Action Center manages firewall settings, Windows Update, anti-malware software settings, Internet security, and User Account control settings. Action Center also monitors computer maintenance settings and provides links to troubleshooters and other tools that can help fix problems.
Use a firewall
A firewall is software or hardware that checks information coming from the Internet or a network and then either turns it away or allows it to pass through to your computer, depending on your firewall settings. In this way, a firewall helps prevent hackers and malicious software from gaining access to your computer.
Windows Firewall is built into Windows and is turned on automatically.
If you run a program such as an instant messaging program or a multiplayer network game that needs to receive information from the Internet or a network, the firewall asks if you want to block or unblock (allow) the connection. If you choose to unblock the connection, Windows Firewall creates an exception so that the firewall won't bother you when that program needs to receive information in the future.
Use virus protection
Viruses, worms, and Trojan horses are programs created by hackers that use the Internet to infect vulnerable computers. Viruses and worms can replicate themselves from computer to computer, while Trojan horses enter a computer by hiding inside an apparently legitimate program, such as a screen saver. Destructive viruses, worms, and Trojan horses can erase information from your hard disk or completely disable your computer. Others don't cause direct damage, but worsen your computer's performance and stability.
Antivirus programs scan e‑mail and other files on your computer for viruses, worms, and Trojan horses. If one is found, the antivirus program either quarantines (isolates) it or deletes it entirely before it damages your computer and files.
Windows does not have a built-in antivirus program, but your computer manufacturer might have installed one. If not, go to the Windows 7 security software providers website to find an antivirus program.
Because new viruses are identified every day, it's important to select an antivirus program with an automatic update capability. When the antivirus software is updated, it adds new viruses to its list of viruses to check for, helping to protect your computer from new attacks. If the list of viruses is out of date, your computer is vulnerable to new threats. Updates usually require an annual subscription fee. Keep the subscription current to receive regular updates.
If you do not use antivirus software, you expose your computer to damage from malicious software. You also run the risk of spreading viruses to other computers.
Use spyware protection
Spyware is software that can display advertisements, collect information about you, or change settings on your computer, generally without appropriately obtaining your consent. For example, spyware can install unwanted toolbars, links, or favorites in your web browser, change your default home page, or display pop-up ads frequently. Some spyware displays no symptoms that you can detect, but it secretly collects sensitive information, such as the websites you visit or the text you type. Most spyware is installed through free software that you download, but in some cases simply visiting a website results in a spyware infection.
To help protect your computer from spyware, use an antispyware program. This version of Windows has a built-in antispyware program called Windows Defender, which is turned on by default. Windows Defender alerts you when spyware tries to install itself on your computer. It also can scan your computer for existing spyware and then remove it.
Because new spyware appears every day, Windows Defender must be regularly updated to detect and guard against the latest spyware threats. Windows Defender is updated as needed whenever you update Windows. For the highest level of protection, set Windows to install updates automatically.
Update Windows automatically
Microsoft regularly offers important updates to Windows that can help protect your computer against new viruses and other security threats. To ensure that you receive these updates as quickly as possible, turn on automatic updating. That way, you don't have to worry that critical fixes for Windows might be missing from your computer.
Updates are downloaded behind the scenes when you're connected to the Internet. The updates are installed at 3:00 A.M. unless you specify a different time. If you turn off your computer before then, you can install updates before shutting down. Otherwise, Windows will install them the next time you start your computer.
To turn on automatic updating
Open Windows Update. (Control Panel, Windows Update)
Click Change settings.
Make sure Install updates automatically (recommended) is selected. Windows will install important updates for your computer as they become available. Important updates provide significant benefits, such as improved security and reliability.
Under Recommended updates, make sure the Give me recommended updates the same way I receive important updates check box is selected, and then click OK. Recommended updates can address non-critical problems and help enhance your computing experience. If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.