Microsoft Defender has become an excellent choice for the average user, and its application guard adds even more security.
The internet, as wonderful as it is, can sometimes be unsafe. And you might find yourself in a situation where you need to use a website you don’t fully trust, even though you're afraid it might infect your computer with malware. The good news is that you can visit that suspicious site safely using Microsoft Defender Application Guard.
But what is Microsoft Defender Application Guard, and how do you enable and use it in Windows 10 and 11? Let's find out.
Microsoft Defender Application Guard is a mini-virtual machine powered by Hyper-V, and its main job is to run Microsoft Edge in an isolated container.
Windows Home editions do not have Microsoft Defender Application Guard installed. If you want to enable and use it, you’ll at least have to upgrade to Windows Pro.
In the isolated container, any malware-infected sites you visit won’t be able to touch your primary system. Furthermore, the Edge browser will launch with a blank slate (it won’t have any of your user information in it). That means if anyone even managed to hack it, they won’t find anything useful to use against you.
You’ll essentially be browsing anonymously with your primary system out of reach.
Considering Microsoft Defender Application Guard is an optional feature, Windows will have it disabled by default. There are two ways to enable it: Control Panel and Windows PowerShell.
We’ll show you how to do it both ways.
To enable the feature with this method, you’ll need to open Control Panel first. Press Win + S to bring up Windows Search. Type control panel in the search box and click on the Control Panel app in the search results.
In Control Panel, click on Programs and then on Turn Windows features on or off.
In the Windows Features dialog box, scroll down and tick the checkbox for Microsoft Defender Application Guard.
Click OK to close the dialog box.
Windows will take some time to enable the feature, and afterward, you’ll see another dialog box asking you to restart your Windows PC. Click Restart now.
When the PC restarts, you'll have enabled the feature. And if you want to disable it, just bring out the Windows Features dialog box again and uncheck Microsoft Defender Application Guard.
To launch PowerShell, press Win + S to open Windows Search. Type power shell in the search box, and when the app appears in the search results, right-click it and select Run as administrator. Click Yes on the UAC prompt.
In PowerShell, type the following command and hit Enter:
PowerShell will then ask if you want to restart your computer. Type y in PowerShell, hit the Enter key, and your computer will restart.
If you want to disable the feature, enter the following command in PowerShell and hit Enter:
With Microsoft Defender Application Guard enabled, you can use it to launch Microsoft Edge in an isolated container.
To do that, open the Edge browser and click the three horizontal dots in the top right corner. In the menu that appears, select New Application Guard window.
You will then see a new Microsoft Edge window appear, and its icon in the Taskbar will have a shield in the top right corner. Now you can browse those risky sites without worrying they’ll infect your computer with malware.
Staying away from high-risk sites is good practice when you’re online. But if you must visit them, you can do so without putting your Windows 10 or 11 computer at risk. Just enable Microsoft Defender Application Guard and use it with Microsoft Edge to access them safely.
Chifundo is a writer for MakeUseOf. He initially studied banking but discovered a passion for writing and became a freelance writer on Upwork in 2017. He has written articles, blogs, essays and web content for dozens of clients. Chifundo loves that writing allows him to learn and explore different topics and turn them into engaging and easy-to-understand content that helps people. In his spare time, he designs and codes websites and makes video games.
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