Home > Articles > Certification > Microsoft Certification

MCTS Exam Cram: Configuring Windows Firewall and Windows Defender

This chapter focuses on sharing files so users can access files from a Windows 7 computer over the network safely and securely.
This chapter is from the book

In today's world, there is often a need for users to share data with other users. This chapter focuses on sharing files so those users can access files from a Windows 7 computer over the network and how to control such access so that it remains secure.

Spyware and Windows Defender

  • Configure Windows Firewall

Spyware is a common threat to computers that can cause problems similar to a virus. Spyware (including adware) programs are malware that can be installed on computers, and they collect little bits of information at a time about a user without his or her knowledge. Some machines are infected with spyware when the spyware is bundled with other software, often without the user's knowledge. Sometimes spyware software might be added and the only notification the user gets is specified in the fine print of an End User License Agreement (EULA), which is usually a long document written with lots of legal jargon and is not read by most users. Spyware can also be picked up by simply visiting various websites because it is often hidden as ActiveX controls.

After it's installed, the spyware can monitor user activity on the Internet and transmit information such as email addresses, passwords, and credit card numbers without the user's knowledge. This information can be used for advertising or marketing purposes, to give the information to other parties, or to use the information for illegal purposes. Spyware can do the following:

  • Generate annoying pop-ups
  • Monitor keystrokes
  • Scan files on the hard drive
  • Snoop other applications such as chat programs or word processors
  • Install other spyware programs
  • Read cookies
  • Change the default home page on a web browser to other links or default pages
  • Open your computer to be accessed by others

Spyware can also use network bandwidth and computer memory and can lead to system crashes or general system instability.

To reduce your chances of being affected by spyware, you should

  • Use a good antivirus package such as Norton AntiVirus, McAfee ViruScan, or Microsoft Security Essentials.
  • Use spyware detection and removal programs such as Windows Defender if the detection/removal capabilities are not included in the antivirus software.
  • Be sure that your machine has all security patches and fixes loaded.
  • Install software only from sources and websites you trust.
  • Be careful what software you install on your system. Be sure to read the EULA for any piece of shareware or file sharing package you plan on installing.
  • Keep your web browser security settings at medium or higher.
  • Install or enable a personal firewall such as Windows Firewall that is included with Windows 7.
  • Use pop-up blockers.

Windows Defender, included with Windows 7, helps users detect and remove known spyware and other potential unwanted software. Windows Defender protects your computer with automated and real-time scanning and software removal.

Because spyware and other potentially unwanted software can try to install itself on your computer any time you connect to the Internet or when you install programs, it is recommended that you have Windows Defender running whenever you are using your computer.

Windows Defender offers three ways to help keep spyware and other potentially unwanted software from infecting your computer:

  • Real-time protection: When it runs in the background, Windows Defender alerts you when spyware or potentially unwanted software attempts to install itself or to run on your computer. It also alerts you when programs attempt to change important Windows settings.
  • Scanning options: You can use Windows Defender to actively scan your disks for spyware and other potentially unwanted software that might be installed on your computer and to automatically remove any malicious software that is detected during a scan as demonstrated in Figure 7.1. You can set up Windows Defender to scan automatically according to a schedule, or you can run it manually.
    Figure 7.1

    Figure 7.1 Windows Defender.

  • SpyNet community: The online Microsoft SpyNet community helps you see how other people respond to software that has not yet been classified for risks.

You can also use Windows Defender to constantly monitor your system, which offers your system real-time protection. The real-time protection uses nine security agents to monitor the critical areas of your computer that spyware might attack. When an agent detects potential spyware activity, it stops the activity and raises an alert. The agents include

  • Microsoft Internet Explorer Configuration: Monitors browser security settings.
  • Internet Explorer Downloads: Monitors applications that work with Internet Explorer, such as ActiveX controls and software installation applications.
  • Internet Explorer Add-ons (Browser Helper Objects): Monitors applications that automatically run when you start Internet Explorer.
  • Auto Start: Monitors the list of applications that starts when Windows starts.
  • System Configuration: Monitors security-related settings in Windows.
  • Services and Drivers: Monitors services and drivers as they interact with Windows and applications.
  • Windows Add-ons: Monitors software utilities that integrate with Windows.
  • Application Execution: Monitors applications when they start and throughout their execution.
  • Application Registration (API Hooks): Monitors files and tools in the operating system where applications can insert themselves to run.

