantined by putting a stop to them until you confirm.
4.    Software Explorer: opens the Software Explorer window that displaysall the programs that are monitored by Windows Defender. It lets you remove or disable the startup programs, currently running programs and Network connected programs.
5.    Allowed Items: opens the allowed items screen that displays a list of items you have allowed to run despite of the warnings by Windows Defender. If you remove any item from this list, Windows Defender would start monitoring it again.
6.    Windows Defender website:opens the Windows Defender Home page and you can get more tools, security information and updates online.
NOTE: Though Windows Vista has come up with its own anti-spyware, not all spyware programs could be easily spotted. So it is recommended use any other accessible anti-spyware program to rescan your system.
The article focused on how to use the Windows Defender to protect your system from malicious programs and spyware. I hope this article was useful and I thank you for reading it.
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This article has been editorially reviewed by Suprotim Agarwal.

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Minal Agarwal, Expression Web MVP, MCDST, works as a freelance web designer (SaffronStroke) working on Expression Web, Photoshop and other Graphical tools. As a hobby, she also runs a famous Food site called Foodatarian.com. Follow her on twitter @ saffronstroke

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