How To Protect Your Computer from Viruses (10 Ways)

Are you concerned about your PC, or is your computer affected by a virus? Do you want to know how to protect your computer from viruses? This article elaborates on the complete guide and top 10 ways to protect your computer from viruses, malware, spyware, ransomware, and other malicious programs.

Last year, I downloaded software for someone, and I wanted to test it by installing it on my computer before sending it. The scary thing is that the moment I hit the install button, my PC started flickering, and all my files got corrupted and encrypted. My computer was attacked by solid ransomware.

While trying to decrypt the files and searching for any clue, I found a text file claiming my PC got infected by ransomware and all files would be decrypted if I paid $499 or $999 (I don’t remember clearly how much). I tried to scan by Windows security and other third-party antiviruses, but none worked.

Finally, I had to format my whole hard drive and reinstall Windows 10. All my years of work have gone down the drain because of a small mistake – downloading a program from a random website. Since then, I am over concerned about my computer security and applying different ways to protect it from malicious programs.

Top 10 Ways to Protect Your Computer from Viruses

From installing antivirus to not downloading stuff from random sites, you can follow many guidelines to protect your computer from viruses and other malicious programs. I have listed the top 10 tips to protect your PC from viruses here. Follow them one by one for the best protection.

1. Windows Security Settings

Windows Security (previously known as Windows Defender) is a default and free antivirus called Microsoft Defender Antivirus. It helps protect your computer safe and virus free. Windows Security works in the background; it scans your PC regularly and sends you the diagnostic report via notification. It contains the following protection areas.

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

You must configure the Windows Security settings, especially the virus and threat protection. If you have already done it, follow the instructions below and set it right.

Windows Security

Step 1: Click the “Start” or “Windows” icon from the bottom-left and go to the “Settings” option.

Step 2: Click the “Update & Security” feature and go to “Windows Security” from the left menu.

Step 3: Click the “Virus & threat protection” option under the “Protection areas”, and a new pop-up will open.

Step 4: Click “Manage settings” under the “Virus & threat protection settings” option.

Step 5: Switch on “Real-time protection, cloud-delivered protection, automatic sample submission, and temper protection” features. Make sure all four options are switched on.

Step 6: Return to the “Virus and Threat Protection” option and click the “Manage ransomware protection” feature from the bottom.

Step 7: Switch on the “Controlled folder access” option.

Step 8: Go back to the “Virus and threat protection” page and check if “Current threats” are found.

Step 9: Click the “Scan options” under the “Start actions” and click the “Scan now” option while selecting the “Quick scan” feature. Also, you can use “Full scan, Custom scan, or Microsoft Defender Offline scan.” A full scan will take time because it will scan all files and programs on your computer.

Step 10: After completing the scan, your PC will notify you that it has deleted the virus and no threat is available.

Under virus and threat protection, Windows Security scans your PC regularly for potential viruses, malware, ransomware, and other malicious programs. It protects your computer from entering viruses onto your PC.

While downloading files, Windows Security notifies if the file contains a virus and deletes the whole file automatically before downloading. Also, if you switch on the controlled folder access under the ransomware protection feature, Windows Security will block any unauthorized modifications by unknown programs, aka ransomware attack.

2. Scan Your PC with Third-party Antivirus

Apart from Windows Security, you can use other third-party antiviruses. You can download Avast, AVG, or Kaspersky if you want the free version. After downloading and installing any free antivirus software, scan your computer. Also, you can configure the antivirus to scan your PC regularly.

Third-party antiviruses work precisely like Windows Security with more functionalities. They can scan and clean your computer.

Note: Microsoft suggests not running third-party antivirus along with Windows Security which may slow down your PC and make it unstable. So if you use another antivirus, ensure your Windows Security is switched off.

3. Keep Your Windows up to date

The older or obsolete Windows version puts your computer at high risk of virus attack because the previous versions may lack essential security breaches. Also, the up-to-date version contains critical security patches and updated features to fight against virus and malware attacks. That’s why Microsoft recommended updating your Windows regularly.

Typically, your computer will notify you if any update is available, but you can check it by following the steps below.

Check for Update

  1. Click the “Start” or “Windows” icon and go to the “Settings” option.
  2. Click the “Update and Security” option and check if any update is available.
  3. Usually, the available update shows up at the top, but you can click “Check for updates” and update your computer.

4. Don’t Download Crack Software

Downloading the cracked version of any paid software is one of the main gateways to getting affected by viruses, ransomware, malware, or other malicious programs. The cracked versions may contain ransomware and viruses regardless of how reputed the websites are. Everything may seem official, like the file name, developer, etc., but the virus, malware, or ransomware may hide within these files.

5. Download Free Files, Software, and Programs from Trusted Websites

Even if you need to download free software, files, and programs, you must get them from trusted and reputable websites. Make sure the downloader sites have a virus scanner. There are countless websites which offer free stuff containing malicious programs. However, the best way to download them is from the official websites.

6. Open Emails from the Known Persons

Sending phishing and spam emails containing viruses is one of the top ways to infect your computer with viruses, malware, ransomware, and other malicious programs. No matter how lucrative the emails look, you shouldn’t open them if you don’t know the senders. Stay away from such emails that promise expensive stuff free. Also, never download anything from unknown mail.

7. Don’t Visit Suspicious and Unknown Websites

Not all websites are reasonable; many contain malicious stuff that lures you to visit and download anything. Though most internet browsers warn us before visiting, many users still visit those sites. As a result, viruses or malware are downloaded to your computer unknowingly.

8. Use Pop-up Blocker in Your Internet Browser

A pop-up is a small window that opens when you visit random websites. It contains messages, offers, or advertisements. Though pop-ups are a form of advertisement, most contain malicious code. You may mistakenly click one of them, and the unsafe code can be downloaded on your computer. The virus can spread throughout the PC.

9. Backup Important Files

No matter how many virus preventive measures you have taken, you can’t ensure your computer is 100% protected from viruses, malware, ransomware, or other malicious programs. As technology evolves, hackers are improving their skills too. So it is highly recommended to back up your important files to another safe place like Google Drive, a pen drive or another computer.

Related: How To Backup Your Computer

10. Switch on the Firewall

Firewall and Network Protection

Windows firewall is a protective cover around your network and computer to block unauthorized incoming and outgoing traffic. When your computer’s firewall is switched on, your computer is safe from external threats. Follow these steps to Switch on the firewall on your computer.

  1. Click on the “Start” or “Windows” icon from the bottom-left and go to the “Settings” option.
  2. Click “Update and Security” and select the “Windows Security” option from the left menu.
  3. Click the “Firewall and network protection” option, and a pop-up will open.
  4. You will see the “Domain network, Private network, and Public network” option.
  5. Click each network and switch on the firewall.

Related: 13 Ways to Speed Up Windows 10 PC


Protecting your computer is easy and free if you follow simple steps. Also, you can prevent virus attacks if you are careful enough while using your computer. You can complete most protection tasks if you set up Windows Security correctly. Just be careful, follow these tips, and you are good to go. Also, if you need to insert someone’s per drive in your computer, don’t forget to scan it before using it.

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