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I'm trying to learn more about computers and often I have to download a file. I find what I consider is a trusted site- for example maybe someone mentioned it on a udemy course I'm taking. So often, I download the zip or exe and windows defender pops up and scares me, saying something like 'opening these files may be harmful to your computer'? For example this just happened when I tried to download the quick hash program (of all things).

Ok so it always does make me worry a little bit because I don't want to get malware on my pc, but my question is what is it's criteria or basis for flagging some files as suspicious? I have avoided downloading certain files I think are safe, because of this. Is it because these files lack a certificate or digital signature or something? How do I know when it's ok to install or download? Thanks!

  • Windows Defender depends on information stored in a database, if there is no information stored in its database on this file or the file is already quarantined by Norton, then it may reported as threat. Some files my reported as threats while they aren't, this because there is no stored information about it "YET" they're also known as False Positive. – iSR5 Jan 15 '18 at 3:29
  • Thank you for this. I think windows is hyper crazy because I get to sites with so many seeming legitimate applications and I'm scared away because I don't have a high enough understanding of computers and I'm afraid of taking the risk. I want to get enough understanding so I don't have to trust Microsoft or anyone to shield me. – link Jan 17 '18 at 4:29
  • don't think too much about it, if you have some doubts or just not sure about a file or a reported threat (or even just curiosity) , just google it, and make your way of understanding it better. – iSR5 Jan 17 '18 at 4:37

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