How to Use Windows Security to Protect Your PC

For many years, Windows users had to rely on a third-party security tool to keep viruses and malware at bay, but Microsoft’s operating system now comes with its own package, in the form of Windows Security.

It’s designed to run quietly and efficiently in the background, and you might not even notice it, but it’s important to know how it protects your computer and the different options it gives you.

Although you can add additional security software to Windows if you wish, Windows Security should protect you from harm. You can open it from the Start menu or by clicking on its icon in the notification area.

Find your way around

Windows Security gives you an overview of the status of your system.

Microsoft through David Nield

Open the main Windows Security Dashboard and you should see a grid of icons, all with reassuring green checkmarks next to them. If something needs your attention, these check marks will be replaced with yellow exclamation points. You can click on any item in the grid, from Protection against viruses and threats for Protection historyto navigate to the appropriate section in the app.

The navigation pane on the left gives you another way to switch between parts of Windows security: Residence The option is the one to return to if you need to return to the main dashboard. Choose Account Protectionfor example, for options relating to your Microsoft account and how you sign in to Windows on your computer (including facial and fingerprint recognition, if available).

Firewall and network protection is where you can monitor the firewall put in place around Windows, for devices on your local network and in terms of the Internet at large. If you decide to install a third-party security package, Windows Security can also monitor that and make sure everything is working properly. If no firewall is active, you will see a warning on the screen.

Choose Settings in the left navigation bar to customize various aspects of Windows security: these are mainly the notifications displayed by the program and any third-party security software you have installed. You can also click Protection history here to see what Windows Security has been up to lately, from virus scans to security issue alerts.

Running virus and malware scans

Windows Security runs background scans while you use your device.

Microsoft through David Nield

In terms of actively protecting your computer against threats, the Protection against viruses and threats Windows security section is the place to visit. As with the rest of the software, most features here will work in the background, but it’s good to know what’s available and what you can do if you spot anything suspicious.

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