- No installation required
- Can be shut off on request
- Free for Windows 10
- Slows down your PC when running an antimalware scan
- Only protects emails through Microsoft clients
When looking for a free, safe, user-friendly antivirus for your Windows computer, there’s not much need to look further than the preinstalled Windows Defender Antivirus. Still, there’s a catch: since it comes as part of the complete Windows 10 package – as well as being compatible with the Windows 8 operating system – there could be questions surrounding its effectiveness. Having seen notable improvements since its earlier versions, however, Windows Defender Antivirus provides your system, files, and internet activities with fair protection against threats such as spyware, viruses, or malware. It comes with a number of new advanced, useful features, the most significant being the ransomware defense that is cloud-delivered in real time alongside a set of family options that enable family-protection controls. If you don’t like the hassle of multiple features or long installation processes, then this software might be for you since it requires no setting up, no management, and is able to shut itself off in case you download another antivirus onto your device.
It all starts when Windows is loaded and the free antivirus automatically beginning its scans for malware, security dangers, and viruses. Moreover, it downloads updates by itself to keep up with the latest threats. Of course, the software can start a scan manually whenever you are worried about the risk of a certain folder or file. As such, scans can be scheduled by yourself since this antivirus allows you to decide when and how often it should be done.
Another feature of Windows Defender is its ability to be shut off and restarted in instances where you want to cease the real-time protection. With its very well-organized layout, the interface of the program is easy to use and quite self-explanatory. It has four tabs with the main one being the “Home” tab where updates are downloaded, the latest scan can be viewed and the active status is displayed. Windows Defender Antivirus provides the necessary protection against threats not only while browsing the internet but also across email, apps, and the cloud.
Since it is built as an integrated part of the Windows operating system, this antivirus offers a certain level of real-time security against viruses, Trojans, and other malicious attacks for your system right from the start. However, while using your computer the tool also enables you to initiate a thorough scan or set your own scanning schedule for automatic system coverage.
Windows Defender Antivirus also enables you to estimate the overall security level of the system. It provides firewall and network protection, too, conferred while you are browsing the internet, enhanced by the option to run network troubleshooting and firewall verification for solid defense against viruses. As an added bonus, Windows Defender features family control mechanisms to facilitate limited access to certain apps, amount of screen time, and so on. And since the updates for this software are done automatically, there’s no need to worry about new threats. Since its updates are delivered through the cloud, Microsoft’s free antivirus can almost instantly detect and block any new or emerging threats.
It’s reasonably rapid when scanning for current threats, though it did admittedly slow the system down a bit while it was working. Since it has quite a user-friendly interface, the amount of user interaction that is necessary while scanning is minimal.
When it comes to extended security, Windows Defender Antivirus brings with it a number of tools of defense against malware, phishing attempts, emails, and ransomware. Malware protection is achieved through a signature matching technique that identifies such threats from a database of variations of already identified signatures. Bear in mind that when running a scan for malware on your computer, it will be slowed down, which is one of the few disadvantages of this program.
Phishing protection is made possible with this free antivirus because of its firewall and network security guard called SmartScreen, a filter that enables the phishing security. When it comes to the email defense, however, the software is able to block any threatening email attachments. Unfortunately, the issue here is that this only works with Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Office 365, and so if you use any other email client or web browser, then the function will not work.
You’ll need to manually enable ransomware security within the software’s settings. Through this the program will make a list of the suggested protected folders, though add files can be added manually to this. With this protection active, any unauthorized programs are prevented from affecting the files in the Documents, Music, Videos, or Favorites folders.
Since it is an incorporated as part of Windows 10, Windows Defender Antivirus can run exclusively on this operating system absolutely free of charge. However, to acquire Windows 10 for home use, you’ll have to pay the license fee for the OS, which is $139. Or if you are running a business, there is Windows 10 Pro which costs $199.99. As you probably know, when Windows 10 was initially released, it was possible to upgrade your computer to this operating system for free, but this offer was ceased by Microsoft in 2016.
So, if you do not use Microsoft Windows for your computer, then this free antivirus cannot be installed. Payment options for Windows 10 include debit and credit cards, PayPal transfers, or even in cash at a physical Microsoft store near you. There is a 30-day money-back policy set in place for returns and refunds, just in case you decide to stick with your old version of the operating system.
Microsoft makes its support options available through its Windows Support page with a list of comprehensive FAQs where the company’s representatives can be contacted directly via telephone or live chat. The customer service agents are quick to respond, as proven when we received the answers we needed quickly through the live chat, though we felt their representative was a bit too aggressive on making a sale.
The good thing is that here you can find the assistance you need for any issues being encountered when setting up Windows 10. The personnel we talked to, however, responded to our questions quickly and were quite courteous. The company responded to our queries on their Facebook page, as well, though admittedly with a certain delay. On the Microsoft website you’ll also find the company’s blog where it’s possible to read about the latest news on its products and a community page with detailed answers to different issues previously mentioned by clients.
Windows Defender Antivirus comes as a free tool integrated into the Windows 10 operating system, offering basic but fair protection for your computer. It comes with quite a range of features covering the basics such as the automatic, manual, and scheduled scans or added bonuses like parental control. There are a number of extended protection features, in fact, delivering enhanced security for your device.
The software can be turned on and off on request and it will even shut down if you decide to set up another antivirus. While it does not require any setting up or management actions, there are certain options that have to be manually activated if you want it to deliver its maximum defense. Even though it is free, it only comes together with the Windows 10 license. As such, if you are a user of the Microsoft operating systems and you don’t like the hassle of setting up an antivirus by yourself, then Windows Defender Antivirus is a perfectly acceptable right choice for protecting your system.
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