Windows Defender review, manual and guides

by Olivia Morelli - -

Windows Defender review

Windows Defender, or Windows Defender Antivirus, is an anti-malware program that has been developed by Microsoft Inc.

As you might know, the Windows Defender is usually built into the system itself, so, if you are using Windows 8.1 or above, you can be sure that the application simply runs in the background.[1]

Pros Cons Verdict

Free, built-in program

Virus detection and removal is still mediocre

A lightweight solution with average results

Lightweight and doesn’t take up much system memory

Real-time protection is average

Doesn't disturb you with tons of notifications

Doesn’t have a lot of advanced features

Windows Defender test results

Our team tested Windows Defender for about a month. We installed various pieces of malware and used other methods to check, whether the program is able to detect threats. Let's take a look at the results.

Virus detection and removal

Firstly, to indicate the effectiveness of the new Windows Defender application, we carried out a few different types of tests. The number one test was to install Windows Defender on a heavily infected PC and then scan the whole system to find out how many threats Windows Defender could actually remove.

The results were a bit mediocre – the new version of Windows Defender successfully removed more than a half of the threats, but that ranks the application only in the middle among others.

Another test we carried out is installing samples of viruses while Windows Defender was running. That would test the real effectiveness of the real-time protection.

Windows Defender detects and removes about half of the threats.

The results were not as good as with the first test. Windows Defender identified and successfully removed only half of the threats. That would rank Windows Defender at the bottom compared to the other products in the competition.[2]

Of course, one side of the story with Windows Defender is that it’s free – it is a built-in program that doesn’t need any license keys, so it's a great budget choice.

If you have a legitimate Windows version, you shouldn’t have any problems with this app. But then, there’s another side of the story – there are lots of other anti-virus software manufacturers that give out free versions of their programs too.

And, according to our tests, most of the free versions from other manufacturers (such as AVG) are by far more effective, as also indicated by Chris Hoffman at How to Geek.[3]

A slight improvement

However, we must also admit that Windows Defender has recently improved. The previous versions of this program showed even worse results both in catching the already existing viruses in the system, and a really mediocre real-time protection.

One good thing about Windows Defender is that it doesn’t use a lot of resources on your PC. In addition to that, you won’t be bothered with too many notifications, like you could while using other programs. In that way, you could say that Windows Defender has its own advantages, but if you want something more than a mediocre protection, you should really look somewhere else.

User interface and performance

As you can see, Windows Defender has a small home screen that looks pretty much the same like every other Windows built-in application. It doesn’t have a lot of features, just the most basic ones.

Windows Defender update status

You will be able to quick-scan your system and it will take about ten minutes. Talking about the full scan, it might take up 2 to 4 hours to finish.

We didn’t see any impact on the system on boot nor did we feel that it slowed down the system performance. It is safe to say that Windows Defender takes up no more than 4 percent of the Windows 10 operational system.

The program does not impact the system performance.

It might be said that the performance of Windows Defender is quite good in that way that it doesn’t take up much space and it doesn’t slow down your computer.

However, it also doesn’t give you the best anti-malware and anti-virus solution – you are still pretty exposed on the web, that’s why we recommend using a third party software to be completely safe.

Customer service

You can press the blue question button and you will be able to find the answers to frequently asked questions in the Windows Defender Help database.

If you want help from a real person, it will be a lot harder – you will have to fill in a form about your issue and then wait for somebody to contact you.

We have tried that and it took us about a week to get an answer. In general, it is not the best customer service experience we had, but also not the worst. 

Windows Defender in a nutshell

Windows Defender is by far not in the elite of anti-virus programs, but we have to give praises to the developers at Microsoft for constantly improving this software.

Windows Defender section

If a built-in program reaches the same level as the third-party ones, then people will start using the built-in program instead of buying anything, and that’s why other developers should not take Windows Defender as a joke and they should really find ways to improve their software too. 

Windows Defender Security Center

Windows Defender Security Center allows users an ability to understand, control and monitor the security processes and features that protects Windows 10 devices. Windows Defender Security Center includes five sections: Virus and Threat Protection, Device Performance and Health, Firewall and Network Protection, App and Browser Control, and Family options. 

If you want to find out more about Windows Defender Security Center, click here.

The final verdict

It could be clearly stated that Microsoft is doing a better job with the new Windows Defender version, however, it is still a long way to go if they really want to compete with such brands as AVG, ESET NOD 32, Kaspersky, or Norton. 

The main problem is the anti-virus and malware protection mechanism, which doesn’t give decent results. If you had an application with good results that works as smoothly and takes the same amount of RAM like Windows Defender does, we would definitely recommend using it. But at the moment, we recommend checking out other applications.

About the author

Olivia Morelli
Olivia Morelli - Senior Media writer

Olivia Morelli is a senior media writer on Her favorite topic to write about is ransomware attacks and how to deal with them, but she also enjoys covering the topics of other types of malware and VPNs.

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