How To Protect your Windows Computer From Viruses


Nasir has had to reinstall the operating system on his computer a number of times because of sudden, noticeable drops in performance due to viruses. He's tired of repeating the same process every couple of months, but just hasn't taken the time to learn about antivirus software. Now he's ready to learn.


Viruses are malicious software that try to get into your email, operating system, or your files. While the effect of unchecked viruses can be devastating, it is actually quite easy to protect your Windows PC or laptop computer from viruses and other threats. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Install antivirus software. Doing so and ensuring it’s up to date will go a long way in protecting your machine against viruses because new viruses appear almost every day. Antivirus software will scan your computer for viruses and update itself automatically.
  • Don’t click on email attachments that you’re not expecting. Many viruses find their way into your PC through files attached to email messages and will spread as soon as you open the email attachment. So, unless you’re expecting an attachment, don’t  open it. If you’d like to read more, please see When to trust an email message
  • Keep your computer updated. Microsoft releases security updates to protect your computer. So you don’t forget to run these updates, set your PC to update automatically – that way you’re always protected, no matter what.. To know how to do it, read Turn automatic updating on or off.


  • Use a firewall.‌ You can use any firewall – it doesn’t have to be Windows Firewall. These will give you alerts about suspicious activity, such as  a virus or worm trying to connect to your computer. But firewalls do more than just warn you – they also block viruses, worms, and hackers from downloading dangerous programs to your computer.

  • Use your browser’s privacy settings. You should familiarise yourself with the ways in which web sites use your private information, in order to combat identity theft and fraud. You can change privacy settings in browsers such as Internet Explorer, or just use the default ones. For more information, take a look at Change Internet Explorer 9 privacy settings.
  • Use a pop-up blocker with your browser. Pop-up windows are small browser windows that appear on top of the website you’re looking at.  Advertisers make most of them, but sometimes they contain unsafe code. Using a pop-up blocker will help prevent some or all of these windows from appearing. The Pop-up Blocker feature in Internet Explorer is turned on by default. To learn more about changing its settings or turning it on and off, see Change Internet Explorer 9 privacy settings.
  • Turn on User Account Control (UAC). To make administrator-level changes to your computer’s settings, UAC will alert you so you can approve that change. It also helps prevent viruses from changing settings without your knowledge. To learn more about turning on UAC and adjusting the settings, see Turn User Account Control on or off.


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Summary steps

  • Avoid clicking on email attachments you are not expecting or from unrecognized sources.