The in-built anti-virus tool in Windows 10 is powerful with robust features. Microsoft Defender has security mechanisms that are not available even in paid tools. To make your computer safe from random threats and malware, you can use this tool’s vigorous features.
Protect your system from ransomware. Run a file scan on individual files to save time. Make sure that your complete hard-drive is safe from viruses. Enable cloudware protection to find the latest threats from around the world and block them. Mobile and Desktop can be integrated, so that Windows 10 can be locked when you are away.
If you have a device built into the system, you can enable hardware supported protection. Add a folder to protected folder protection, so that the files are safe from rootkit and malware threat. Make sure your apps and web activity are safe with Microsoft account and automatic sample submission.
In this review we are going to see 10 strong features of Microsoft Defender and Windows 10 for a safe protection of your computer.
Offline Scan to delete Hidden Malware
The default virus scan options in Windows Security uses “Quick Scan”. It only checks the commonly found system folders where threats are likely to prevail. This is like the fore-front security bodyguard against viruses for your pc.
Sometimes, you need a thorough scan to prevent malware in ROM or BIOS. This can be only complete with Microsoft Defender Offline scan. There are certain viruses which are difficult to remove when your system is working. With up-to-date thread definitions, the default antivirus in Windows 10 can find and remove them.
This will restart your laptop or pc and takes around 15 to 30 minutes to complete.
Custom Scan of any file or Folder
Another easy feature of Microsoft Defender is that it is able to custom scan any individual file or folder on your Windows 10 system.
Navigate to any folder on your computer. Then right-click any file to “Scan with Microsoft Defender”. This is a quick method to scan an individual file which is likely to contain a virus.
This security feature is useful to scan doubtful files or folders downloaded from the Internet and the sources cannot be trusted. This is a more convenient way of scanning, instead of doing a full scan.
Full Hard-Disk Scan
This is more thorough than both custom and quick scans. You need to do this less frequently, as it requires more time to complete.
But don’t worry! Microsoft Defender automatically reduces usage of CPU, RAM and hard-disk activity based on the app and program usage in Windows 10. Only when the system is idle, this type of scan will take place with full throttle.
At the end of the day, you can be at peace that all the files on your hard-disk or system have been scanned. It may take hours to complete the scan depending on the number of partitions and files to scan.
Dynamic Lock for Enhanced Protection
Once you login to your Windows 10 laptop or PC with Microsoft Account, you have additional security privileges.
You can make use of the different sign-in options available to lock your computer when away. To keep it simple, you can also use Windows Hello or PIN to sign-in to your account.
The more robust way is to use Dynamic lock for your system. When you pair any Bluetooth device with Windows 10, your system is automatically locked when you’re away. This makes it easy for complete protection of your files and system.
You need not press any keys to lock your computer. If you are forgetful or busy doing your work, the system dynamically locks your computer without your involvement.
Add Protection to your Folders to prevent Ransomware Attack
On the right-hand side of Virus & threat protection of Windows Security, you can see Ransomware protection at the bottom.
You have to click “Manage ransomware protection” to invoke this setting. This will bring the Controlled Folder Access setting. Simply, ransomware can block access to the most important files of your system.
Generally, your OneDrive is added for this kind of protection. By default, Documents, Pictures, Videos, Music, Favorites of your Windows 10 OS, comes under this scan. You can bring more folders under this security by clicking “Protected folders” and “Add a protected folder“.
Sometimes, third-party apps can be blocked by this setting. In that case, you can allow an app to bypass the controlled folder to access work normally. All Microsoft Store apps work safely even if this option is turned on.
Real-time protection with cloud based Updates
Microsoft Defender in Windows 10 is powerful to block all online threats, malware originating from websites and apps. This is due to the latest update definitions and real-time protection.
Another special feature of Windows Security is called “cloud-delivered protection”. In Windows 7 it is known as Microsoft Active Protection Service (MAPS). This feature is turned on by default when you install Windows 10.
You can see it on the right-hand side, when you click Virus & threat protection.
But some apps or programs can turn it off, for their own benefit. So it is better to check the following setting.
Virus & threat protection settings > Manage settings
Then, make sure that “Cloud delivered protection” is enabled or not.
In the latest 20H2 update of Windows 10, the following options are available.
- Real-time protection
- Automatic sample submission
- Tamper protection
Some of them are available with earlier versions like 1909 and May 2020 update.
App & Browser Control for Reputation based protection
Microsoft Store has many apps that have premium versions also. Though many of the apps are developed by Microsoft, some of them are installed by developers not associated with them. In that case, we are not sure whether the app is safe or not.
To make sure that apps, files and websites are protected on your system, from malicious and unauthorized activity, you can enable “reputation based protection settings”. When you click this label, the following options are available.
- Check apps and files
- SmartScreen for Microsoft Edge
- Potential unwanted app blocking
- Smartscreen for Microsoft Store apps
This setting will provide security against malware sites, apps and downloads. Blocks apps and downloads if you think they are phishy. Unrecognized files on the web are checked based on file submission, cloudware protection and blocked if necessary.
Set Firewall Settings and Use Rules
First make sure that Microsoft Defender’s firewall is turned on for domain, private and public networks. This makes sure that unwanted threats are blocked from entering or leaving your Windows 10 system.
Another feature is to set rules for your apps and programs.
Click on “Allow an app through firewall”. This will show all the apps that are currently allowed by the firewall for Private and Public networks. You can “Change Settings” to allow some more apps or disable the existing ones.
It is better not to tamper with the default settings, as most of the Store apps use the Internet for their working.
Click on “Advanced Settings” to set Inbound and Outbound rules between your network and the Internet. This will open “Windows Defender Firewall with Advanced Security” in the latest Oct 2020 update.
When you click “Inbound Rules”, you can see all apps and programs that allow inward communication from the internet to the private or public network. If you are using a typical “Home” or “Work” network, then you can set rules for that kind of network. Other network settings can be disabled as they don’t have much impact.
The same applies to “Outbound Rules”. You can prevent files, apps, downloads, programs on your Windows 10 laptop to communicate with the services on the outside world. If you want to fine tune your access, then you can disable ports also.
Protection using System Hardware
Companies and Offices using intra-network supply laptops and devices to their employees. If they think that the company information is confidential, they can implant some hardware-locks kind of devices into the Windows 10 laptop.
If your system has the required hardware, then you can enable “Device Security”. This kind of protection and safety is only available if the hardware supports it.
Parental Controls for Family Safety in Windows 10
Windows Security also provides the necessary tools to protect the group members of your family. Though you cannot set the parental controls in Windows 10, you can make use of this feature to open them in a web interface or Android or iOS app.
You can see the activity of your kid’s devices, set screen time limit for apps and games, add additional time on the device, add money to the child’s account to purchase from Microsoft Store, set controls on Xbox One usage, content restrictions and many others.
The most notable feature is that you can track your child’s location using this feature.