If your computer system is running on one of the newer versions of Windows OS, it came with an integrated Windows Defender, an anti-virus and anti-malware protection to ensure it is safe from potential threats and security risks. This means that even without third-party virus protection software, your computer already has its own immunity from vulnerabilities. The question, however, will your default defender suffice?
When Microsoft released Windows Defender in 2006, it was designed to be an anti spyware for Windows XP and Windows 2003. Later, it became a built-in anti-spyware for Windows 7 and Vista but was replaced by an antivirus program with a broader scope of protection and was known as Microsoft Security Essentials. But Window Defender was upgraded and to function as a default antivirus program for Windows 8 and Windows 10.
What Windows Defender Does
With the advanced features added to the built-in program, it now offers real-time protection as an option for users as well as browser integration. The latter feature scans downloaded files to track malicious software in Microsoft web browsers but not with other browsers like Google and Firefox. It also runs and does its functions with the user barely noticing it as it does not come with pop-ups and does not interfere with whatever the user is doing while a scan is ongoing. More importantly, it is free but unlike other free antivirus software, it does not offer products.
According to security monitoring entities that conduct tests of antivirus software, Windows Defender is an average performer. Based on Protection, Performance, and Usability, its scores are 3, 4.5 and 5.5, respectively, with 6 as the highest rating. Results showed that it got a fair score for protection. Whereas on another test which made a comparison among anti-virus software, the protection it provides is the same as what McAfee offers. However, other contenders, such as AVG, Avast, and Avira, were given higher scores.
Despite its shortcomings, this default protection software still works well for simple applications like Facebook and YouTube, although it helps to be vigilant for potential malware and viruses that covertly embed themselves on downloaded files and emails. If these are regularly performed when you connect to the internet, it’s safe to say that you cannot and should not expect Windows Defender to be a fortress against attacks.
In fairness to this program, there is no perfect anti-virus and anti-malware from cyber threats. This is why it is best to look at your options and make a sound decision if you will be content with this default anti-virus software that is free or install an alternative.
As mentioned above, it all depends on how you use your computer. If you use it extensively for downloading, you might as well invest in one that offers more security. Conversely, if you prefer usability and basic protection, then this software is good enough for your system. But, if you are using Windows 10 and want an alternative, you can check out the best free antivirus for your system.