The Linux geeks often laugh at Windows users for using a vulnerable and less secure operating system. But the truth is far from this common belief. Windows can be as secure as any Linux variation. The tricks to make Windows secure is to configure this operating system correctly. The free Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer can help you secure Windows at many different levels. It checks your system for vulnerable administrative configurations, weak user passwords, IIS or SQL server vulnerabilities and missing security updates. It shows you a report of all these missing updates and vulnerabilities so that you can fix all these problems and make your system secure against these known vulnerabilities.
You can download Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer from the Microsoft website. The download is available for all Windows versions from XP to Windows 8.1. It supports Microsoft Office from version 2003 to 2013. The downloads are available both for the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows. After installation of Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer, you can launch it from the Start Menu or Charms bar.
It has options to scan one or more computers by their IP address ranges on a network or by their computer names. To scan your own computer, you have to select Scan a computer and it would take you the next screen.
In the next screen, you can choose options about what items or portions of your Windows system you want to scan. Typically, you would leave all the default options selected. But you can choose from scanning for administrative vulnerabilities, weak passwords, IIS vulnerabilities, SQL administrative vulnerabilities and security updates.
Clicking on the Start Scan button would start the scan. If you have selected to scan for security updates, then it will download files from the internet before the scan. The scan is completed in a few seconds and you are shown a report of the findings.
In the report, you can see all the issues and their status. If the status is a red or yellow colored icon, then there is need to worry and you should work on securing your system by following the guidelines in the report. To know what you can do to fix an issue, you can click on the link How to correct this in the report shown against problematic issues.
Conclusion: Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer is a free and expert tool in analyzing your Windows installations for known vulnerabilities and security problems. You can run this tool to find and fix the vulnerabilities in Windows, Office and IIS server. It can tell if you are missing any security updates or you have misconfigured your system security settings. It can be used to scan not only your computer but any number of computers on a network.
You can download from Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=7558.