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Published on 03.05.08 by Brent Trahan

Windows Defender SpyNet Explained

Learn about Microsoft SpyNet and how to change SpyNet settings in Windows Defender.

SpyNet is a free online community that helps you respond to potential spyware threats in Windows Defender. Windows Defender uses SpyNet to help classify items as good or bad based on what other people in the SpyNet community have done.

If you join the SpyNet community actions you take on potential spyware are sent to the SpyNet community.

SpyNet Membership Levels

  • Basic: Your computer sends limited information back to Microsoft based on items it’s detected and what actions you took. Windows Defender will not alert you about software changes made by unclassified programs. This is the default membership type.
  • Advanced: Your computer sends detailed information back to Microsoft on items it’s detected and what actions you took. Windows Defender will alert you about software changes made by unclassified programs. It will also send details about your actions on unclassified programs. This membership level is for advanced or paranoid users. Windows Defender will nag the hell out of you with alerts with this type of membership.
  • Don’t Join SpyNet: No information will be sent to Microsoft. Windows Defender will not alert you about software changes made by unclassified programs.

You can change your SpyNet membership level by doing the following:

  1. Click Tools at the top of Windows Defender.
  2. Click Microsoft SpyNet.
  3. Select the type of membership and then click Save.

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