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Windows 7 - How to Use Windows Defender

Windows Defender is included with all versions of Windows 7. It provides a basic level of protection against certain types of malicious software such as spyware, adware and rootkits. However, it does not compare to a full-featured antivirus program and it should not be relied on solely. By default Windows Defender will run in the background and, for the most part, it does not require much user interaction. To access Windows Defender in order to change any settings or to perform a scan of your computer, you'll need to go to Windows Defender in the Control Panel. Ensure that the control panel view is set to small or large icons so that you can see Windows Defender. Note that if you install the free antivirus software, Microsoft Security Essentials, Windows Defender will be automatically disabled.

The "Home" screen is the main section of Windows Defender. Here you can see the current status of your computer's protection. It will tell you whether there's a scan currently in progress or whether real-time protection is on or off. It will also show you information about scheduled scans, including the time when your computer was last scanned. Always pay special attention to the spyware definition database version - this should be regularly updated since new malware appears all the time.

Clicking the "Scan" button at the top of the window will automatically start a quick scan of your computer, and you'll be brought to the scan progress page. If you click on the arrow beside the button, you can choose which type of scan you want Windows Defender to perform. A quick scan is usually enough, although it's a good idea to occasionally run a full scan as well, even though it takes a lot longer. This should ideally be done on a weekly basis. If you've just download one or more files from the Internet, you can carry out a custom scan to scan only those files instead of the whole computer. This will save a lot of time.

You can view a history of past scans and any details about those scans by clicking on the "History" button. Finally, clicking on the "Options" button allows you to configure Windows Defender. Here you can enable or disable automatic scanning. It's best to disable automatic scanning, provided that you remember to scan your computer manually.


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