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Windows 7: Security features

Windows 7: Security features

The Windows 7 operating system from Microsoft simplifies computer security, making it easier for you to reduce the risk of damage caused by viruses, spyware and other malware. Windows 7 also features an improved backup solution to help keep your information safe, and its improved parental controls help you protect your family.

Read about the safety, security, and privacy features in Windows 7.

Ready for a new operating system? Explore the security features in Windows 8.

The Action Center: security information at your fingertips

The new Windows 7 Action Center in the Control Panel helps you make sure that your firewall is on, your antivirus software is up to date, and your computer is set to install updates automatically. For more information, see How does Action Center check for problems?

Protect your data from theft, hackers, and accidental loss

BitLocker Drive Encryption encrypts your Windows hard disk to help keep documents, passwords, and other important data safe. Once you turn on BitLocker, any file that you save on that drive is encrypted automatically.

BitLocker Drive Encryption

For more information, see Help protect your files using BitLocker Drive Encryption or Set up your hard disk for BitLocker Drive Encryption.

Windows Firewall can also help protect your computer from hackers and malicious software. With Windows 7, the built-in firewall is more flexible and easier to use than before.

The Microsoft backup system is also improved for Windows 7. Backup and Restore creates copies of your most important files, so you're always prepared for the worst. For more information, see Backup and restore: frequently asked questions.

Defend your computer against viruses, spyware, and other malware

Microsoft Security Essentials is a free download for Windows 7 that helps protect your computer from viruses, spyware, worms, Trojans, and other malware. For more information, see Help protect your PC with Microsoft Security Essentials.

Windows 7 also includes Windows Defender, software that helps protect your computer from pop-up ads, slow performance, and security threats caused by spyware and other unwanted software. For more information, see Using Windows Defender.

Note: In Windows 8, Windows Defender replaces Microsoft Security Essentials. Windows Defender runs in the background and notifies you when you need to take specific action. However, you can use it anytime to scan for malware if your computer isn’t working properly or you clicked a suspicious link online or in an email message.

Learn more about Windows 8

Reduce risk by enhancing security and control

Windows 7 makes it easier and less intrusive to run your computer as a standard user instead of as an administrator. Windows Vista introduced User Account Control, a feature that warned you when a program wanted to make a change on your computer. Windows 7 improves on this feature, which means you’ll get the same level of protection, but with fewer messages than before.

Reduce risk by enhancing security and control

To learn more, see User Account Control.

Help protect your family

Windows Vista included parental controls, but they are new and improved forWindows 7. Now they're more flexible and easier to use. With Parental Controls you can:

  • Prevent your children from playing games you don't want them to play.

  • Keep your children from running specific programs.

  • Set specific time limits on your children's computer use.

With the Parental Controls in Windows Media Center (available in Windows 7 Home Premium and above), you can also block access to objectionable TV shows and movies.