Protect your computer by configuring privacy settings, updates, the Windows firewall and more
Although the new Secure Boot feature provides initial security from the start, as always there are certain basic housekeeping tasks that every Windows 8 owner should set up. As we mentioned in the previous article, the Action Center is where you’ll find many of the settings and options that you can customise.
Windows Defender is also useful for running quick scans and ensuring that your protection is up to date. Windows Defender has a similar feel and look to Microsoft’s free Security Essentials suite, so if you have already used this then you’ll feel right at home. The next six steps will take you through the most important security tasks you should take the time to configure.
One of the first things any new Windows 8 user should do is set up automatic updates. Type action anywhere on the Start screen. The search bar will pop up on the right-hand side of the screen and give you a search box to complete the text if needed. You then need to click where it says Settings in the Search bar and select the Action Center icon that appears on the left of the main screen. The Action Center will open in a window on the traditional desktop. Click the Security link to reveal your current settings and check that Windows Update is set to On. Now select Control Panel Home from the left-hand side and click Systems and Security, then Windows Updates. From the left-hand task pane you can check for updates manually, view your update history and change settings, such as the time Windows automatically checks for updates (see step 3).
Go back to the Start screen (by pressing the Windows key if you’re in the desktop view) and move your mouse to the top, right-hand corner of the screen (or tap there with your finger if using a touchscreen device). The Charms bar will appear. From this, click the cog icon and click Change PC Settings. Select Privacy and by moving the bars left or right with your mouse or finger you can choose to allow or block apps using your location, name and account picture and informing Microsoft of any web links being used. You can also choose to block cookies and install pop-up blocking if you prefer. The easiest way to access this is to type security on the Start screen then click Settings in the Search bar. You will then be presented with a list of security tasks you can undertake, including blocking cookies.
Windows 8 carries out security scans automatically during its scheduled maintenance period, which, by default, is set to occur every day at 3.00am and also includes other activities, such as checking for new updates (see step 1). If your computer is in standby mode at this time, Windows will wake it to carry out the tasks but, if you prefer, you can change the time that Microsoft has set. To do this type action in the Start screen, then select Settings from the Search bar. Click on Action Center icon on the Start screen. Then choose Maintenance and click on the ‘change maintenance settings’ link. This will allow you to specify the time scans are run. You can also disable the box that automatically wakes up the PC if you wish.
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