Security improvements in Windows 8

Support ended for Windows XP last week. That means technical assistance for Windows XP is no longer available.

To stay protected, you can upgrade your current computer or buy a new one. Windows 8.1 Update runs on a wider variety of devices, so you’ll have more to choose from, including budget-friendly laptops and tablets.

Windows 8 security and safety features

Windows Update installs important updates as they become available. Windows 8 turns on automatic updating as part of the initial setup process. Keep in mind that Windows Update won’t add any applications to your computer without asking for your permission. Get more answers to your Windows Update questions.

Help keep your family safer. With Windows 8, you can monitor your children’s Internet use, choose which games or apps they can access, and block or allow access to certain websites. Keep track of your kids online.

Antivirus protection is now included for your PC. Windows Defender, which is built in to Windows 8, replaces Microsoft Security Essentials. It runs in the background and notifies you when you need to take specific action.

Learn about other ways to keep your PC safer from viruses with Windows 8

Buying a new PC? Save $100 when you buy any Surface Pro 2 or select PCs over $599

About the Author
Eve Blakemore

Group Manager, Trustworthy Computing

Eve Blakemore is a Group Manager for Trustworthy Computing who delivers consumer guidance around the latest trends in security and privacy. Eve joined Microsoft in 1998 and has worked in corporate and field roles with Microsoft Learning, US Public Sector, Read more »

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26 comments
  1. Anonymous

    Why are you blocking me from my email accounts?  Outlook hides my contact list where I can't find it and now you want to assign a random code, nothing I would choose .  Garbage.  If I wanted big brother, I'd tell you.

  2. Anonymous

    I got Windows 8. There is no start menu. I can not do anything. It is a useless OS. WIndows 8 install something call; Bing and it gave me a virus. Can not remove virus. Windows XP was better. I am pulling out my Windows Xp and using that since it is safer. I never got a virus with Windows XP.

    Do not use Windows 8. It is difficult to use and keep virus off it. Windows 8 is a virus magnet since it uses something call Bing.

  3. Anonymous

    How can I get through to Outlook via Hotmail ? I've tried to contact them by phone (no luck) by feedback (no luck)

    is there any way to contact this company !

  4. Anonymous

    Same thing with my Laptop which is Windows 8.1 …….Next PC and laptop will be a MAC….I'm sick of dealing with Microsoft.. XP was fine, both of my printers and all programs and peripherals worked with it. This upgrade to Win8/8.1

    has been extremely expensive to someone who is on a fixed income (Social Security)…All of their online help just runs you in a loop…I am emailing everyone on my email list and will publicize to everyone I speak to about Microsoft….

    Microsoft = A SNARE AND A RACKET.

  5. Anonymous

    I cannot open my hotmail account…this is WRONG! I am expecting important emails re a sick relative and cannot get to my emails! I do not want or need your extra security rubbish, please allow me to get to my emails N O W!  Your demanding of another email address…I do not have one, or tel number..I am NOT prepared to share, so pls. Unblock! Thank you!

  6. Anonymous

    blocked gmail. need asap. do not want new password.

  7. Anonymous

    what is this new security code ? – i had a new one sent to my other email account by microsoft – and when i entered it to get access to my outlook account – nada ! – this code is no good – when i try to enter a new phone number for them to send it to – nada !  – no window to enter a new number – i have 3 days to sort this out before I'm like sarah michelle – blocked !!!!! – is this the best the finest minds in the world can come up with – i cannot afford an interruption to your email service – there money at stake ! – so please do not inconvenience me again.

  8. Anonymous

    I must agree since having Windows 8, i have spent more time chasing VIRUSES than Actuatly using my Desktop PC.

    Never had this Problem with "XP".

  9. Anonymous

    I have spent two weeks trying to get my e-mail opened, you send these codes and NOTHING works.  Then you transfer me to a dept that DEMANDS I pay $398.00 to recover my e-mail, and the guy "threatens" me, What is that about????

