Windows Defender in Windows 7

Before you start

Objectives: Learn where to find and how to configure Windows Defender in Windows 7.

Prerequisites: you should know what is Windows Defender in general.

Key terms: Windows Defender, Windows 7, configuration, options.

 Windows Defender

In Windows 7, Windows Defender is integrated into Action Center, and this enables consistent alerts when certain actions are required related to Windows Defender. We can find Windows Defender in Control Panel, or we can simply search for it using Search in Start menu.

 1 Defender

Windows Defender

First thing we can do is to configure quick scan, full scan or custom scan.

 2 Scan

Scan Options

If we do a custom scan, we can choose the location we want to scan.

 3 Custom Scan

Custom Scan

We can choose to scan certain drives, but also certain folders or USB flash drives. Once the scan is complete we will see the scan statistics. If we choose the quick scan, it will search in important folders only, like the system folder and check certain registry keys.

On the Tools menu we can configure Windows Defender options. We can enable or disable automatic scanning.

 4 Options


By default, our computer will be scanned at 2 AM. We can also choose to check for updated definitions before scanning.

We can also specify other options like default actions, real-time protection, excluded file types, etc. For default actions, we can choose what will happen when certain items are detected. We can choose to remove it or quarantine it or we can leave it to “recommended action based on definitions”.

 5 Default Actions

Default Actions

Real-time protection is enabled by default, but we can choose which security agents we want to run.

 6 Real-time

Real-time Protection Options

We can exclude files and folders from being scanned. We can also exclude files based on file type. There are also some advanced options we can set, like if we want to scan within archive files, e-mails, removable drives. We can also choose if we want to use heuristics and create restore points.

 7 Advanced

Advanced Options

If we go back to the Tools menu, we can see that we can manage quarantined items, and view items that we have allowed.

 8 Tools and Settings

Tools and Settings Menu

In the Quarantined items we will see items that have been recognized as malicious. In the Allowed items we will have items that were recognized as malicious, but the user allowed them, so they are not monitored any more. Sometimes, apps that are legit may seem as malware to Windows Defender, and that’s why we have an option for allowed items.