Windows Defender was originally known as Microsoft Security Essentials back in the Windows 7 days when it was offered as a separate download, but now it’s built right into Windows and it’s enabled by default. Many people have been trained to believe that you should always install a third-party antivirus, but that isn’t the best solution for today’s security problems, like ransomware.
Windows 10 won’t hassle you to install an antivirus like Windows 7 did. Since Windows 8, Windows now includes a built-in free antivirus called Windows Defender. But is it really the best for protecting your PC–or even just good enough
We definitely recommend you read the entire article so you fully understand why we recommend a combination of Windows Defender and Malwarebytes, but since we know that tons of people will just scroll down and skim, here is our TL;DR recommendation for how to keep your system secure:
- Use the Built-in Windows Defender for traditional antivirus – the criminals have moved on from regular viruses to focus on Ransomware, zero-day attacks, and even worse malware that traditional antivirus just can’t handle. Windows Defender is built right in, blazing fast, doesn’t annoy you, and does its job cleaning old-school viruses.
- Use Malwarebytes for Anti-Malware and Anti-Exploit – all of the huge malware outbreaks these days are using zero-day flaws in your browser to install ransomware to take over your PC, and only Malwarebytes provides really excellent protection against this with their unique anti-exploit system. There’s no bloatware and it won’t slow you down.
2. Windows Defender
When you install Windows 10, you’ll have an antivirus program already running. Windows Defender comes built-in to Windows 10, and automatically scans programs you open, downloads new definitions from Windows Update, and provides an interface you can use for in-depth scans. Best of all, it doesn’t slow down your system, and mostly stays out of your way—which we can’t say about most other antivirus programs.
- Microsoft told us that this was because its Smart Screen browser-protection feature flags any unknown file as potential malware, and that AV-Comparatives chalked up a false positive every time that happened.
- For its February-March 2020 tests, AV-Comparatives reportedly turned Smart Screen off, and Defender came away with only five false positives.