Having a strong anti-virus software installed on your computer is important when it comes to the overall security of the system. With so many applications now connecting to the Internet and information coming and going without you even knowing about it, the lack of a strong firewall and security presence leaves you open to all kinds of malware, spyware, and other such problems. Microsoft includes Windows Defender with the Windows operating system. But how good is Windows Defender, and is it the right application for your computer?
What Is Windows Defender?
Microsoft packages several applications with its operating system. Many of these programs are more filler than designed to be staple programs. Usually good enough for the basic user, but for someone who uses their computer more than for checking emails and editing word documents it’s usually critical to find more powerful and comprehensive programs. Windows Defender falls under this category. While you might wonder how good is Windows Defender, you also need to compare it to what else is out there.
Windows Defender is an anti-virus safeguard on your computer system. It implements a firewall to provide a basic wall of protection around what’s coming and going through your Internet connection. It also has anti-virus measures that scan over files asking to bypass the firewall. Having an anti-virus program on your computer system is critical.
If you turn off Windows Defender and don’t have any other anti-virus protection in place, you risk all kinds of malicious files embedding into your computer. This ranges from malware that will harm your system to spyware capable of recording keystrokes, taking screen shots, and stealing your personal financial information, social media login credentials, and a number of other important information.
For years, Microsoft did not bundle much in the way of security features into its operating system. While it had a system firewall in place, it lacked in anti-virus protection. This made it far more susceptible to external threats and forced users to rely on third-party applications for the security. Recently, Microsoft decided to take security more seriously and upgrade its Windows Defender application. However, it is up to you to decide how good is Windows Defender and whether it is the right security program for you or if you should turn your attention to third-party applications to protect your device.
How Good Is Windows Defender?
The latest rendition of Windows Defender is better than it has been. Microsoft is now finally deciding to get serious with regards to its anti-virus features and protection of your computer. However, that doesn’t mean it is the best option out there. To answer the question, how good is Windows Defender, you need to look at a few variables before deciding whether to stay with what is on your computer or go with something new.
The main benefit of Windows Defender is the price. Because it’s bundled with the Windows operating system, the whole application including the firewall and virus scanner are included at no added cost to the end user. Now, there are other free services available, so if you want to dig deeper into the varying applications and what each is able to offer there are opportunities for you to do so.
However, if you’re not much into testing out different anti-virus programs or doing extensive research to find which is the best option for you, Windows Defender is fine. As long as you don’t open strange email attachments you should be good to go. As long as you avoid file sharing services which allow people to upload and download files from other users, you likely won’t run into a problem.
Updates Provided By Windows
One of the best features of Windows Defender is you don’t need to wait for a third party designer to upgrade the application based on the latest Windows operating system update. When Windows updates its operating system, it is the first to know new files and how everything works. This means Windows Defender is often the first anti-virus software to receive operating system based updates. For other programs, the designers need to look at the system updates and upgrade the application accordingly. In some instances, this can take longer than you’d like.
The Downsides of Windows Defender
There are several downsides when it comes to looking at how good is Windows Defender. These downsides are what will potentially prompt you into buying a new anti-virus program and to see what else is out there. For starters, while the application provides the operating system based updates first, it is not always the first to release security updates. Other applications dedicated specifically to protecting your computer will often receive these updates faster (it may only be the difference of a few days, or even a few weeks, but when it comes to computer safety, it only takes a moment for a virus to push into your computer).
The pay services are often more comprehensive and provide greater scanning features and in-depth security features, but there are free options out there that work exceptionally well and may even provide you with features you like better. One of the best courses of action is to look up user reviews of different applications to see what is said about each and even go off of professional security websites to see which they recommend.
Tech websites are excellent locations for information as these services will test different benchmarks to see which security application works best and then give a (typically) un-biased opinion on what works better than others.
There are tons of other options out there. It comes down to what you’re interested in and what you want to use on your computer.
Should You Consider Other Options?
When you open up your brand new computer and get it up and running, you will have security features right out of the gate. Now, when you boot up the system, it will probably need to download a host of updates. Let your computer do this. It will include some operating system updates, default application updates, and most likely some Windows Defender updates. For the time being, your computer has basic security and you’ll be alright.
Now, the big question is should you consider other options. Windows Defender has some suitable security features that, when looking at how good is Windows Defender, you’ll find it does have some security options that are fine when you’re just getting started, so at least you don’t need to worry about it right away. However, in terms of the best security options out there, if you do even basic research you’ll discover there are plenty of better options out there to consider.
McAfee Antivirus Plus
According to PC Magazine, this is an Editor’s Choice security platform. It gives you a number of security features and can also run on Apple iOS devices, so you can protect all of your desktop and mobile applications. Now, it does have a sticker price that can range from $19.99 to $59.99, and this is something you’ll likely need to pay annually, but when it comes to the best of the best, this is at the top of the list.
Symantec Norton AntiVirus Basic
Norton is another name brand when it comes to security protocol and applications. It is also another one you’ll need to pay for, ranging from $19.99 to $49.99 annually. If you don’t do much with your Internet connection, you may not need to pay for this upgrade (similar to McAfee), but if you do online banking and work from your computer, it’s a good idea to go with an upgraded option over what Windows Defender offers you.
Bitdefender Antivirus Plus
This is another excellent option you should consider. It doesn’t have as much name recognition as McAfee and Norton, but it has quickly become one of the top rated anti-virus applications out there. It does have a free version you can use, so you can test it out before you take the plunge of buying it. However, you’ll likely find the platform and ease of use design will make it a better option than Windows Defender, but again it comes down to what you like, if you want to pay for anti-virus protection, and if you’d rather just go with what Windows offers you.
When it comes down to your computer system, there’s no such thing as taking Internet security and system safety too seriously. While Microsoft provides Windows Defender, it isn’t always the best option. Now, the software has improved in recent years and on the most recent operating systems. However, when considering how good is Windows Defender, you’ll find there are plenty of other third-party applications, both free and subscription based, that work better than Windows Defender.
It all comes down to whether you want to test different programs, read up on product reviews or even pay for a subscription to an anti-virus program. Windows Defender is an adequate anti-virus service. You need to decide whether adequate is good enough.