Activate these 3 Windows settings to easily improve security

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These days, it seems like there are still a ton of security issues in Windows. PrintNightmare, malware, spyware, and viruses are just a few examples.

So how do you protect yourself? Investing in antivirus software is an obvious answer, but there are also tools built into Windows 10 (and the upcoming Windows 11) that can help you improve your system’s security. We have put together a list of these tools below.

Enable Windows Security ransomware protection

We started our article by mentioning the need for antivirus software, but Windows has its own built-in. Known as “Windows Security,” this built-in virus protection receives daily and weekly definition updates from Microsoft and can provide decent protection against threats. It’s not as in-depth as a paid antivirus program, but it gets the job done, according to most experts. So if you aren’t using it, or you haven’t turned it on and you don’t have an antivirus, give it a try!

There is a setting in Windows security that you might want to enable. The app has a ransomware protection feature which is usually disabled by default. You can find it under the Vvirus and threat protection app section. You will want to activate Controlled access to files, so that you can protect the files, folders and memory areas of your device from access by authorized programs and applications.

This does not completely prevent ransomware from infecting your PC, but it does help any potential ransomware to gain access to the folders you have pre-designated. This can ensure that in the event that ransomware hijacks your system, you will still have access to critical files and will not lose files if the ransomware becomes even more malicious.

Enable Windows Sandbox

Windows Sandbox running on Windows 10.
Arif Bacchus / Digital trends

Then another security tool built into Windows 10 and Windows 11 Pro. Known as Windows Sandbox, it allows you to open a virtualized and confined version of Windows 10 and Windows 11 on your existing system.

It is a good habit to use Windows Sandbox when you want to visit potentially dangerous websites or try unknown applications before running them on your real PC. This is because Windows Sandbox sessions run like a virtual machine and do not have access to your main drives or files.

We have a detailed guide on how to activate Windows Sandbox. Basically, you can enable Windows Sandbox by checking if your PC supports virtualization. If so, make sure it is enabled in BIOS. You’ll also need to be running Windows 10 Pro to use Windows Sandbox, so check that as well. If you’re not on Windows 10 Pro, upgrade through the Microsoft Store. After that you can head to the Windows Control Panel, search for Activate or deactivate Windows functions, and scroll down and activate Windows Sandbox.

You will need to restart your PC, and once you do, you can search for Windows sandbox in the list of applications and run it as a regular application. You will have a desktop, a taskbar and a virtual drive. You will be able to explore virtual space and try unknown applications without endangering the security of your PC.

Use Windows Bitlocker

Bitlocker settings in Windows 11

Last on our list is Windows Bitlocker. This is a feature built into Windows 10 Pro, and it’s very useful in helping you protect your files. As the name suggests, Bitlocker integrates with the operating system and encrypts your primary “C” drive to ensure that no one can access your data or erase your PC if it is lost or stolen.

Bitlocker works with your PC’s TPM chip and creates a “recovery key” linked to your Microsoft account. So when you start your computer, you will need a PIN or “key” to access the Windows 10 reset or restore screen. However, this feature is also only available in Windows. 10 Pro and not in Windows 10 Home.

Usually, Bitlocker is enabled by default. If it is not enabled, you can search for it in the Start menu and choose Manage Bitlocker to manage and configure the feature.

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