How-ToTech

The Essential Windows 11 Security Checklist to Keep Your Computer Safe

Although Windows 11 does a good job at keeping your device secure by default, there are extra steps you can take to ensure it remains protected. From setting a strong password to scheduling Windows updates, these measures can help to prevent dangerous or malicious software from ruining your system.

Whether you’ve just purchased a new Windows 11 computer or have been using the operating system for a while, you’re bound to learn something new with our security checklist.

FREE DOWNLOAD: This cheat sheet is available as a downloadable PDF from our distribution partner, TradePub. You will have to complete a short form to access it for the first time only. Download the Windows 11 Security Checklist Cheat Sheet.

Windows 11 Security Checklist

# Tip
General Security Tips
1 Avoid downloading files from unknown or untrustworthy sources to avoid potential malware on your device.
2 Do not connect unknown USBs or other devices to your computer.
3 Depending on your email provider, you can set up spam filters to protect against phishing threats and avoid malware that’s attached to emails.
Anti-Virus
4 It’s important to run a malware scan to ensure there is no presence of dangerous malware on your computer. To do this, navigate to Settings > Privacy & Security > Windows Security > Virus & threat protection. The majority of these processes should automatically run in the background, but you can check them here.
5 In Virus & threat protection, you can click on Scan options to run different types of scans on your device. Quick scan is recommended for your usual scheduled scans and will look at the locations where malware could be hidden that could affect starting your device. A full scan takes much longer but performs a deep scan of your device including archived files, network drives, and more.
6 To ensure your device is protected at all times, toggle Real-time protection on in the Virus & threat protection settings menu. This will locate any malware on your device and stop it from installing.
7 Your device should automatically download the latest security intelligence to keep your device protected. However, you can manually check for updates by going to Virus & protection settings > Protection updates.
8 In addition to virus protection, you can also enable ransomware protection on your device in the Virus & protection settings > Ransomware protection menu. Toggle on to allow controlled folder access.
9 If an item that you know is 100% safe gets flagged by Windows Defender as a threat, you can allow some threats through. You can do this via Virus & protection settings > Allowed threats.
10 Since Windows Defender comes as part of Windows 11, there is no need to install any third-party anti-virus software. If you do install third-party software, it could cause conflicts and cause Windows Defender to stop working, which is counterproductive.
Sign-In
11 Ensure you have enabled the right way to sign in on your selected computer by going to Settings > Accounts > Sign-in options. From here you can enable different ways to sign in depending on the type of computer you’re using.
12 Ensure your PC is secure and locked while you’re away from the screen via Settings > Accounts > Sign-in options. Under Additional settings you can choose to dynamically lock your device automatically.
13 If multiple people are using the same Windows 11 device, you can add multiple Microsoft accounts to sign in with. Go to Settings > Accounts > Family & other users then click on Add other user > Add account.
14 If you use your device in a public place, it’s sensible to add an account sign-in password. You can set a password via Accounts > Password. A strong password contains a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols, and shouldn’t be easy to guess (like your mother’s maiden name, child’s name, or street you live on).
Activity and Permissions
15 To check which devices are linked to your account and to make sure no unauthorized devices appear, navigate to Settings > Privacy & Security > Find my device and select the option to see all your devices.
16 By default, your device will store your activity history, such as the websites you browse and how you use apps and services. To stop storing your activity, you can do this in Settings > Privacy & Security > Activity history.
17 Windows Search uses the web and various apps to give you relevant results on your device. You can filter out specific content by going to Settings > Privacy & Security > Search permissions. Here you can set SafeSearch to Strict, Moderate, or Off.
18 Certain apps require permission to access information like your location, camera, microphone, etc. To see which apps use these, navigate to Settings > Privacy & Security > App permissions. You can click on each category to toggle on/off access.
19 If you’re worried about losing your Windows laptop or tablet, you can save your device’s location in order to find it again. Go to Settings > Privacy & Security > Find my device to toggle the option on/off.
20 Don’t want to see personalized apps or allow Windows access to your data? Turn these options off by going to Settings > Privacy & Security > General.
Threat Prevention
21 Keep Windows 11 up to date to ensure your PC has the latest security updates. Navigate to Settings > Windows Update to check to see if there are any updates available to download and install.
22 Enable Windows 11’s built-in security tools by navigating to Settings > Privacy & Security > Windows Security. If you don’t have any third-party software installed, this is a necessary step to securing your computer.
23 To protect your device from potential online threats, it’s worth looking at a firewall. Windows 11 includes one and it can be activated via Settings > Privacy & Security > Windows Security > Firewall & network protection.
24 If you have the Pro or Enterprise version of Windows 11, you can enable BitLocker, a feature that encrypts your device. If you were to lose your Windows 11 device, BitLocker protects the operating system and files so no one else can access them. You can activate this via Settings > Privacy & Security > Device encryption > BitLocker drive encryption.

Be Security Savvy on Windows

Being aware of the extra settings on Windows 11 can make the difference between a secure or vulnerable device. It’s easy to be security savvy when you know what you’re looking for. Use our guide to help your friends and family too!


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