Microsoft Vista Certification Tutorial - An Introduction To Windows Defender
By Chris Bryant
You don't have to be working on a Microsoft Windows Vista certification to know about the security problems that past versions of Windows have encountered. As a result, Microsoft is paying special attention to security with Vista, and one of the new features Vista features is Windows Defender.
What exactly are we defending against with Defender? Spyware. Spyware programs range from annoying (one pop-up banner after another) to downright destructive (capturing your computer's keystrokes). Windows Defender is designed to operate much like an antivirus program in that Defender will detect the offending spyware and then quarantine or delete the spyware.
Defender gives you this protection in two ways. First, by prompting you for a "yes/no" answer when you're about to knowingly or unknowingly have a program installed on your computer. Defender will also scan your computer to look for known spyware programs and will do so once daily by default. Naturally, this can be changed to suit your needs, and you can also define which files should and should not be scanned.
Defender's Software Explorer feature shows you the programs that are currently running on your computer, as well as which ones will run automatically when you reboot. Software Explorer is very helpful in spotting potential spyware programs, since this feature will indicate whether the program will start when Windows starts, whether the program actually shipped with the OS, whether it's been analyzed as a potential threat, and whether the program has been digitally signed by the publisher.
What if the file isn't spyware? You can tell Defender to "always allow" that particular file. The options for treating potential spyware are "remove", "quarantine", "ignore", and "always allow". You can changes these options for any particular file at any time.
The first line of defense against spyware is the end user, but none of us are perfect! Windows Defender is definitely a step forward in the fight against spyware - and in future Microsoft Vista certification tutorials, we'll take a look at other Vista security features.
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