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The latest version of Microsoft Windows operating system, Windows 7, is one of the most efficient computer operating systems available today. It’s not only user-friendly, but also secure in many respects. Although it has user interface elements very similar to Windows Vista, Windows 7 has much better security in place. In this article, let’s analyze these security features in detail.
The security features of Windows 7 are broken down into six categories—Windows Firewall, Windows Defender, User Account Control, BitLocker, Parental Controls, and Backup and Restore. We will check out more about each of these features.
Do viruses, computer worms, hackers, adware, spyware, or any other kind of threat affect your PC? Windows Firewall can protect it. Windows Firewall in Windows 7 is more user-friendly than that in Windows Vista. Windows 7 Firewall supports three network profiles—Home, Work, and Public. Each of them is suited for a specific need. For instance, if your computer is connected to a public network, such as a Wi-Fi hotspot, you may want to activate the Public network profile. This filters out any incoming connection that can be a security threat. In the same way, if you are connected to a work environment, you may want to allow trusted connections, which can be done through the Work network profile.
You are familiar with Windows Defender from Vista itself. This program defends your system from all sorts of malware. Windows 7 has a version of Defender, much simpler and easier to use than that in Windows Vista. In Windows 7, Defender is part of Action Center, a utility that reports important system events. This version of Defender has simpler notifications and more scanning options. Also, the resource consumption is much better. There is a new feature, ‘Clean System’ that helps you remove all the unwanted programs with a single click.
User Account Control (UAC)
This feature, first introduced in Vista, notifies you of any activity instigated by any program in the system that requires the system administrator’s permission. When this happens, UAC notifies you with a dialog box seeking administrator login details. If you are the system administrator, you can click ‘Yes’ in the dialog box, and the system will elevate your level of access. Otherwise, you need to contact the system administrator and get him to do the task for you. However, soon after the task is finished, the permission level will be reverted back to a standard user’s.
UAC’s dialog box has different notification icons that indicate the type of task you are about to do.
BitLocker & BitLocker To Go
BitLocker is a data encryption tool available in Windows Vista and Windows 7. However, the tool is part of only the Ultimate edition of Windows 7. This tool helps you protect important information on your system by encrypting it with something called a virtual lock. You can lock down your entire hard disk with this utility. Once enabled, the utility automatically encrypts any new file that is saved into your hard disk.
With Windows 7, the tool is much improved, and there is another option called BitLocker To Go that helps encrypt portable storage devices, such as external hard drives and USB drives.
If you have kids at home using your PC, Parental Controls is something you cannot forget about. You may want to check how your kids are using the system. With Parental Controls tool, you can easily monitor their activities on the PC. It is possible for you to limit the computer use of kids to specific times, and have them not play damaging games.
Backup and Restore
Backup and Restore is a great tool provided with all versions of Windows. It insures you against any data loss that can be caused by system malfunctions. With this tool, you can back up all your important data into external hard drives or optical drives. Also, you can use the scheduling option in Backup and Restore that automates the backup process so that you don’t have to worry about it at all. With Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate editions, you can even back up files to network locations.
As you can see, Windows 7 comes with loads of security features. The good news is that most of these features can work in tandem with any third-party security tool you want to install into your computer. Windows 7 is much more feature-rich and secure than older versions of Windows. If you learn to use all these security features properly, you don’t have to worry about your system at all.