Windows 7 : Using Advanced Security Options (part 1) - Configuring the Action Center & Performing a Manual Scan

9/28/2011 5:55:44 PM
In the following sections, we will look at some of the advanced security options that you can configure to protect a Windows 7 machine. We will take a look at the Action Center, shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1. Windows Security Center

The Action Center is designed to allow you to monitor and configure critical settings through a centralized dialog box. Critical settings include those for automatic updating, ma I ware protection, and other security settings. Ma! ware protection includes virus protection and spyware protection (included through Windows Defender).

Let's start by taking a look at how to configure the Action Center.

1. Configuring the Action Center

These days, having a firewall just isn't enough. Spyware and viruses are becoming more widespread, more sophisticated, and more dangerous. Users can unintentionally pick up spyware and viruses by visiting websites or by installing an application in which spyware and viruses are bundled.

Even worse, malicious software cannot typically be uninstalled. Thus, antispyware and virus protection applications are also required to ensure that your computer remains protected. Let's take a look at some of the different ways that you can protect your Windows 7 computers using the Action Center.

1.1. Using Windows Defender

Windows 7 comes with an antispyware application called Windows Defender, formerly known as Microsoft AntiSpyware. Windows Defender offers real-time protection from spyware and other unwanted software. You can also configure Windows Defender to scan for spyware on a regular basis.

Like antivirus programs, Windows Defender relies on definitions, which are used to determine whether a file contains spyware. Out-of-date definitions can cause Windows Defender to not detect some spyware. Windows Update is used to regularly update the definitions used by Windows Defender so that the latest spyware can be detected. You can also configure Windows Defender to manually check for updates using Windows Update.

To access Windows Defender (see Figure 2), click Start => Control Panel => Large Icons View => Windows Defender. The status appears at the bottom of the screen and includes time of the last scan, the scan schedule, the real-time protection status, and the definition version.

Figure 2. Windows Defender

Let's take a look at how you can scan the system for spyware using Windows Defender.

2. Performing a Manual Scan

You can configure Windows Defender to perform a manual scan of your computer at any time. There are three different types of scans that can be performed:

  • Quick Scan checks only where spyware is most likely to be found.

  • Full Scan checks all memory, running processes, and folders.

  • Custom Scan checks only the drives and folders that you select.

By default, Windows Defender performs a Quick Scan every morning at 2:00 a.m. You can change this setting by using the Tools menu option as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3. The Options page in Windows Defender

Programs are classified into four spyware alert levels (see Figure 4);

  • Severe

  • High

  • Medium

  • Low

Figure 4. Spyware alert levels

Depending on the alert level, you can choose to have Windows Defender ignore, quarantine, remove, or always allow software.

In the next section we will look at how to configure the many different options of Windows Defender.

  •  Windows 7 : Configuring User Account Control
  •  Windows 7 : Managing and Applying LGPOs (part 3) - Using Local Policies
  •  Windows 7 : Managing and Applying LGPOs (part 2) - Using Account Policies
  •  Windows 7 : Managing and Applying LGPOs (part 1) - Configuring Local Security Policies
  •  Windows 7 : Managing Security
  •  Windows 7 : Creating and Managing Groups
  •  Windows 7 : Managing User Properties
  •  Windows 7 : Working with User Accounts (part 2)
  •  Windows 7 : Working with User Accounts (part 1)
  •  Windows Server : Designing a Software Update Infrastructure (part 2)
  •  Windows Server : Designing a Software Update Infrastructure (part 1)
  •  Securing Windows Server 2008 in the Branch Office
  •  Windows 7 : Configuring Network Connectivity - Configuring DirectAccess
  •  Windows 7 : Configuring Network Connectivity - Understanding BranchCache
  •  Windows 7 : Configuring Remote Management
  •  Configuring Windows 7 on a Network
  •  Windows Server : Branch Office Deployment - Branch Office Services (part 2)
  •  Windows Server : Branch Office Deployment - Branch Office Services (part 1)
  •  Windows Server : Planning Application Virtualization
  •  Windows 7 : Understanding TCP/IP (part 2)
    Top 10
    SQL Server 2008 : Common performance problems (part 2)
    SQL Server 2008 : Common performance problems (part 1) - Procedure cache bloating
    SQL Server 2008 : SQLOS schedulers, Wait analysis
    Windows Server 2003 : Recovering from System Failure
    Windows Server 2003 : Advanced Backup and Restore (part 2) - Scheduling Backup Jobs, Shadow Copies of Shared Folders
    Windows Server 2003 : Advanced Backup and Restore (part 1) - Managing Media, Backup Options, The Ntbackup Command
    Windows Server 2003 : Managing and Implementing Disaster Recovery - Restoring Data
    Microsoft .NET : Design Principles and Patterns - From Objects to Aspects (part 2) - AOP in Action
    Microsoft .NET : Design Principles and Patterns - From Objects to Aspects (part 1) - Aspect-Oriented Programming
    ASP.NET 4 in VB 2010 : The Data Controls - Editing with the GridView
    Most View
    Systems for All Budgets (Part 3) - WS 1000, Silent 1000
    Windows Phone 7 Development : Using a WebBrowser Control to Display Web Content
    How Secure Is Your Pin? (Part 2)
    MySQL for Python : Creating Users and Granting Access - GRANT access in MySQL
    Low- Pass Filter Removal (Part 3)
    Exchange Server 2007: Recover a Non-Mailbox Role
    Collaborating Within an Exchange Server Environment Using Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 : Understanding the History of SharePoint Technologies
    Nokia 808 PureView – It Is All About The Photos
    ASP.NET State Management Techniques : The Role of the Global.asax File
    Group Test: Web Browsers (Part 3) : Safari 5.1.7
    G.skill ARES DDR3 2133MHz 8GB Kit
    Undelete 10 - Fairly Easy To Use
    Custom: Installation Nation (Part 2)
    Silverlight Recipes : Managing XAML Resources
    300 Lumen LED Flash For iPhone
    Onyx Calypso 9.7 Tablet
    Windows Server 2003 : Protecting Network Communications with Internet Protocol Security - IPSec Basics (part 2) - Differences Between AH and ESP, Process and Procedure
    Exchange Server 2010 Coexistence : Coexistence with Exchange Server 2003
    Nokia Lumia 900 - The Brightest Star In Lumia Series
    Canon IXUS 500 HS - Small-But-Mighty Premium Compact