The big Creators Update is set to arrive in April, and when it does, Windows 10 will make it far easier to keep your PC free from malware with the introduction of a new Windows Defender Security Center.
The broad idea is that instead of burying various security options here and there in different parts of Settings (or indeed elsewhere), all the key security stuff will be brought under a single hub so you can swiftly find and change things – and spot potential hazards being flagged up more easily, too.
The Security Center hub will be divided into five main sections, each of which has the usual green tick to let you know everything is okay, or a red cross if something is amiss.
The first section provides an overview of your antivirus software and its status. If you’re using Windows Defender in the battle against malware, summarized scan results will appear here, but equally it can be hooked up to any third-party antivirus solution – allowing you to launch that security app directly from the center.
Next up is Device Performance and Health which lets you know if any drivers are outdated, or if any Windows updates are missing – along with details like storage capacity (performance can be impacted if you’ve hardly got any drive space left), and battery life for laptops.
Firewalls and families
The third section is Firewall and Network Protection which displays the status of your firewall and network, obviously enough, providing links to network troubleshooting pages should anything go wrong with the latter.
Then there’s App and Browser Control which offers a quick way to tweak SmartScreen settings for your web browser (and apps).
And finally, Family Options gathers together the operating system’s parental control facilities, allowing you to access reports of your kids’ online activities, set controls for purchasing apps, or time limits on computer usage. Plus the health and safety levels of all the family’s devices can be monitored from here.
In its own words, Microsoft hopes that this new hub will ‘make safety simple’ when it comes to your PC. There will also be some automated security features, so for example if the subscription to the third-party antivirus software you’re using expires, Windows Defender will switch itself on to cover security duties while you sort things out.
In its blog post introducing the new Security Center, Microsoft words all the bits about Windows Defender carefully, insisting that “Windows 10 respects your freedom to choose protection software and services that you like best” – which isn’t surprising given some of the flak fired at the company late last year, accusing it of unfairly pushing its own antivirus product.
If you want to get a taste of the new Windows Defender Security Center, it’s actually in place in the latest preview build of Windows 10 – head to the Start menu and look under All Apps (it’s not fully operational yet, though, with work still to be done).