Tighten Up Your Computer Security
EVER SINCE WINDOWS 8, Windows Defender has been provided as a built-in component of the operating system, protecting against malware. However, there’s a lot to be said for getting addon third-party protection for your computer. This doesn’t necessarily have to be paid for, because there are some good free options around. Naturally, the companies involved hope you’ll like the product so much that you’ll upgrade to the paid-for version.
One of the top free packages is by Bitdefender, and it’s this that we’re looking at right here. While the free edition of Bitdefender is more than adequate with antivirus scanning, anti-phishing technology, and ransomware protection, the paid-for version of Bitdefender—called Antivirus Plus—also includes a VPN, a password manager, and different modes for different purposes, such as reducing the number of notifications you receive when working or watching movies. It’s the free version we’re looking at here.
1 DOWNLOAD BITDEFENDER The free version of Bitdefender will protect you against all the key online threats, and it’s easy to download, install, and use. Go to www.bitdefender.com/solutions/free.html to get hold of it, and click the “Free Download” button [ Image A]. Bitdefender Antivirus Free will stay updated, so you’ll always have protection against the latest threats—updates happen automatically in the background. 2 DO YOU WANT TO UPGRADE? Should you wish to, you can upgrade to the paid version of Bitdefender antivirus at this point. This includes a VPN, so you can encrypt all your web browsing, as well as a useful password manager. For basic use, Bitdefender Antivirus Free offers more than enough protection. If you’re a gamer, it may well be worth considering the paid-for version, because there is a game mode. 3 DOWNLOAD AND RUN The Bitdefender installation file will download [ Image B]. If you’re in Microsoft Edge, you’re shown the dialog at the bottom of this window that enables you to run the installation file as soon as it has downloaded. If you’re using Chrome, you need to click the file in the bar at the bottom of your browser window to start the install (or click on the file itself in your Downloads folder). 4 INSTALL BITDEFENDER The file you downloaded is just the installer. Before it can fully install, Bitdefender downloads a much larger install file that may take a while. Ours was 354MB. If you have a very slow connection, we recommend doing this part overnight. If you have a fast connection, it should be no problem, however, and the app tells you how far through the process it is. 5 SCAN FOR THE FIRST TIME As it installs, Bitdefender scans your system for the first time [ Image C]. This is to ensure there are no big identifiable issues with your system. After all, many people only download software like Bitdefender Antivirus Free when they actually have a problem with their PC, so it makes sense for the program to check that all is well with your computer from the get-go. 6 CREATE OR SIGN IN TO YOUR ACCOUNT To use Bitdefender Antivirus Free, you need to have a Bitdefender account. Enter your name and email address, and create a password if you don’t already have an account [ Image D]— don’t enter false details, because Bitdefender emails you to confirm your email address is legitimate. You need to click the link in the email to confirm your account, and prove your email address is yours. 7 YOU’RE PROTECTED! If you don’t see the main window for Bitdefender Antivirus Free [ Image E], check for the “B” icon in your notifications area, on the right of your Taskbar—it may be hidden behind the drop-down arrow. Once you see the icon, click it to open the Bitdefender window. As you can see, you’re now protected from any threats. You can click to start a system scan should you want to check your PC. 8 FINISHED SCANNING When the scan has finished, you’ll see this in the status area below. You can drag and drop any file to the Bitdefender window to manually check it [ Image F]. As you can see, the app has also performed an update. Bitdefender won’t necessarily let you know when it’s doing things like this, but notifications appear in the status area. Security apps like Bitdefender are designed to run in the background. 9 GO TO SETTINGS Click the cog icon in the top-right of the window to access Bitdefender’s settings. From here, you can view all the “events” that have occurred. You can also choose whether to turn the Protection Shield on or off [ Image G]— this automatically blocks malicious files. You can turn it off if it identifies a problem with something that you know is legitimate. 10 HELP AND MORE If you have an issue with Bitdefender Antivirus Free, you can search the help pages at the Bitdefender website, although most things should be fairly self-explanatory. You will need to upgrade the software should you need more in-depth support. You’re also able to send in any feedback you want to relay using the handy link [ Image H]. Again, this window is accessed via Bitdefender’s “Settings” menu.