Block Unwanted Programs With Windows Defender

Unwanted programs can wreak havoc on unprotected systems. Malware, viruses, and rootkits are just some of the programs that degrade system security by stealing passwords, transmitting personal information, and taking processing power. In addition, potentially unwanted applications (PUA) are not necessarily threats but have a poor reputation and can perform undesirable actions such as:

  • Installing automatically as part of software bundling
  • Installing unintentionally as part of an ad
  • Installing from programs that detect issues, then request payment for programs that make no improvements also called a “rogue antivirus”

Fortunately, Windows Defender keeps your computer system free from unwanted programs and applications. Here you’ll discover ways to optimize Windows Defender focus settings and keep your system secure from unwarranted programs.

How to Block Unwanted Programs

How to Block Unwanted Programs with Windows Defender

Windows Defender helps defend against unwanted programs such as malware, viruses, and PUAs. For maximum security, your Windows Defender settings must be turned on. Windows Defender provides a firewall, browser control, folder protection, device driver protection, and virus protection.

Turn Virus & Threat Protection On

A computer virus can spread to unprotected systems and may install unwanted programs to execute malicious code. It is best to check that Windows Defender Antivirus is turned on to protect against these threats. The status of your Windows Defender virus protection can easily be verified with a few simple steps.

    1. Open Windows Defender by navigating to Start, search for Windows Defender Security Center and click on Windows Defender.

    1. Click on Virus & threat protection.

  1. If your protection settings are Off, turn On Real-time protection, Cloud-delivered protection, and Automatic sample submission

Protect Your Network with Windows Defender – Make Sure Your Firewall Is On

Windows Defender can also protect your computer from unwanted programs by refusing connections from illegitimate sources. Turning on your firewall is easy:

    1. Open Windows Defender by navigating to Start, search for Windows Defender Security Center and click on Windows Defender.

    1. Click on Firewall & network Protection,

  1. Verify that Domain network, Private network, and Public network are turned on. Each feature can be clicked and turned on for maximum protection.

Turn on Browser Control

Windows Defender can warn against unrecognized browser apps and block unwanted apps from installing. For best system security, make sure App & browser control is turned on. Here’s how:

    1. Open Windows Defender by navigating to start, search for Windows Defender Security Center, and click on Windows Defender.

    1. Click on App & Browser Control.

  1. Check apps and files, SmartScreen for Microsoft Edge, and SmartScreen for Microsoft Store apps is set to Warn or Block

Protect Your Folders with Windows Defender

Additionally, Windows Defender can prevent unwanted programs from making changes to your files. Turn on the Controlled folder access to keep your files protected.

    1. Open Windows Defender by navigating to Start, search for Windows Defender Security Center and click on Windows Defender

    1. Click on Virus & threat protection.

    1. Navigate to Ransomware protection.

    1. Switch Controlled folder access to ON.

  1. Select Protected folder and follow the instructions to add a protected folder.

Protect Your Device Drivers With Windows Defender

Additionally, outdated security updates and drivers can expose your devices to malicious software attacks and vulnerabilities.  Windows Defender can protect your devices, but it would be wise to keep your drivers updated and prevent security vulnerabilities as well. Windows Defender keeps your devices safe with Core Isolation and Secure Boot.

Enable Core Isolation

If available, Core Isolation can isolate malware-ridden computer processes from your devices and system.

    1. To enable core isolation, navigate to Windows Defender by heading to Start and searching for Windows Defender.

    1. Navigate to Device security.

  1. Select Core isolation details.
  2. Slide the memory integrity slider to ON to keep malicious programs away from secure processes.

Enable Secure Boot

Keep in mind that computers can also be vulnerable to the installation of unwanted boot programs. These malware programs, also called rootkits, start before the operating system and effectively bypass logins.

Rootkits can install software that record keystrokes, passwords, and transfers data. It is best to enable Secure Boot to protect against these threats. The status of Windows Defender Secure Boot can easily be verified by the following steps:

    1. Open Windows Defender by navigating to Start and searching for Windows Defender Security Center.

    1. Click on Device Security.


    1. Verify that Secure Boot is switched to ON. If it is Off, the computer bios settings must be changed at start-up. Continue to the next step for how to configure the computer bios.


    1. Navigate to Start and search for Recovery Options.

    1. Under Advanced Startup select Restart now.

    1. Alternatively, at power on you can press F1, F2, F12, or Esc (it depends on the manufacturer of your computer). The Idea is to get to your BIOS menu.

  1. Set Secure Boot to Enabled, which may be located in the Boot, Security or Authentication tabs.

Keep your System Free from Unwanted Software

Windows Defender offers real-time, automatic protection as long as Windows Defender is turned on. Additionally, Windows Defender lets you update and scan whenever you want, making it easy to keep your system up to date.

How Run Windows Defender Scans

Windows Defender allows you to view a history of threats and perform quick scans on the same screen. Here’s how:

    1. Open Windows Defender by navigating to Start, search for Windows Defender Security Center and click on Windows Defender.

    1. Click on Virus & threat protection.

The threat history will show a list of results which include:

  • Unwanted programs currently on your computer
  • Quarantined threats
  • Programs identified as threats that were given permission to run
  • The time of the last scan
    1. Click scan now, or for more options, select Run a new advanced scan.

Now a full, custom, or Windows Defender Offline scan can be run:

  • Full: Scans all files and detects threats
  • Custom: Only scans folders and files that are selected
  • Windows Defender Offline: Scans without being connected to the internet, but the latest definitions will be used

Windows Defender Scans Continued – Scheduling a Scan

Windows Defender automatically schedules scans and can be made to run more frequently and at specific times. Here’s how:

    1. From the Start menu search for Schedule Tasks.

    1. Expand the small arrows (>) on the left pane to navigate to Microsoft > Windows > Windows Defender folder.

    1. On the Right pane scroll to Properties.

    1. Select Triggers then New.

  1. Adjust the time and frequency and click OK.

Keep Windows Defender definitions Updated

In addition to turning on the correct Windows Defender settings, it’s important to have the most up to date security updates. Windows Defender will do its best to keep your computer files and permissions up to date but they can also be manually checked to ensure they are current. Here’s how:

    1. Open Windows Defender by navigating to Start, search for Windows Defender Security Center and click on Windows Defender.

    1. Click on Virus & threat protection.

    1. Click Virus & threat protection updates.

  1. Click Check for updates to download new definitions.

Trust Windows Defender and don’t forget to Update Drivers

Windows Defender can defend your computer from any number of unwanted programs like malware, viruses and other potentially unwanted programs. It is best to keep your system up to date for added security.

Windows Defender can stop incoming threats, but its best to prevent the threat before it even happens. Driver security can fix vulnerabilities that can expose your computer to unwanted software. Never, let a security update go past due and use Driver Support to keep your system up to date.

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