Windows Defender ranked one of the best antivirus solutions

midian182

TechSpot Editor
Staff member

In the German independent research institute’s May/June 2019 ‘best antivirus software for Windows Home Users’ report, Windows Defender is one of four products to receive perfect 6 out of 6 scores in the protection, performance, and usability categories.

Windows Defender shared the top honors with F-Secure SAFE, Kaspersky Internet Security, and Norton Security, but Microsoft’s software has a significant advantage over those three: it comes free with Windows 10, while the others are paid-for options.

AV's test results show that Windows Defender managed to block 100 percent of its 307-sample zero-day malware corpus and 100 percent of its 2,428-sample general test corpus. The software was also shown to have little performance impact.

A couple of other free antivirus products just missed out on a perfect score. AVG and Avast recorded a total of 17.5 out of 18, both dropping half a point in the protection category. The lowest scorer, meanwhile, was Webroot SecureAnywhere 9.0, which had a total of 11.5.

Windows Defender has come a long way since it released as Microsoft Security Essentials a decade ago, after which it spent years regularly coming bottom in AV-Test’s results. Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President, Brad Anderson, promoted the good news on Twitter, adding that Defender is also the most commonly used Antivirus in the enterprise—it just missed out on another perfect score for business users.

You can download the latest Windows Defender definition updates here.

Do you rely on Windows Defender to protect your PC, or do you prefer a third-party solution? Let us know in the comments below.

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veLa

TS Evangelist
How the heck did Norton make it to the top listings? If McAfee was on there, I would definitely say the results were garbage.
From a corporate IT standpoint, Symantec's Endpoint Protection has been an absolute wonder for my organization.

During a recent malware scare, every system with Symantec was protected. As for all the systems that were just running Malwarebytes, let's just say it took some man power and hours to remediate the issue.

I think part of Norton's bad reputation with tech enthusiasts stems from the early days where security software really slowed systems down.
 

Theinsanegamer

TS Evangelist
How the heck did Norton make it to the top listings? If McAfee was on there, I would definitely say the results were garbage.
From a corporate IT standpoint, Symantec's Endpoint Protection has been an absolute wonder for my organization.

During a recent malware scare, every system with Symantec was protected. As for all the systems that were just running Malwarebytes, let's just say it took some man power and hours to remediate the issue.

I think part of Norton's bad reputation with tech enthusiasts stems from the early days where security software really slowed systems down.
My workplace also uses SEP, and I can assure you Norton's garbage reputation still holds up for a reason.

SEP still manages to get disabled by certain pieces of malware, allowing the system to become infected. We routinely see a couple dozen a year. That should not be happening with A/V installed, especially when the users do not have admin rights to install much of anything. We still dont know how it happens.

SEP also FUBARd several of our windows server 2016 machines, certain updates screwing with network cards and a t least one instance where SEP thought a driver file was a virus and, in response, disabled all networking, requiring us to physically reboot the server (a nice half our drive to do so). We have since moved to webroot and said issues have disappeared.

Norton's other products are also still pure hot trash. Altiris barely works, it can take days for a machine to show up, the response graphs showing completion rate and failures are never accurate, not even close, and the UI is laggy as all hell. Ghost is ridiculously behind the times, slow, and despite multicast still grinds to a halt if a single machine fails.

There is a reason techies hate Norton, and no it is not because they made a boo-boo 20 years ago. For some reason people think techies hold grudges for insanely long periods of time.
 

OutlawCecil

TS Evangelist
As an IT person, my professional opinion on these results is this: pppppppfffffffaahahahahaha

Webroot is best for performance vs protection but it's a whole new type of cloud scanning engine so it's rarely compared correctly to other antivirus programs.
 

Bullwinkle M

TS Booster
Aren't A/Vs kinda passe' nowadays anyhow? There're other technologies that work better than an A/V. (IMHO)
Yes, that is correct!

I'm currently using an Antivirus that expired in 2015 on Windows XP-SP2 without ANY Microsoft security updates and have not had a virus problem for years

Manual mitigations against Flash / Silverlight / Java / Net Framework / RDP & other threats works fine for me

The XP boot drive is Read-Only and any problems disappear with a simple reboot

I use it for studying online threats and have NEVER had a problem with any type of ransomware

If you know what you are doing, you are much more likely to have problems with email and online services than a Windows Box you have full control over

However.....
You have ZERO control over Windows 10 and no way to fix it by yourself

Microsoft now determines how and when you will be infected
Usually with "updates"
LOL
 
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texasrattler

TS Evangelist
I have n used Windows Defender and MSE for over a decade on 7 and 10. Never had any issues nor any performance issues in games. Why pay for something that is a scam to begin with. There is NO anti virus that can stop everything.
Don't click on links you shouldn't, don't go to web sites that you shouldn't, pay attention to what you install and in most cases you should be fine.

You can also use Malwarebytes, it can be installed right along with Defender or any other AV.
 

Burty117

TechSpot Chancellor
As an IT person, my professional opinion on these results is this: pppppppfffffffaahahahahaha

Webroot is best for performance vs protection but it's a whole new type of cloud scanning engine so it's rarely compared correctly to other antivirus programs.
Exactly, I've tried quite a few anti-virus programs over the last 10 years, Webroot has been the best by far. It's actively caught stuff Sophos, Norton, AVG just didn't pickup or do anything about and it did a better job without anywhere near the performance hit of the others. A colleague of mine has asked Webroot for a response to these test results but a few commenters I think have already hit the nail on the head:

Thanks for bringing this to our attention. Just replying to some of the comments on here; relying on signature based methods is not going to be very effective these days because of polymorphic malware, that’s why Webroot stood apart from the others years ago when we first switched to them. It relied and still does rely on heuristics to determine whether a process is malicious or not. My understanding is that Webroot protects again active threats on a system so if you have a malicious executable on your system that doesn’t ever run and it’s not in a location that Webroot regularly scans, it may never get picked up until it does run. That could be why it scored so low…

Someone from Webroot should address why the score is so low, that is somewhat concerning...
I'm not concerned but I think its time for Webroot to start trying to educate within their marketing material a little more.
 
