Windows Settings That Dramatically Increase Your PC's Security

6 Windows Security Settings You Should Set Up In 2021

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Last Updated on September 12, 2021 by Calvin C.

As a follow up to the article on a serious zero-day flaw found in Windows 10 and versions of Windows Server, I decided to write another article on Windows 10 security. Here, I look at 6 Windows security settings you should set-up on your PC.

I will focus on built-in security features that you need to enable before you focus on any third party options.

You also find these features in the upcoming Windows 11 so make sure you know how to access them when necessary.

Windows 10 is not a perfect operating system and has its fair share of security issues. However, to get started in the right direction, make sure these basic security settings have been enabled and unnecessary features are disabled.

1. Set up a system restore point

A system restore point allows you to revert to an earlier point and undo any system changes.

This may happen after you install a program or mess around with critical settings and things go haywire.

It’s easy to set up a system restore. First, type in “system restore” in the Search field found next to the Start icon.

Search Bar
Search bar

In the results that appear, you select Create a restore point and the following window appears:

windows security settings
Choose Create

Click Create and enter the name of the restore point. Proper naming is important because you may create several restore points in future.

Once you have entered the name, hit Create and give your PC a few minutes to create a restore point. A message will appear once the process is complete and that it’s! You have successfully created a restore point.

Next time your PC starts to misbehave, use System Restore to undo any changes you made after the restore without deleting your files.

2. Remove unused apps

Next, you need to remove bloatware that comes with Windows 10. More often than not, these apps become outdated and that is exactly what cybercriminals want.

In addition, you may not even use these apps and they present security problems in future, so its better to remove them.

To do that, enter “settings” in the Search field next to the Start icon.

Click Apps in the window that appears and you see a list of apps installed in your PC. Of particular interest are apps by Microsoft.

If you click on any of them, there is an option to uninstall the app.

In my case, I removed 12 apps that I have never used. Note that a few of the apps like Edge cannot be uninstalled.

3. Keep your drivers and software up-to-date

Keeping your PC up-to-date is an important component of good cyber hygiene.

Microsoft regularly releases updates to patch any vulnerabilities that arise and you must never completely turn off updates.

In the Settings window, you click Updates & security > Windows update and check for updates, or install updates depending on the state of your PC.

It is easier for attackers to compromise your PC when it has vulnerabilities that they can exploit.

An up-to-date PC is a healthy PC, so get that out of the way.

4. Use a local user account only

It may seem to be a good idea to use one Microsoft account to access all your compatible devices, for example your laptop, home PC and work PC.

This allows easy synchronization across all these devices, which is convenient, but in the eyes of hackers, it is an opportunity to hack into your PC.

An attack on one PC can easily spread to other PCs since one account accesses all the other devices.

Therefore it is wise to use a local account that only works on one PC, to minimize exposure of the others.

It’s easy to create a local account and you do that in the Settings.

Go to Settings > Accounts > click Sign in with a local account instead and follow the prompts.

local account
Click Sign in with a local account

5. Disable ad tracking

These days, there is heightened privacy-awareness with companies like Apple taking strides to protect privacy of its users.

Disable tracking in the Settings so that your location and web activity is not used by Microsoft to show targeted ads to you.

location
Turn off all these option

To access this window go to Settings > Privacy.

Stalkaware causes a poor user experience and consumes data in the background.

6. Make sure your Firewall is enabled

Windows 10 has the Windows Security section in the Settings where you can manage the security of your PC.

Yo can easily get to this window by going to Settings > Update & security > click Windows security in the side menu > Open Windows security

In the window that opens, you have these options:

  • Virus & threat protection
  • Account protection
  • Firewall & network protection
  • App & browser control
  • Device security
  • Device performance & health
  • Family options

Make sure the Virus & threat protection and the Firewall & network protection are enabled.

Some say Windows Defender is now effective and you don’t need another antivirus suite, but I agree with Techradar. You still benefit from the extra features provided by standalone leading antivirus software listed here.

Conclusion

In a fight against cyberattacks, computer security is one of the many areas you need to pay attention to. There is also a need to protect your online security and privacy.

A VPN acts like an invisible cloak when you are browsing the internet, hiding you from hackers, your ISP or government agencies.

Instead of connecting to the internet directly, your device is connected first to secure VPN servers and the servers access the websites you want to visit.

Traffic is encrypted between your device and the VPN tunnel as shown:

vpn tunnel protocols

There are many VPNs out there, but I recommend NordVPN since it’s the overall best VPN, with numerous security features.

Read a full review here but if you are in a hurry, try NordVPN risk free using the link below, which also unlocks the best deal at the moment.

Which antivirus suite do you use? Leave comments below and share the article with others on social media.

Tech writer and VPN expert. DIY enthusiast and loves anything to do with space science.

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