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article imageMicrosoft unveils new Windows Security Center to protect your PC

By James Walker     Jan 24, 2017 in Technology
Microsoft has announced a new Windows utility that gives you an at-a-glance overview of your computer's health and security. The Windows Defender Security Center can manage third-party antivirus software as well as Windows' built-in protection.
Microsoft introduced the new experience in a blog post this week. Available to Windows Insiders today, it will launch publicly with the Windows 10 Creators Update this spring.
The Security Center is being built around five "pillars" of device security and online safety. Combined, it's meant to be one place to visit to check your PC has adequate protection and is keeping your data secure.
Windows Defender can monitor your computer to check you have functioning antivirus software installed. This works for third-party products as well as Microsoft's own Windows Defender. If the Security Center detects there's nothing installed or a third-party license has expired, it will automatically enable Windows Defender. This feature may annoy some customers but could protect unaware home users.
The Security Center can also help you monitor your device's performance and general health. It will flag up driver issues, ways to free up storage space, battery life problems and pending Windows updates so you can take action. Previously, these options were spread throughout the Settings app, separated into various categories.
Security Center's other pillars are firewall and network protection, app and browser control and family options. These allow you to check your network and firewall settings, adjust Windows SmartScreen options to alert you to potentially malicious websites and set up parental controls that keep your children safe online respectively.
The tools are presented in a single highly visual dashboard view. For less technically savvy users, this new consolidated security hub could make it significantly easier to manage PCs. It's like a modernised version of the Action Center security centre in Windows 7 and 8. It was removed from Windows 10 and its name used for the new notification pane.
"Our goal with the new Windows Defender Security Center is to help you become more informed and make safety simple," said Microsoft. "It is equally important to us that you are protected by default and continuously protected – never giving the bad guys an opportunity to harm you."
Seeking to allay any fears that the naming could indicate Windows Defender being forced onto future PCs, Microsoft also stressed the new experience "respects your freedom to choose protection software." Security Center is meant to amalgamate the security options installed on your PC into a single destination, rather than define the settings you choose.
Nevertheless, the automatic enabling of Windows Defender and potential for Microsoft to more heavily promote its software may not sit well with all users. Microsoft's rivals are also complaining about its new focus on Defender. Last year, popular antivirus provider Kaspersky Labs filed official complaints against Microsoft, alleging the company is sabotaging third-party software to aid Defender's growth.
More about Microsoft, Windows, windows 10, windows defender, Cybersecurity
 
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