By virtue of the rates of increased computer virus risks and heightened potentials of malware attacks in modern times, the momenta at which antivirus software applications are being reviewed, modified and/or churned out have been reconcilable. Most of these antimalware programs have however been third-party products. This trend was essentially bucked with the introduction of the Microsoft Windows Defender (formerly known as Microsoft Security Essentials in Windows 7 OS and below) into the antimalware landscape in recent times. As obtainable from the results of most tests carried out by various computer antivirus evaluation organizations, it is evident to connote that although Microsoft Windows Defender comes with a number of useful and beneficial characteristics; its overall performances are fundamentally mediocre when compared to other antivirus solutions. For instance, AV-TEST revealed that the May-Jun 2017 Real-World Testing on protection against malware attacks by Microsoft Windows Defender was merely 99% as against the industry average of 100% for the same period.
Microsoft Windows Defender Features
- Fully integrated into the computer operating system already, thereby eliminating the necessity of having to download and install other antimalware applications in most cases.
- Automatically updates when the Latest System Updates option on the Windows OS is enabled.
- Notable ability to promptly respond to risks of potential malware attacks through its Cloud-based Block at First Sight technology.
- Outstanding capability to automatically scan USB drives for potential threats as soon as they are plugged into the computer.
- Microsoft Windows Defender has a spectacular attribute that assists in detecting and removing some categories of malware that prevent access to the system applications through its Windows Defender Offline feature that makes use of either compact disks and/or USB drives that enable the user to run the antivirus software from a removable and bootable storage device.
Microsoft Windows Defender Pros
- It is absolutely free.
- Runs on any Windows System thus enhancing flexibility.
- Requires no installation; it’s fully integrated into the operating system.
- Exceptional auto-update features that make the user experience worthwhile.
- Provides an opportunity to scan a computer from a trusted environment through the use of its bootable rescue disks.
- Very easy to use such that some users are unaware of its presence on their computer systems.
- Even though it doesn’t provide the outright best antivirus/ antimalware protection, Microsoft Windows Defender has been steadily improving over the years in its threat detection and removal abilities.
Microsoft Windows Defender Cons
- Absence of useful features found on most of the other antivirus software applications such as Parental Control functions and Safe Banking tools.
- High system impact when scanning the computer leading to diminished performance rates.
- Scanning takes a lengthy period of time.
- Unreliable at guaranteeing data protection and/or information safety.
- Poor virus and malware detection/ removal efficiencies have mostly been the hallmark of Microsoft Windows Defender.
Microsoft Windows Defender System Requirements
- Intel Pentium 233 MHz or higher CPU speed
- 64 MB RAM (minimum)
- 20 MB or more free hard disk space
- Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 or higher
- 32/64-bit Windows 8, 8.1 or 10
Microsoft Windows Defender is a built-in application and thus, cannot be installed or uninstalled (as clearly stated on https://www.microsoft.com) but can only be enabled or disabled.
To enable Microsoft Windows Defender, simply follow the steps below;
- Go to the Search Charm and open the Run command
- Type in msc and click Open
- Under the Local Computer Policy, click on Administrative Templates
- Right-click on Windows Components under Settings
- Double-click on Turn Off Windows Defender and select the Not Configured option
- Apply changes and exit setup
- Search for Microsoft Windows Defender from Start and click on Start Now when the dialog box opens
To disable Microsoft Windows Defender, follow the instructions below;
- Open Registry Editor by typing regedit in the Run Command Dialog Box
- Select Software > Policies > Microsoft > Windows Defender
- Right-click on the description panel, select DWORD under New and type in DisableAntispyware
- Right-click on the new key; click Modify and set the value from 0 to 1 to disable Microsoft Windows Defender
- Restart your system to save changes