Windows Defender includes automatic scanning options to provide regular spyware scanning in addition to on-demand scanning options. The scan options include

  • Quick Scan: A quick scan checks areas on a hard disk that spyware is most likely to infect.
  • Full Scan: A full scan checks all critical areas, including all files, the registry, and all currently running applications.
  • Custom Scan: A custom scan enables users to scan specific drives and folders.

When you perform a scan, you can configure what Windows Defender does when it identifies unwanted software, as shown in Figure 7.2. The actions include

  • Recommended action based on definition: Windows Defender performs an action based on what is in the definition.
  • Quarantine: Windows Defender places identified unwanted software in a quarantine or isolated holding folder. You can check the item before removing it from the system.
  • Remove: Windows Defender removes the item from the system.
  • Allow: Windows Defender does not take any action.
Figure 7.2

Figure 7.2 Configuring Windows Defender options.

To prevent Windows Defender from automatically taking the recommended action, such as quarantining or removing software detected during a scan, you need to clear Apply recommended actions located at the bottom of the Options screen. As a result, Windows defender recommends an action to take for detected malicious software.

Similar to antivirus software, Windows Defender uses a definition database that lists and details and characteristics of known spyware. Also similar to antivirus software, the definition database becomes out of date as new spyware is introduced. Therefore, you must update the database regularly for it to be effective.

To turn Windows Defender on or off, do the following:

  1. Open Windows Defender, open a search box and type in Windows Defender, and press Enter.
  2. Click Tools and then click Options.
  3. Under Administrator options, select or clear the Use this program checkbox and then click Save. If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

To turn Windows Defender real-time protection on or off, follow these steps:

  1. Open Windows Defender.
  2. Click Tools and then click Options.
  3. Under Real-time protection options, as shown in Figure 7.3, select the Use real-time protection (recommended) checkbox.
    Figure 7.3

    Figure 7.3 Configuring Windows Defender real-time protection.

  4. Select the options you want. To help protect your privacy and your computer, you should select all real-time protection options.
  5. Under Choose if Windows Defender should notify you about, select the options you want and then click Save. If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

If you trust software that Windows Defender has detected, you can stop Windows Defender from alerting you to risks that the software might pose to your privacy or your computer. To stop being alerted, you need to add the software to the Windows Defender allowed list. If you decide that you want to monitor the software again later, you can remove it from the Windows Defender allowed list at any time.

To add an item to the allowed list, the next time Windows Defender alerts you about the software, click Always Allow on the Action menu in the Alert dialog box. If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

To remove an item from the allowed list, do the following:

  1. Open Windows Defender.
  2. Click Tools and then click Allowed items.
  3. Select the item that you want to monitor again, and then click Remove from List. If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

Cram Quiz

  1. What do you call a type of malware that can monitor user activity on the Internet and transmit information such as email addresses, passwords, and credit card numbers without the user's knowledge?













  2. When you find unwanted software, what do you call it when the unwanted software is placed in an isolated holding folder?



    Quick scan






    Recycle Bin




Cram Quiz Answers

  1. A is correct. Spyware is a common threat to computers that can cause problems similar to a virus. Some of the symptoms include generating annoying pop-ups, monitoring keystrokes, scanning files on hard drives, and transmitting confidential information. Answer B is incorrect because a worm is a form of malware that replicates and consumes valuable resources including bandwidth. Answer C is incorrect because a cookie is a text file used to remember settings when visiting a website. Answer D is incorrect because a EULA is the End User License Agreement.
  2. B is correct. You can have Windows Defender place possible unwanted software into a quarantine folder so that it can be reviewed to determine if it is malware. Answer A is incorrect because a quick scan is a type of scan that is used by Windows Defender to verify key areas where spyware is most likely found. Answer C is incorrect because the Recycle Bin is a temporary holding area where deleted objects are stored. Answer D is incorrect because a cookie is a text file used to remember settings when visiting a website.

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020