How to Use Windows Defender and Be Happy

January 15, 2020

Activate Activate Activate

You have 500 issues to fix… Please pay $100/year to upgrade basic features

Currently consuming 20% CPU and 15% of your Memory doing nothing

If any of the above things are familiar, you may be using an antivirus product that was either preinstalled with your computer, or that you installed because you wanted to be safe from the viruses easily obtained on the internet. But what if I told you that there’s no reason to keep giving these shady security companies money?

Is Windows Defender secure enough in 2020?

AV-TEST is an institute that runs tests on antivirus software and other things to gauge how secure one product may be compared to another. In their most recent test from October 2019, it shows that Windows Defender scores just as well as other antivirus software. This puts it in the same class as many paid antivirus software, but here you’re getting it for free built into the OS! That’s not to mention that the performance of Windows Defender ranks among the best, meaning that your computer won’t be running slower just because of poorly programmed antivirus suites. Here’s a few tables of where Microsoft Defender ranks:

Category Industry Average Microsoft Defender
Protection against 0-days 97.7% 100%
Detection of recent popular malware 99.9% 100%
Slowdown on popular websites 10-11% 3-4%
Slower download on popular apps 1% 0%
Slower launch of popular apps 9-13% 9-11%
Slower install of popular apps 31-38% 28-38%
Slower copying of files 3-4% 0-1%
False detections 4 1

All numbers from October 2019 found at AV-TEST. The range of numbers is for low-end and high-end PC comparisons.

Is it worth paying for other antivirus software?

Generally I’m going to say the answer is no. Windows Defender will only get better at time, especially with more users using it. As someone who downloads a lot of files from sometimes sketchy websites, I don’t find the value that other antiviruses give to be very high. Especially with the annoying nags, constant requests to update, and just another thing your computer needs to boot up.. I don’t think that antivirus software is very competitive with Windows unless you’re a corporation that needs that last 0.1% of antivirus detection. Or maybe if your grandma just opens too many suspicious attachments from Outlook.

Written by Paul Sauve. Software & Tech