Windows Defender - How it Works in Windows 7

Windows Defender is a software built to detect and remove spyware and other similar harmful programs. However, it does not provide any antivirus protection. It is included by default in all versions of Windows 7 and Windows Vista. In this article I will show you how to access Windows Defender and how it works.

How to Open Windows Defender

Windows 7 offers numerous ways to launch the Windows Defender application. You can access it by opening the Classic View of Control Panel as you can see in the image below.

Windows Defender

The second way is to type the word defender in the search box of the Start Menu and choose Windows Defender.

Windows Defender

The application will open and look similar to the screen below.

Windows Defender

How to Use Windows Defender

The interface is very easy to understand and use. First of all, you have two buttons to help navigate through the different application areas: Back and Forward. Next you can see five main buttons: Home, Scan, History, Tools and Help.

Windows Defender

The Home button allows you to see Windows Defender's status where you can find details such as the date of the last system scan, the status of the 'Real-time protection' or the version of the definitions and different application messages.

If you press the Scan button, a quick scan will start to detect the spyware that might be present on your system.

Windows Defender

To perform a full scan just click on the arrow near the Scan button and choose Full scan as you can see in the image below.

Windows Defender

You also have the possibility to perform a custom scan by accessing the 'Custom scan' option from the same menu, as you can see in image below.

Windows Defender

A new window will appear where you will be able to select the drives and folders you want scanned.

Windows Defender

You can check the activities that have been performed by Windows Defender in the History window. You can also check out the alerts that you've received and the actions that you have selected to be performed in each case.

Windows Defender

The Tools button will load the Tools and Settings screen. The Settings section will give you access to the Options panel where you can configure the way you want Windows Defender to run. Also you can join the Microsoft SpyNet community and help identify spyware infections. The Tools section allows you to view all the Quarantined items, the Allowed items list and access the Windows Defender website or Microsoft Malware Protection Center portal.

Windows Defender

Last but not least, the Help button, allows you to access the Windows Defender help files. Also you have some useful options available: 'Check for Windows Defender updates, view information about the application' or the privacy statement.

Windows Defender

Conclusion

Windows Defender is easy to use, light on system resources and it offers a basic set of protective features against spyware and potentially unwanted software. It runs automatically when it's turned on.

However, Microsoft now offers and recommends a newer and better solution - Microsoft Security Essentials. It is free, just like Windows Defender and it offers also antivirus protection.

If you want to know more about how to secure your PC, read the articles recommended below.

Related articles:

Windows Defender - How to Turn it On or Off
Windows Defender in Windows 8 and Windows 7 - What’s New & Different?
Introducing Windows 8: How to Use the Windows Defender Antivirus