Browsing online can sometimes feel like navigating a minefield. It's filled with hidden traps, foxholes, and other hidden dangers that can hurt you when you least expect it.
Malicious ads, pop-ups, drive-by downloads, and spyware are all over the web. Your PC can be infected with malware with one inadvertent click!
To address that, did you know that Microsoft has a special version of its Edge browser that's designed to protect your PC from such dangers?
Windows Device Application Guard
I'm talking about Windows Device Application Guard (WDAG), a hidden feature of PCs running on Windows 10 Pro. This feature creates an Edge browser session that's sandboxed from your whole machine. Note: Sorry, WDAG is not available on Windows 10 Home at this time.
WDAG was actually initially developed for companies running Windows 10 Enterprise to protect their corporate systems and networks from malicious websites. It was finally introduced to Windows 10 Pro in this year's April 2018 Update as a free feature.
This is how it works. Initiating a WDAG browser session creates a Windows Virtual Machine (a virtual computer within your computer) that is running Microsoft Edge. With this method, any malware that's originating from the browser can only affect the virtual machine, effectively shielding your main computer.
However, before you can run WDAG, there are a few requirements. Like I mentioned earlier, you need to be on Windows 10 Pro with at least the April 2018 Update installed. Next, it has to be a 64-bit machine and is equipped with a Hyper-V capable processor.
How to turn WDAG on
If you meet the requirements, here's how you turn WDAG on.
1. Search for Control Panel then click on the best hit.
2. Within the Control Panel, click Programs.
3. On the next section, click on "Turn Windows features on and off" under Programs and Features.
5. Scroll down and check the Windows Defender Application Guard Box.
Note: If you already have the October 2018 Update installed, it's easier. Just open Settings>>click on Update & Security>>Windows Security>>App & browser control. Here, you can scroll down to a section called "Isolated browsing" and turn on WDAG from there.
Creating a WDAG Edge browser session
To browse with WDAG, open your Edge browser, click the three dots on the upper right to access the menu then select "New Application Guard window." Look for the WDAG indicator on the upper left corner of your browser to check if your session is protected.
Right now, WDAG is useful but it is still limited. You can't import Favorites, downloads are blocked, extensions are disabled and it doesn't have an ad blocker. Still, it's one essential feature that can secure your browsing sessions and protect your computer from web-based malware attacks.
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