  10. Anonymous

    We use windows on our computer. Windows is  like like a home (As like in home we keep our hardcopy files of any thing like bank, property, important etc……..) but curently all this things are done through computer so we save such hings in computer. If there is a hacking, virus  problem, etc. it is like we are allowing thiefs to come in our home (Windows) any thus any body can come & go & misue ouir computer & thus our important things.

    Suggestion – To make 100 % free Windows from virus, spyware, hacking problem.

  11. Anonymous

    Put a Link, article on website about – HACKING Punishment by each country.

    Like in India (Mumbai ) it is 3 years & penalty check site -

    So that people we be feared to commit such crimes.

  12. Anonymous

    Suggestions:

    Put a feature in Windows that takes only Trusted, Parts Service, Vendors. For Antivirus, Firewall, Antispyware etc…….

    Windows Parts: Antivirus, Firewall, Antispyware, Music players  etc…….

    Eg- A Refrigerator. (Here it is windows ) Its parts  are compressor, paint, Gasket,  etc…….. all such part are replace, by original or either trusted manufacturers. (That to it is limited) If any reapirring is to be done. etc..

    As there are currently large number of fake antivirus, spyware etc …… software which promise many things but are fake. which confuse us (all non IT people)

    That is it should go – Standardised, Quality consious, With 100 % security

  13. Anonymous

    Conduct a Survey about Security / How securely people use windows (Home / Office).

    1. What precautions they take.

    2. What minimal setting they use to make internet safe & secure (For IT, Non It people)

    3. What diffiulties they face (Home people)

    4. Awareness about Inrtenet security, Computer security. And there methods in bulit available methods.

    etc………….. there are many others.

  14. Anonymous

    I love the new Windows. Everything was already set up and good to go. For those of you having e-mail issues, you can still use hotmail as part of your address, the only thing is now you have outlook.com as the mother ship. Nothing changes, just follow the change over instructions and windows 8.1 will set all security, defender, and all updates are set automatically. I was the biggest supporter of XP, Microsoft and me got to know each other well. In the end all I had to do was go to control panel and set all programs to my liking. I am loving it, way better than XP. Sorry for those having issues, I think it is a matter of change, no one likes change but this change is good. Do not keep using XP, the hackers and thieves will have a new home in your name somewhere in Africa and you will not be invited to join them. They will get your info. If your OS has no support then that is a bad thing. Come on, you can do this, do not let the bastards win!!!!!

  15. Anonymous

    @pjholmes

    The email is block by MS. I had seven accounts block by MS right now. There is no way to get back the accounts. It says you need a new security. I send it and it locks the account for 30 days. After 30 days, it still is locked. I put phone number in to get code. Get Code and outlook is still locked. I lost 2 accounts that I had with MS for 7 years. Now I have to get a new email from outlook after 30 days. Or I have to switch.

    Good that you have had no problem with Windows 8 but you are about 1% that has no problems. The rest of 99% of people can not get it to work. I still have several computers with Windows 98 that work fine and have never got a virus. Windows 8 gets infected on a weekly time schedule.

    I am keeping Windows XP and returning widows 8. Hopefully this will stop MS from locking my email accounts. I never had this problem with Windows Xp. Or Windows 98.

  16. Anonymous

    Wow! Just downloaded windows 8 and now I am already worrying about if it will be ME NEXT?  I sure hope not, for this Tex-AZ gal (senior) is just now beginning to get her feet wet, or take a dive into all of this new digital and IT stuff!

    Thanks for the warning.

  17. Anonymous

    I don't know what is going on at TWC but the last 3 to 4 weeks i can't get on their web site. When i tru to call their line is busy. One girl told me i would have to use google and not internet. When i do this i can't get to my info on the web site i pay for. Whats going on TWC.

  18. Anonymous

    I lost anopther email account. It said temporary block because of spam activity. I do not send spam. So whydid MS block it?

    Well time to create another email account. Or might have to find the password from my gmail account. I know I wrote it down somewhere. Where is that paper??

