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Windows 8 : Conquering Viruses and Spyware with Windows Defender (part 3) - Excluding files and folders, Advanced configuration options

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Windows Defender updates

Each virus and malware item that Defender identifies has a definition that specifies its intent, severity, and recommended actions. The definitions are created by human experts who have previously found and analyzed the item. To keep up with threats posed on the Internet and other online locations, Windows Defender definitions are added seemingly every day.

To keep your system as safe as possible, definitions are updated automatically to Windows Defender based on your Windows Update schedule.You can view information about the updates by clicking the Update tab on the Windows Defender window, as shown in Figure 5.

FIGURE 5 Windows Defender update information

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The Update tab includes the date and time when the last definitions were created and the last time you updated your copy of Windows Defender. You also can see the version numbers of the virus and spyware defenders installed on your computer. This information can be helpful for troubleshooting purposes in the future.

If you want to update your definitions manually, click the Update button. Windows Defender searches for and downloads any new virus and spyware definitions.

Excluding files and folders

In some situations, you might want to exclude certain files or folders from being scanned by Windows Defender. For example, if there are folders or files that you know are safe but could take a long time for Windows Defender to scan or could cause problems when scanned, you can exclude them. You can also exclude files based on their file type.

To set folder or file exclusions, follow these steps:

1. Choose the Settings tab on the Windows Defender window.
2. Click the Excluded Files And Locations link and click Browse to select a folder or file.
3. After selecting the files or folders to exclude from scanning, click OK to return to the Settings tab.
4. Click the Add button to add them to the list of files and locations that appear in the lower box of the Settings tab.
5. Repeat the process for any other folders or files you want excluded.
6. When finished, be sure to click the Save Changes button at the bottom of the Settings tab, which will save all your settings.

To exclude files by type, follow these steps:

1. Click the Excluded File Types link on the left side of the Settings tab.
2. Click in the File Extensions text box, type the file extension of the files you want to exclude from scanning, and click Add.
3. For a list of multiple extensions, separate each extension by a semicolon.
4. Click Save Changes to save your changes.

Finally, if certain computer processes take a long time to scan, you can exclude them from the Windows Defender scans. To do this:

1. Click the Excluded Processes on the left side of the Settings tab and click Browse to select the processes to exclude.
2. Click OK and then Add to add them to your list of excluded processes.
3. Repeat as needed.
4. Be sure to click Save Changes when your list is completed.

Advanced configuration options

If you click Advanced on the Settings tab, you see the Advanced options shown in Figure 6. These options include the following:

FIGURE 6 Advanced Defender configuration options

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  • Scan Archive Files: Scan inside archive files such as ZIP and CAB files for malware.
  • Scan Removable Drives: Scan USB and other removable media for malware.
  • Create Restore Point: Create a Windows Restore Point prior to applying actions to detected items to enable you to roll back Windows to its previous state.
  • Allow All Users To View The Full History Results: Enables all users to view the history of all detected files on the computer.
  • Remove Quarantine Files After: Specifies the length of time that quarantined files remain on the systems. The default is 1 month, but you have the choices of 1 to 4 days, 1 to 2 weeks, or 1 to 3 months.

Joining MAPS

Microsoft Active Protection Service (MAPS) is a service that collects information about your system and any detected malware and sends that information to Microsoft. Microsoft uses that information to create new definitions to combat malicious software on your computer and others that use Windows Defender. To join MAPS:

1. Click the Microsoft Active Protection Service link on the left side of the Settings tab. You have the following choices:
  • I Don’t Want to Join Maps: Use this option to opt out of sending information to MAPS. This will not keep you from getting updated Windows Defender definitions, but threats found on your computer will not be shared to the MAPS system.
  • Basic Membership: Sends information such as where the malicious software came from and any actions your system takes to automatically remove that threat.
  • Advanced Membership: Sends basic information (see above), as well as more specific information such as the software’s impact, the location of the software on your computer, the software’s file name, and actions that the software takes on your computer.
2. Click Save Changes to save your changes.

 
Others
 
- Windows 8 : Conquering Viruses and Spyware with Windows Defender (part 2) - Performing a custom scan, Preventing malicious software using real-time scanning
- Windows 8 : Conquering Viruses and Spyware with Windows Defender (part 1) - Removing malicious software from your computer
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