How to Use Windows Defender
By Stephen Bucaro
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.
You can access Windows Defender by selecting Control Panel | Security | Windows Defender.
Menu selections in Windows Defender are: Home, Scan, History, and Tools.