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How to Use Windows Defender

Windows Defender is a program that helps protect your computer from spyware and other unwanted software. Windows Defender scans your computer for malicious software and provides alerts and default actions such as putting suspicious software into a quarantine area where it can't run. It also uses real-time protection, which detects a malicious or unknown programs attempting to install themselves or run on your computer or attempting to change important Windows settings.

Windows Defender is included with all versions of the Windows Vista operating system and is available to download for Windows XP Service Pack 2 or later, or Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 or later.

If you have an antivirus application like AcAfee, Symantic, or Trend Micro installed on your PC, it may have disabled Windows Defender.

The Three Kinds of Programs

To Windows Defender, there are three kinds of programs:

Legitimate programs. Windows Defender gives no alert for known legitimate programs, it just lets them run normally.

Unknown programs. If, in the Options menu under Notification Options, you set the checkbox next to "Software that has not yet been classified for risks", Windows Defender will alert you about programs that it can't identify as being legitimate or being spyware.

Known malicious programs. Windows Defender does not allow known malicious programs to run. Instead, it generates an alert popup message that asks you if you want to allow the questionable software to execute, or if you want to disable or remove it.

Windows Defender informs you of the alert level of the questionable software, If the alert level is "Severe", "High", or "Medium", you should let Windows Defender remove it. If the alert level is low, read the message details. If you don't recognize the software, tell Windows defender to disable it or remove it.

If the alert level is "Not yet classified", you should search with the program's name in Google to decide whether to let it run.

Windows Defender

You can access Windows Defender by selecting Control Panel | Security | Windows Defender. Menu selections in Windows Defender are: Home, Scan, History, and Tools.

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