Here’s an update to a topic discussed in my January 31, 2019, post “Best PC anti-virus — free or not” and whether Microsoft Windows 10’s built-in Windows Defender is adequate for many PC users.
PC World > “Windows Security review: There are better options, but not for the ‘price’” – Windows Security (nee Windows Defender) has come a long way by Ian Paul (Dec 12, 2019).
For years, the attitude towards Windows 10’s built-in security was that it’s a nice idea, but you really shouldn’t rely on it. That stared changing in 2019, with the major testing houses giving Windows Security top marks.
Could it be true? Can you really ditch your $100 annual antivirus subscription and rely on Microsoft’s native solution instead? Here’s our opinion.
The current version allows you to run four different kinds of scans, all of which are pretty standard for antivirus.
For anyone who uses free, third-party antivirus, the new Windows Security offers pretty much all you need. Windows Security also has the added benefit of not harrassing you with notifications to upgrade to a paid product every few days.
In addition, there’s an option for controlled folder access to keep malicious programs away from sensitive folders. If Windows Security misidentifies an app as unfriendly you can also whitelist it. This section is also where you can set up OneDrive for ransomware data recovery.
Going back to the settings for Virus & threat protection, you can set up specific folders so they won’t be scanned, and adjust your notification settings.
Then the App & browser control is where you manage Windows SmartScreen for apps and file downloads, browsing on Microsoft Edge, and the Microsoft Store.
This section exposes one downside of Windows Security: It doesn’t really do as much as other third-party suites can do for third-party browsers.
See the full article for commentary on how Windows Defender did in evaluations by testing labs: AV-Test, AV-Comparatives, SE Labs.
From these results we can gather that Windows Security is highly cloud dependent for malware detection, and probably isn’t up to the job if your PC spends a good amount of time disconnected from the internet. It also means there are still far better choices for protection despite Windows Defender’s top ranking.
Windows Security offers good protection, but if you look at the testing comparisons to other suites, there are still better options. Nevertheless, Windows Security has come a long way and should continue to improve its basic protection and detection capabilities.