How To: Managing Security Settings in Windows 8

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Windows 8 has many new (as well as old) security features that you should know about.

The three main security components are below:

  • Check Security
  • Windows SmartScreen
  • Windows Defender

Check Security

According to Microsoft, Windows 8 is the most secure version of Windows so far, which many security experts agree with.

You can view an overview of the Windows 8 security system by typing “security” in the Start Screen. Then click the Check security status option to view your Windows security. Windows will launch a screen which displays important security information, including your network firewall status, any virus protection you have installed, spyware and malware protection, Internet security settings, User Account Control, Network Access Protection, Windows Defender, and Windows SmartScreen.

Older versions of Windows had many of these components, except for Windows SmartScreen as well as an updated Windows Defender.

Windows SmartScreen

Windows SmartScreen is a tool which allows you to protect your computer from installing and using unrecognized software and files from the Internet. So whenever you open a downloaded file, the SmartScreen appears and asks for your approval before continuing the downloading process.

By default, this tool is set to request administrator approval before loading an unrecognized app on your computer. However, you can switch this option to have Windows display a warning before running an unrecognized file or app without administrator approval, or turn off this feature (although we don’t recommend doing this).

Windows Defender

The new and improved Windows Defender is more than just an anti-spyware tool. Now it’s able to protect your computer from many other threats as well, including viruses and other types of malware.

Windows Defender is automatically installed on all Windows 8 computers, and it receives automatic updates just like any other antivirus software. It runs in the background all the time, but you can also scan your computer at any time.

Keep in mind that if you install third-party security software on your computer, Windows Defender is automatically disabled. However, it cannot be removed from your computer, so if and when you remove this software from your computer, Defender is automatically turned back on after you reboot.

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Jared Howe

Jared Howe is PRIVATE WiFi’s Senior Manager, Product Marketing Communications. Working in high tech for over 15 years, Jared currently lives in Seattle with his wife, daughter, and their two cats.