Windows Defender

Windows Defender is a feature of Windows Vista and Windows 7 that provides protection from spyware and other potentially unwanted software. Windows Defender is signature based, using descriptions that uniquely identify spyware and other potentially unwanted software to detect and remove known applications. Windows Defender regularly retrieves new signatures from Microsoft so that it can identify and remove newly created spyware and other potentially unwanted software. Microsoft does not charge for signature updates.

Additionally, Windows Defender real-time protection monitors critical touchpoints in the operating system for changes usually made by spyware. Real-time protection scans every file as it is opened and also monitors the Startup folder, Run keys in the registry, Windows addons, and other areas of the operating system for changes. If an application attempts to make a change to one of the protected areas of the operating system, Windows Defender prompts the user to take appropriate action.

Windows Defender can also run a scan on demand to detect and remove known spyware. By default, Windows Defender will scan Windows Vista computers daily at 2:00 A.M. for malware infections; however, you can configure this behavior. Although Windows Defender real-time protection attempts to prevent most infections, nightly scanning allows Windows Defender to detect and remove newly discovered malware that might have circumvented the defenses of real-time protection.

The Microsoft SpyNet Community enables Windows Defender to communicate discoveries about new applications and whether users identify applications as malware or legitimate. Depending on how you configure Windows Defender, it can provide feedback to the SpyNet Community about new applications and whether users choose to allow the application to be installed. Feedback from the SpyNet Community helps Microsoft and users distinguish malware from legitimate software, enabling Windows Defender to more accurately identify malware and reduce the number of false alarms. Providing private feedback to the SpyNet Community is optional; however, all users can benefit from the information gathered by the community.

In addition to these features, Windows Defender includes Software Explorer. Software Explorer provides users with control over many different types of applications, including applications that install themselves into the browser and into applications that start automatically. Software Explorer is primarily intended for users who manage their own computers. In enterprise environments, IT departments will typically handle software removal. Windows Defender can also be installed on Windows XP with SP2.

Source of Information : Windows 7 Resource Kit 2009 Microsoft Press

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