Improve Windows Vista Security: Tips and Tricks

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A user expects plenty of protection from the moment Vista is installed. But we cannot say that Vista is perfect as there is still no built-in anti-virus and there are some other flaws which can be mended by using third-party software. But the key to a strong defense is to know how to get the most from Vista’s built-in security tools, and knowing what their limitations are so that we can find a proper replacement from other sources. Keeping this in mind, here are few clever tips to improve your Vista PC’s protection.

Tip 1 Enabling Windows Updates

Keeping up-to-date with the latest security fixtures is a vital part of staying safe. Vista includes a tool called Windows Update for this purpose and it should be turned ON to look for updates automatically when you first lay your hands to your new system installed with Vista. Windows update also checks for updates for other Microsoft software. To turn ON Windows Update, go to the Control Panel and click on Check for updates under the Security section. Follow the instructions to download any available updates and then click on the Change Settings link. Select install updates automatically to allow Windows to download Updates automatically without disturbing you. Select the bot­tom option Use Microsoft Update to include other Microsoft software when looking for updates. You may need to click on Continue or enter your password for User Account Control (UAC).

Tip 2 Finding Updates for Non-Microsoft Applications

As stated above, checking for updates for Microsoft applications is automatic, but what about soft­ware from non-Microsoft sources, such as Nero, Adobe or Java? Some applications might have built-in update managers whereas others don’t. But you don’t have to worry as there is a useful utility called Secunia PSI that scans the software installed on your computer and compares it with a list of latest ver­sions. Secunia does not download any updates itself although it does include links to update pages on the Internet for some software. It runs in the Notification Area all the times and will periodically display reminders when software needs updating.

Tip 3 Setting up Windows Firewall

Windows Firewall has always been an easy target for users who blame it for slowing down their PC. However, it plays an important role in protecting the user from unwanted online communication. It is active as soon as Windows boots and it will block all inbound internet communication until Windows Update has done its checks.

The first time you connect to a network, you must choose a proper network location for Windows Firewall. There are three types of network locations; Home network, Work network, and Public network. Choosing a correct network location ensures that your computer is always set to an appropriate security level. Set your firewall to a public network. A Public place network is a location that keeps your PC from being visible to other computers around you and to help protect your computer from any malicious software from the Internet.

One thing to keep in mind is that you be sure to use the computer as an ordinary user and not as an Administrator. This helps to block malware and reduces the risk of anyone changing your important settings.

This post is part of the series: Security tips in Windows Vista

This series covers a brief description of vital security flaws in Windows Vista and some clever tips to enhance the security of your PC.

  1. Simple Steps to Improve Security in Windows Vista – Part 1
  2. Simple Steps to Improve Security in Windows Vista – Part 2