Although it’s convenient that Windows 10 and Windows 8 computers come with anti-virus software, are we really protected? We’ll answer that question and point out the pros and cons in this Windows Defender review. Windows Defender is an anti-virus program that can detect and remove malware from your computer. It was developed by Microsoft, making it a trustworthy software to use for anti-virus protection.
You don’t have to worry about junkware, spyware, and other problems that sometimes come with free anti-virus software. Continue reading our Windows Defender review to learn how effective it is at protecting computers from malware.
Windows Defender Quick Overview
Windows Defender is used to protect computers against spyware, viruses, and other forms of malware. It is a free anti-virus software that comes with Windows 10 and Windows 8. The software provides real-time protection, boot-time protection, and cloud-based protection. Boot-time protection means Windows Defender is protecting your computer from the moment start your computer. Before we continue our Windows Defender review, we must note that Windows 7 and Windows Vista don’t have it. The “Windows Defender” on Windows 7 and Windows Vista is a different program.
Pros of Windows Defender include improved lab results and good protection against phishing. When third parties tested Microsoft’s previous versions of free anti-virus software, the scores were very low. Although Microsoft defended themselves claiming their anti-virus software performed well in their own telemetry, they’ve improved Windows Defender.
AV-Test Institute evaluated Windows Defender as 3/6 points in protection, 5/6 in performance, and 6/6 in usability. They consider Windows Defender a baseline anti-virus software. One area that this software excels at is antiphishing. When Neil J. Rubenking, a contributor to PCMag, tested it for antiphishing capabilities, Windows Defender outperformed most anti-virus software.
A downside of Windows Defender is other free anti-virus software usually provide better protection for your computer. Windows Defender doesn’t work well when another anti-virus program is installed on your computer either. You would have to disable one of them to use the other.
Windows Defender Interface
Windows Defender has a simplistic interface that’s easy to use. It achieved a perfect score in the usability category for AV-Test Institute’s lab test. Although Windows Defender automatically scans programs you open, you can conduct an in-depth scan through the interface. The software also updates itself, so that you don’t have to click any buttons.
Unlike some other anti-virus and anti-malware programs, Windows Defender doesn’t have annoying pop-ups or requests for upgrades. It doesn’t harvest your browsing history for profit either. The interface is free of ads, so you can use the program without being sold to. Features are organized intuitively among different tabs.
Sometimes Windows Defender will ask you to conduct an offline scan to finish removing harmful malware. This is because some malware is difficult to catch or quarantine while you’re connected to the Internet. You’ll need a blank DVD, CD, or USB with at least 250 MB of space to download Windows Defender. Then you use the download to scan and clean your computer of malware that escaped detection or removal before.
Windows Defender Best Features
- Comes with Windows 8 and Windows 10, so you usually don’t have to download anything. You just have to make sure it’s enabled if you plan on using it.
- Windows offers a Bootable Windows Defender Offline rescue disk as a separate download. This is helpful for cases in which you need to run a virus scan without an Internet connection.
- The Windows Defender interface has dedicated tabs for different features.
- An offline scan mode is available to remove stubborn threats.
- Real-time protection can be enabled or disabled.
- Provides boot-time protection, so your computer is protected while booting.
- Cloud-based protection is available, which can either be enabled or disabled.
- You can manually update virus definitions.
- As third party websites have stated in their Windows Defender reviews, the software is especially good at preventing phishing attacks.
- Fresh Start reinstalls Windows 10 on your computer in case you can’t get rid of certain malware. This feature keeps most of your files and settings intact.
- Firewall configuration and control has its own tab, making it easier to find.
- Windows Defender has a minimal impact on system performance.
- You can adjust the strictness level of SmartScreen, a feature that blocks or warns against untrusted apps.
- Windows Defender has Family options that you can set to protect your children when they use the computer. You can control the apps they install and filter content they can see on the Web. Family options also allow you to limit how much time they spend on the computer.
Windows Defender Compatibility
Windows Defender is compatible with Windows 8 and Windows 10. If you want the software on an older version of Windows, you’ll have to download Microsoft Security Essentials. Microsoft Security Essentials is an older, less effective version of this anti-virus software.
Just as Windows Defender won’t work with older versions of Windows, Microsoft Security Essentials isn’t compatible with Windows 8 and Windows 10. Windows Defender offers better malware protection, so you wouldn’t want Microsoft Security Essentials on a newer version of Windows. The software isn’t compatible with other anti-virus programs. It will usually automatically disable itself if you download another anti-virus software.
Similar to other Windows Defender reviews, we conclude that it’s a decent anti-virus software. However, there are a few free anti-virus programs that offer better protection. You might find it worth it to consider your other options in anti-virus software. This is especially true if you download files often from the Internet. Several reviewers consider Windows Defender a baseline anti-virus program.
What do you think of Windows Defender?