Implementing Security in Windows 7 : Understanding Windows 7 Security

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Before getting to the details of securing your PC, it helps to take a step back and look at the security and privacy tools that Windows 7 makes available.

These tools include your user account password, Windows 7's User Account Control and Parental Controls features, the Windows Firewall, the Windows Defender programs, and the anti-phishing and anti-spam features of Internet Explorer and Windows Live Mail.

User Account Password

Windows 7 security begins with assigning a password to each user account on the computer. This prevents unauthorized users from accessing the system, and it enables you to lock your computer. See "Protect an Account with a Password" and "Lock Your Computer," later in this chapter.

User Account Control

User Account Control asks you to confirm certain actions that could conceivably harm your system. If you have an administrator account, you click Yes to continue; if you have a standard account, you must enter an administrator's user name and password to continue.

Parental Controls

If one or more children use your computer, you can use Windows 7's Parental Controls to protect those children from inadvertently running certain programs, playing unsuitable games, and using the computer at inappropriate times. See "Set Up Parental Controls," later in this chapter.

Windows Firewall

Because when your computer is connected to the Internet, it is possible for another person on the Internet to access your computer and infect it with a virus or cause other damage, Windows 7 comes with its Windows Firewall feature turned on. This prevents intruders from accessing your computer while you are online.

Windows Defender

Spyware is a software program that installs on your computer without your knowledge or consent. This program surreptitiously gathers data from your computer, steals your passwords, displays advertisements, and hijacks your Web browser. To prevent spyware from installing on your computer, Windows 7 includes the Windows Defender program.


Phishing refers to e-mail messages or Web sites that appear to come from legitimate businesses and organizations, but actually come from a scam artist. The purpose of the message or site is to fool you into divulging personal or private data, such as passwords and credit card numbers. Internet Explorer and Windows Live Mail come with anti-phishing features to help prevent this.

Junk E-mail

Junk e-mail — or spam — refers to unsolicited, commercial e-mail messages that advertise anything from baldness cures to cheap printer cartridges. Many spams advertise deals that are simply fraudulent, and others feature such unsavory practices as linking to adult-oriented sites, and sites that install spyware. Windows Live Mail comes with a junk e-mail filter; see "Set the Junk E-mail Protection Level," later in this chapter.

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