  19. Anonymous

    What is Microsoft doing about the numerous complaints about Windows 8 security, outlook e-mail address, and many more. I am also in that dilemma. So MS act quickly, because we are your disciples. Thank you

  20. Anonymous

    I don't know why are people complaining about. This is the best Windows that ever came out. Maybe if some people would learn correctly the OS, they would not be bitching about it. Learn people learn to keep up,with technology. The people that complaint are the ones that will stay behind as the future and technology moves on. Windows 8.1 is better than Mac OS X (Maverick).

  21. Anonymous

    Been Windows user since 3.1.  Loved XP. Win7 tolerable. Win8 user for year & find it extremely user unfriendly for my purposes. In MHO Win* appears to be a "one size fits all" designed for primarily for touch screen applications and the rest of us are forced to make do with its numerous quirks. I find it  somewhat  usable  with Mozilla Firefox & Thunderbird.  Other non-MS programs also work.  Next computer will be a MAC because of Win8!

  22. Anonymous

    I hate windows 8 just like the rest of you do BUT a million? people are using it without any problems so I just forced myself to keep trying it until I learn it. I did call Microsoft and got a real friendly tec. that told me how to do everything that I could not find on my own. I just figured they didn't put it into 8.1 but it's almost all there if you just know where to look.. I loved XP and hated 7 when it came out and now I have eight  7 machines and love them all. 8 is a pain but I am getting the hang of it  and will force myself to use it at least once a day and rummage around inside of it to find all the tricks and shortcuts XP and 7 has. I have not looked for anything and not been able to find it yet but it does take some time so hang in there. Just think some day XP and 7 will no longer work just like 98. So best get into the 21st century little by little.. Good Luck

  23. Anonymous

    Microsoft.  You are not providing something people want.  This is a receipe for your own demise.  Listen to your customers and make them happy and you will succeed.  

    Windows 8.1 was made for people who think differently than most of us.  We are your customers, we are normal, you and your product designers have created a product that has negative productivity.  I wish that I had an alternative to Windows 8.1.

  24. Anonymous

    Wow, I am reading about a lot of frustrated people here. I've been using Windows 8 since it came out, and am really enjoying the new system. It is very different from XP, so don't put the pressure on yourselves to be able to just figure it out on your own. If you visit: windows.microsoft.com you will find really helpful tutorials on how to do just about everything you need. There are videos for many, as well as easy to read and follow instructions. Trust me, I had to use these pages, but I tell you, they really made a big difference.

    For those of you, who cannot access Hotmail.com, it has been changed to outlook.com (I think someone early mentioned this). But your original email address with Hotmail or Live will all work from there.

    For those of you who are finding their accounts "blocked due to spam", it means your system already has some type of malware infection. These malicious programs send out tons of email from your computer, without your knowledge. You will need to run scans using either the built in Microsoft programs, your get your own free, like Avast, or Avira, or paid like McAfee, or Norton. Once you rid your computer of the malicious programs, you will be able to re-activate your account, but not if the virus/malware still exists.

    Please take the time for go through the tutorials at windows.microsoft.com, and after a bit of practice, I think you'll be a lot happier with Windows 8. Remember, it is VERY different from XP, so you can't expect yourself to just "know" how to use it.

    Hope this helps

  25. Anonymous

    I think : all the people ho are complaining are people how likes to complain. It is never good. Everybody has the mouth full of privecy. But no one likes it when some one els will help us. earlier days our home was secured by a simpel lock,

    now a days we are using safty locks, theaf claws ,alarms etc. Microsoft delivers these things and 99% of the users don not like it.People set your mind free and learn something new. Most of the time the problems you have are only between our ears. Take the changes, learn to work with it and then after a week or may be a month, then tell me is it really so bad? Don not complaim before you know what is in it.

  26. Anonymous

    When I first purchased a new computer with windows 8.1 in January 2014,  I experienced multiple problems learning the system.  It took me over 3 months to overcome my issues with it.  windows 8.1 will repair itself, one way is by clicking on search and type in your issue.  Another way is to refresh your computer.  When you go to Control Panel

    click at the top right side of it and you can view it just like it shows on windows XP

    It is completely different from windows XP that I had for 12 years.

    Now I love windows 8.1  I feel very comfortable using my computer again,  Hope this will help someone

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