3 easy steps to secure your PC for free

Windows Firewall, Windows Update, Microsoft Security Essentials

Many people these days assume their PC is safe just because they are subscribed to a free or paid anti-virus. And often, most of them don't take advantage of some important built-in Windows features. This article lists three super-simple steps to ensure your Windows 7 PC is protected.

  1. Turn on Windows Firewall

    Microsoft started shipping Windows with a built-in firewall starting from XP. Windows Firewall is always on by default unless you or some other program has turned it off. Windows Firewall secures your PC from viruses, spyware and unauthorized access.

    To turn on Windows Firewall:
    • Open Control Panel from the Start Menu
    • Go to System and Security, then Windows Firewall
    • Click Turn Windows Firewall on or off in the sidebar
    • Select Turn on Windows Firewall for both private and public networks and click OK
  2. Turn on Windows Update

    Microsoft pushes its latest security patches and important updates through Windows Update at regular intervals. Yet, many people have the updates turned off. The most common excuse I get to hear is "I have turned them off because the updates make my PC slow". The truth is that by turning the updates on, you also get performance improvement upgrades which help keep your PC running smooth and fast.

    To turn on Windows Update:
    • Open Control Panel from the Start Menu
    • Go to System and Security, then Windows Update
    • Click Change settings in the sidebar
    • Select Install updates automatically from the list and click OK
  3. Install Microsoft Security Essentials

    Microsoft Security Essentials is a free anti-virus that offers real-time protection against virus, spyware and malware attacks. First released back in September 2009, it has a far lower resource usage compared to other anti-virus software, which makes it fast and doesn't hamper the performance of your PC. Visit windows.microsoft.com/mse for more details and the download link.

    Note: This article assumes that you have a genuine copy of Windows and are logged on as an administrator.

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