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DukeJukem

TS Booster
Windows defender is a terrible antivirus solution. even after being supposedly disabled by 3rd party programs you'll find the services for it are still running. windows defender also does not let u modify certain settings of your system until you completely kill it via safe mode. windows defender is practically malware for people who know how to use their computer
 

Brett H

TS Rookie
I wouldn't trust anything security wise that bought MCafee. Nor with the consistent holes in every aspect of their OS's. This is the safest OS ever. Sure it is. Remember Windows Millennium? The best thing was the free plastic watch they gave me. We use it because we basically have to in order for communication with our families who may or may not be tech savy.
 

Hexic

TS Evangelist
How the heck did Norton make it to the top listings? If McAfee was on there, I would definitely say the results were garbage.
From a corporate IT standpoint, Symantec's Endpoint Protection has been an absolute wonder for my organization.

During a recent malware scare, every system with Symantec was protected. As for all the systems that were just running Malwarebytes, let's just say it took some man power and hours to remediate the issue.

I think part of Norton's bad reputation with tech enthusiasts stems from the early days where security software really slowed systems down.
I work for a multinational biomedical company, and we use Symantec - and haven’t had an issue to date with it, as far as operating procedures and protection... and we use this on dozens of different types of devices.
 
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Kibaruk

TechSpot Paladin
This is definitely interesting, as I remember there was a point were Windows Defender was actually useful and highly praised for quite a while, until it was not. It went down from the top 90s detection rate to low 70s and then no one liked it anymore. I'm thinking maybe between 5-10 years now.

I hope it remains like this and everyone is 'truly' better protected now.
 

treetops

TS Evangelist
Remember when a windows update broke systems running the most popular av software a few months back. Pepperidge Farm remembers.
 
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gollum21

TS Enthusiast
I've stopped using WIndows Defender for about 3 or 4 months ago. I can't say how it is now, but I would not trust this to keep your computer infection free. When I tried the malwarebytes trial it found a decent amount of items beyond just potentially unwanted programs that Windows Defender missed. I ended up going with a different free personal solution instead. Seriously, just do a trial of any decent protection software against Defender and you'll probably see some things it missed.
 

xpwjintel

TS Rookie
Is it true that most tech shop are recommending personal computer/laptops running window 10 to NOT install any 3rd party antivirus and/or malware software?
 

Puiu

TS Evangelist
Windows defender is a terrible antivirus solution. even after being supposedly disabled by 3rd party programs you'll find the services for it are still running. windows defender also does not let u modify certain settings of your system until you completely kill it via safe mode. windows defender is practically malware for people who know how to use their computer
Don't say things out of context. Windows defender enables itself when windows detects an unsupported AV solution or one with problems. Recent windows updates forced AV developers to stop running "malicious code" in the some areas of windows. The Client Server Runtime Process changes were particularly severe for most AV programs. Instead of cheap problematic hacks they now actually need to write good code for them to run properly.

You are also clearly not in the know about how good AV software are and just spouting nonsense. It's ok to comment, but when it comes to AV solutions, it's prolly best for you to not give advice. You clearly have a hidden agenda and don't care about anything else. People might take you seriously and install some crappy free AV.
 

lazer

TS Addict
I am afraid to use Micro$lop stuff; their updates are more like up-breaks. I have used AVG and now am using Avast. Also I don't get involved with shady sites and don't open emails from people I do not know nor follow links unless I know it to be reliable.
 

Puiu

TS Evangelist
I've stopped using WIndows Defender for about 3 or 4 months ago. I can't say how it is now, but I would not trust this to keep your computer infection free. When I tried the malwarebytes trial it found a decent amount of items beyond just potentially unwanted programs that Windows Defender missed. I ended up going with a different free personal solution instead. Seriously, just do a trial of any decent protection software against Defender and you'll probably see some things it missed.
Malware is not the main goal of Windows Defender. It's why you have dedicated malware solutions. Just so you know, most of the extra things detected by Malwarebytes are not actually harmful. Mostly cookies and other stuff left behind by ads from not so clean websites. Malwarebytes doesn't do viruses and other important things for which you need a proper AV solution. It's complimentary software, not a replacement for the real thing.

If you are really concerned about security (and maybe privacy too) then I recommend you give Bitdefender a try.
 
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GeforcerFX

TS Evangelist
I use defender/ MSE on all my personal system and test all the mainstream guys for work/fun. MSE has never let me down as far as basic av goes, but I also have a brain and don't download much. I compare it to the other major brands and the other free stuff on my own and generally life defender as the best free solution, cleaner less annoyance about buying the full edition, for premiums Norton has always done ok but the constant messaging gets annoying and requires tweaking to get it to stop, Mcafee has improved a good amount on the user interface and system resource usage in the last 3 years and has always been decent on the defense side, webroot has never done much for me but I know many who swear by it, and AVG has always been a hot pile of garbage free or premium. This is all consumer stuff not business or enterprise and it changes so often and I only mess around with it once or twice a year. Good to see defender is still improving.