Windows computers come with an integrated tool to guard against viruses and malware. It’s known as Microsoft Defender, or Windows Security and offers a unified experience to manage security, firewall and antivirus features. It also helps you monitor the health of your device and protects your data through password management and hardware encryption. Third-party antivirus software disables the Microsoft Defender Antivirus Engine, however, it does not affect Windows Security.

One of the most significant features of Windows Security is Microsoft Defender’s real-time security. It scans your entire system and blocks malicious software in real-time. It also allows you to identify and restore malicious applications that were incorrectly blocked. It’s important to know that the Microsoft Defender scanner relies on online and cloud-based malware definitions. This can make it lag behind paid competitors in malware and virus detection rates in certain cases.

Other settings you can access through Windows Security include User Account Control that warns you whenever someone or something attempts to change the system-level settings, locking the screen until an administrator can confirm the change. It also lets you determine how often the center will run a background check and check for updates.

You can also create backups of important files from the Microsoft OneDrive folder using Windows Security as well as use it to safely erase your hard drive and start fresh. It’s a great way to safeguard your computer’s operating systems as well as personal information.