Search Microsoft Security

Privacy and Safety in Windows 8

Privacy and Safety in Windows 8

Privacy In Action: Windows 8

Privacy In Action: Windows 8

At Microsoft, your privacy is our priority. Windows 8 offers tools to help you protect your privacy and the safety of your children online. Windows 8 was also designed and built to help defend against malicious software (malware) to better safeguard your privacy.

Windows 8 helps you:

Helps you manage your privacy

In Windows 8, you can control when apps can access your location, name, and picture.

1. Access the charms by touching or moving your pointer to the right edge of the screen.

2. Click or tap Settings, and then click or tap Change PC Settings.

3. Click or tap Privacy, and make the changes you want.

PC settings

Back to top  ^

Helps you protect your children online with Family Safety

Ever wonder what your kids are up to on the computer and online? Family Safety lets you know where your kids have gone and what they've done there, no matter which family computer they’re using. You can choose what websites to block or allow, which games your kids can play, and which apps they can use. You can also define the amount of time they can spend on the computer.

Family Safety

Creating separate accounts for each family member is key to monitoring children’s web activity. Then it’s just a simple check in a box to turn on Family Safety, which starts monitoring automatically.

After you've turned on Family Safety for a child's account, you can set activity limits for each child:

  • Get activity reports in email that summarize how much time a child spent on the computer, websites they visited, games they played, apps they used, and the terms they've looked up in search engines like Bing or Google.

  • Set time limits. Specify the exact days and times when children can use the computer, and even set daily time limits.

  • Restrict games and apps. Choose the games your kids can play based on title, content, or age-rating, and which apps they may not use, such as those that store sensitive financial data.

  • Allow or block websites you specify, including whether you want to allow file downloads. This allows a child to visit only kid-friendly sites, and helps prevent access to adult content.

Set up Family Safety for your children

Follow the detailed steps in Keep your family safer. They include three basic steps:

  1. Set up your kids’ accounts in Family Safety.
    You’ll need an administrator account; each child you choose to monitor needs a standard user account. When you turn on Family Safety for a child's user account, monitoring starts automatically.

  2. Limit when and how each kid can use the computer.
    Turn on web filtering, set time limits, and restrict the type of websites, games, and apps your child can use.

  3. Monitor kids' computer activity.
    You'll receive an activity report in email from Family Safety that summarizes the activity of each child on the computer and online.

Note: To keep communications open, children are always notified when Family Safety is in use.

Back to top  ^

Helps defend against malicious software

We have worked hard to make our platform more resistant to malicious software (malware) than ever before. New technologies in Windows 8 like Trusted Boot (which helps defend against rootkits, malware that’s especially difficult to remove), and updated technologies like Windows Firewall, Windows Defender, and Windows SmartScreen work together to help make Windows 8 more secure.

Windows Firewall

A firewall like Windows Firewall helps prevent hackers and some types of malware from accessing your computer through a network or the Internet. The firewall operates as a kind of security checkpoint that information must pass through; the firewall either blocks information from or allows it to enter your computer. Windows Firewall also helps to prevent software on your computer from accepting unauthorized updates.

Windows Firewall is turned on by default. Turning off Windows Firewall even for a few minutes can expose your computer to damage from malware or by hackers.

Windows Defender

Windows Defender is built into Windows 8 and if it is turned on, helps guard your computer against viruses, spyware, and other malware. Note that Windows Defender may not be activated on your computer, depending on how or where you purchased the computer. Fortunately, it’s easy to turn on—and free once you do.

Windows Defender guards your computer in two ways:

  • Real-time protection. Windows Defender runs automatically in the background in real time, and can alert you if malware in the Windows Defender database attempts to install itself and run on your computer. Windows Defender uses green, yellow, and red codes to show the security status of your computer.

  • Scanning options. You can use Windows Defender to scan for spyware that might be installed on your computer, to schedule scans on a regular basis, and automatically remove anything that's detected during a scan.

Windows Defender is able to quarantine and remove malicious software and documents using definitions of potential software dangers that tell the Windows Defender engine how to detect known threats. Windows Defender keeps its definitions database current with the latest threats with regular updates. If you have set Windows Update to automatically install important and recommended updates, then Windows Defender definitions are included in those automatic updates. (Get more information about Windows Defender.)

PC status

Scan your computer for malware

Although Windows Defender works in the background, requiring no user interaction for daily scanning, there may be times when you would want to consider a manual scan. For instance, you might have inadvertently downloaded something suspicious from the Internet, received an email message from someone you know that doesn’t seem quite right, or noticed that your computer just isn’t working properly.

  1. Access the charms by touching or moving your pointer to the right edge of the screen.
  2. Click or tap Search, type defender, and then click or tap Windows Defender.

  3. On the Home tab, choose a Scan option.
    • A quick scan checks the places on your computer's hard disk that spyware is most likely to infect.
    • A full scan checks all files on your hard disk and all currently running programs, but it might cause your computer to run slowly until the scan is complete.
    • Customize a scan by selecting only the drives and folders that you want to check—for example, if you suspect spyware has infected a specific area of your computer.

  4. Click or tap Scan now.

Windows SmartScreen

Windows SmartScreen is a new safety feature in Windows 8 that can help protect your computer from malware. If SmartScreen is turned on, the first time you download an app from the Internet, SmartScreen checks its reputation against a Microsoft database of apps whose reputations have been verified. If the app is not well known or might put your computer or your personal information at risk, you will see a warning message.

Windows SmartScreen

Adjust SmartScreen settings

By default, SmartScreen asks you to approve running an unrecognized app from the Internet. You can set SmartScreen to simply warn you—or you can turn off SmartScreen altogether (although that is not recommended).

  1. Go to Windows Defender and Windows SmartScreen fight viruses and other malware.

  2. Scroll down to Adjust Windows SmartScreen settings, and follow the directions on the page.

Back to top  ^


Return to Your Privacy is Our Priority >