How to improve your security and privacy in Windows 11?

This guide will provide you with comprehensive strategies and best practices

Improving security and privacy on your Windows 11 computer is of paramount importance in today’s digital age. As we navigate an increasingly interconnected world, the need to safeguard personal information and protect against cyber threats has never been greater. This guide will provide you with comprehensive strategies and best practices to fortify your Windows 11 system against potential security breaches and privacy invasions. From keeping your operating system up to date to implementing multi-factor authentication, each step is designed to enhance your defense against a myriad of online risks, ensuring that your digital experience remains safe and secure.

Keep Your Operating System Updated:

Keeping your operating system updated is a crucial step in maintaining the security and performance of your computer. Here’s how to do it on Windows 11:

1.1. Enable Automatic Updates:

  • By default, Windows 11 is set to download and install updates automatically. To ensure this feature is enabled, follow these steps:
    • Go to Settings by clicking the Start button and then the gear icon.
    • In the Settings window, click on Windows Update on the left panel.
    • Ensure the “Automatically download and install updates” option is turned on.
  • Windows will check for and install updates in the background, keeping your system up to date with the latest security patches and improvements.

1.2. Manual Check for Updates:

If you want to check for updates manually or ensure that you’re running the latest version of Windows 11:

  • Go to Settings > Windows Update.
  • Click on Check for updates.

Windows will then search for any available updates and prompt you to install them.

1.3. Set Active Hours:

You can set “active hours” to specify the times when your computer should not restart for updates. This ensures that updates won’t disrupt your work:

  • In the Windows Update settings, click on Change active hours.
  • Define a time range when you typically use your computer.
  • Windows will schedule updates outside of these hours.

1.4. Advanced Options:

In the Windows Update settings, you can also access advanced options to fine-tune your update settings:

  • Click on Advanced options to pause updates for a specific number of days.
  • You can also adjust delivery optimization settings for better control over how updates are downloaded and shared on your local network.

By regularly updating your operating system, you ensure that your computer is protected against the latest security threats and that it functions optimally. This simple but essential step can go a long way in maintaining the security and performance of your Windows 11 system.

2. Enable BitLocker Encryption:

BitLocker is a built-in encryption feature in Windows 11 that can protect your data, even if your device is lost or stolen:

  • Search for “BitLocker” in the Windows search bar.
  • Follow the setup wizard to encrypt your drive.

3. Use Strong Passwords and Multi-Factor Authentication:

Using strong passwords and enabling multi-factor authentication (MFA) is crucial for enhancing the security of your Windows 11 account and, by extension, your entire system. Here’s how to do it:

3.1. Create Strong Passwords:

  • When creating a password for your Windows 11 account, follow these guidelines for a strong password:
    • Use a combination of upper and lower-case letters, numbers, and special characters.
    • Avoid easily guessable information like names, birthdays, or common words.
    • Make the password at least 12 characters long.
    • Consider using a passphrase – a sequence of random words, which can be easier to remember and more secure.
    • Avoid using the same password across multiple accounts. Each account should have a unique password.

3.2. Enable Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA):

  • Multi-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security by requiring at least two forms of verification before granting access to your account. Common methods include something you know (password) and something you have (a smartphone or token). To enable MFA for your Microsoft account (which you use to sign in to Windows 11):
  • Visit the Microsoft Account Security Page in your web browser.
  • Sign in with your Microsoft account if you aren’t already signed in.
  • In the Security section, you’ll find options for setting up two-step verification or MFA. Follow the on-screen instructions to set it up.
  • You can typically choose to receive verification codes via text message, email, or through an authenticator app like Microsoft Authenticator.
  • Once set up, every time you log in, you’ll need to provide your password and complete the second verification step, which may involve entering a code sent to your mobile device.

3.3. Use a Password Manager:

  • Managing complex, unique passwords for all your accounts can be challenging. Consider using a password manager like LastPass, 1Password, or Bitwarden. These tools securely store and autofill your passwords, making it easier to maintain strong, unique passwords for all your accounts.

3.4. Periodically Update Passwords:

  • It’s a good practice to change your passwords regularly, especially for critical accounts. If you use a password manager, it can help you generate and update passwords easily.

3.5. Secure Your Local Account:

  • If you’re using a local account on Windows 11 (not a Microsoft account), ensure that you follow the same principles of creating a strong password and consider enabling MFA if your device and applications support it.

By using strong passwords and enabling multi-factor authentication, you significantly improve the security of your Windows 11 account and the overall security of your system. These measures make it much more difficult for unauthorized users to gain access to your computer and personal information.

4. Configure Windows Defender Antivirus:

Windows Defender is built into Windows 11 and provides robust protection. Ensure it’s properly configured:

  • Go to Settings > Privacy & Security > Windows Security.
  • Run a quick, full, or custom scan.
  • Keep it updated.

5. Use a Standard User Account:

Avoid using an admin account for everyday tasks:

  • Create a standard user account for regular use.
  • Use the admin account only for system-related tasks.

6. Review App Permissions:

Review and manage the permissions apps have on your system:

  • Go to Settings > Privacy.
  • Review and adjust app permissions for camera, microphone, location, etc.

7. Control App Installations:

Limit which apps can be installed:

  • Go to Settings > Apps.
  • Under Install apps, set it to The Microsoft Store only.

8. Enable Controlled Folder Access:

Controlled Folder Access prevents unauthorized apps from making changes to your files:

  • Go to Settings > Privacy & Security > Windows Security.
  • Under Virus & threat protection, click on Manage settings.
  • Enable Controlled folder access.

9. Use a Firewall:

Windows 11 has a built-in firewall. Make sure it’s enabled:

  • Go to Settings > Privacy & Security > Windows Security.
  • Under Firewall & network protection, ensure the firewall is on.

10. Be Wary of Phishing Attacks:

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11. Use a VPN:

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  • Subscribe to a reputable VPN service.
  • Use it when connecting to public Wi-Fi or when you want to enhance your privacy.

12. Regularly Back Up Your Data:

  • Set up automatic backups.
  • Use an external drive or cloud storage for redundancy.

13. Secure Your Wi-Fi Network:

If you have a Wi-Fi network at home, make sure it’s secure:

  • Change the default router login credentials.
  • Use a strong Wi-Fi password.
  • Enable WPA3 encryption if supported.

14. Use Strong, Unique Passwords:

For your online accounts, use strong and unique passwords. Consider using a password manager to keep track of them.

15. Secure Your Webcam and Microphone:

Protect your privacy by ensuring that your webcam and microphone are not accessible without your consent:

  • Go to Settings > Privacy.
  • Manage app access to the camera and microphone.

16. Review Privacy Settings:

Periodically review your privacy settings in Windows:

  • Go to Settings > Privacy.
  • Customize what information is shared with Microsoft.

17. Enable Secure Boot and TPM:

If your computer supports it, enable Secure Boot and the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) for enhanced security.

By following these steps, you can significantly improve your security and privacy on Windows 11 and reduce the risk of falling victim to cyberattacks or data breaches.


By incorporating these practices into your computing routine, you can mitigate many common security risks and enjoy a safer and more private experience while using Windows 11. Remember that cybersecurity is an ongoing process, and staying informed about new threats and best practices is crucial for maintaining a secure and private computing environment.


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