Microsoft Defender Antivirus Overview

Microsoft Defender Antivirus is the #1 ranked solution in our list of top Anti-Malware Tools. It is most often compared to Symantec End-user Endpoint Security: Microsoft Defender Antivirus vs Symantec End-user Endpoint Security

What is Microsoft Defender Antivirus?
Windows Defender Pro is your first line of defense against spyware and other unwanted software. And in Windows 7, it's easier to use, with simpler notifications, more scanning options, and less impact on your computer's performance.

Microsoft Defender Antivirus is also known as Microsoft Windows Defender, Windows Defender, Microsoft System Center Endpoint Protection.

Microsoft Defender Antivirus Buyer's Guide

Download the Microsoft Defender Antivirus Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: January 2021

Microsoft Defender Antivirus Customers
Al-Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic University, Auckland Transport, Erste Bank Group, Urban Software Institute, NJVC, Sheraton Hotels and Resorts
Microsoft Defender Antivirus Video

Pricing Advice

What users are saying about Microsoft Defender Antivirus pricing:
  • "The product is free of charge and comes integrated into Windows."
  • "I pay for it through the Windows Professional or Standard license. It is a one-time cost for me, and I use the same license."
  • "The solution is free."

Microsoft Defender Antivirus Reviews

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InfosecAn677
Information Security Analyst at a financial services firm with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Jul 18, 2019
A security implementation that supplies proactive issue resolution with cloud analytics and APT

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use for the solution is threat detection and response.

Pros and Cons

  • "This is a very go, proactive solution to threat protection using advanced analysis."
  • "Updates are not coming out of preview quickly enough and it is holding back on the development of the product."

What other advice do I have?

I'd say the product rates about an eight out of ten as it currently stands. You have to implement the product — there's no choice. You can't use the exchange online protection or the advanced analytics or obscure identity IP protection without the APT being installed on the endpoint. Otherwise you're not getting into threat intelligence or the actions. You're not going to get the full response plan or activities that occurred. You cannot deploy without APT being installed on the desktops and have a full, defined solution for unified labeling. That has to be deployed and tested for unstructured…
John-Maina
Navision Consultant and user support at NCPD
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Apr 21, 2020
If any viruses are found, they are cleaned automatically

What is our primary use case?

I have used Windows Defender to protect my computer from viruses or harmful websites on either flash drives and other removable devices when I am online which tend to attack my computer and corrupt it causing inefficiencies in my computer working processes. I usually check from time to time if the hard disks of my computer has been infected and remove the files that are harmful to my systems. Another purpose of this tool is blocking and filtering sites that are harmful or appear threatening to my system.

Pros and Cons

  • "Automatic scanning and cleaning of viruses is the best and most valuable feature helping this tool to thrive. If any viruses are found, they are cleaned automatically."
  • "With increase of cyber threats and cybersecurity issues, I would recommend that the product be developed like an AI product with more features which can counter any threat in the coming eras."

What other advice do I have?

Windows is a great tool that I have used. It has helped my organisation in achieving what it does daily and protected our data in a great way. I would recommend every user who has a computer or laptop to consider using Windows Defender since it is the best tool to safeguard your system from malware and attacks.
Learn what your peers think about Microsoft Defender Antivirus. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: January 2021.
457,748 professionals have used our research since 2012.
reviewer1473762
Head Of Information Technology at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 5
Dec 17, 2020
Integrates well with Microsoft applications and endpoints and has a good antivirus

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use the solution for MDM, MAM, and Find Point. What we did is we replaced our antivirus with Microsoft Defender. There are three products that we implemented, including the Endpoint Defender, which is deployed to all of our end points.

Pros and Cons

  • "The solution integrates very well with Windows applications and Microsoft endpoint products."
  • "The pricing could be a bit better."

What other advice do I have?

We're just a customer and an end-user. We don't have a business relationship with Microsoft. We're using the latest version of the solution. I would recommend this product to other organizations. In fact, I already have. Currently, I'd rate it an eight out of ten. That's with the knowledge gap I have, as a user that just started working with the solution recently.
Mani MS
CRM & IT Head at a computer software company with 201-500 employees
Real User
Top 20
Oct 14, 2020
Provides real-time security, but requires time to understand how it works

What is our primary use case?

We use MWD for detecting malware, viruses and protect from Ransomware.

Pros and Cons

  • "Its real-time security is the most valuable."
  • "I would like to see online updates for patches for this solution. I would also like to see online information about what is trending in the market in terms of spams, viruses, or trojans. It takes some time to understand how this solution works. A few things are unclear at the beginning, such as whether it actually restricts the virus or spam at the initial stage, or when there is a security update, how will we come to know and how will it get synchronized. It would be really helpful if there is some kind of knowledge base in the form of video, audio, or document that can explain in a user-friendly way the setup, features, risks, and process to mitigate the risks. Currently, I have installed endpoint security for every individual system. I could not install it like other endpoint solutions where we have a server and a client. It would be really helpful if Microsoft Windows Defender has a server-client based model so that I can save some bandwidth when it downloads or uploads features. It will be helpful if we have a LAN-based or WAN-based controlling system."

What other advice do I have?

I would really recommend this solution because it is an in-built Microsoft product, and it is at the OS level. We don't require a new layer to install it as a software application. I would rate Microsoft Windows Defender a seven out of ten.
Ibikunle Imam
CEO at floating-dot tech ltd
Real User
Top 20
Jul 4, 2019
Free software to prevent malware and viruses that is bundled with the operating system

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case for Windows Defender is to prevent malware and viruses. Security is the main purpose that it is used for by our organization.

Pros and Cons

  • "It's free. There is no additional cost. It's part of Windows."
  • "Microsoft Windows Defender doesn't have a game mode."

What other advice do I have?

For Windows Defender, there's no server edition for it. It's free. There is no additional cost. It's part of Windows, i.e. if you have issues with compatibility using other products. If you paid for Windows, it already comes with Windows Pro and Windows Enterprise automatically. It's better to go with it than pay the additional expense of deploying other solutions. On a scale from 1 to 10, I would rate this product a nine. It doesn't have all the features that it needs to be perfect.
ITsece56457
IT Security Analyst at Ingenium Group
Real User
Apr 16, 2019
Has good detection rates, is low on system resources, doesn't interfere or hamper workflows, and it's easy to use

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case centers around blocking viruses on my personal laptop.

Pros and Cons

  • "Ensures that I'm working with a product that gets updated regularly without me having to remember to do it. Since it's a Microsoft product, I'm confident that it requires a low use of system resources. The benefit of that being that my computer isn't constantly being drained."
  • "It would be nice to have a paid upgrade that would provide additional screening of the day-to-day activities."

What other advice do I have?

My additional advice would be to create a test user group, deploy the software to those test users and then monitor those users as part of a log management operations center and run comparisons over several months. Comparing those users, against other users perhaps using a third-party product, like Symantec, would allow for calculation of performance and progress metrics. Based on that, a decision can be made as to whether to deploy the software across the organization or not. I'd give this tool a rating of 8 out of 10. It's got good detection rates, low on system resources, doesn't interfere…
reviewer1305759
Team Lead at a tech services company with 1-10 employees
Real User
Aug 12, 2020
Easy to use with great anti-malware features and quite stable

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use it due to the fact that it comes with the Windows 10 bundle and is free. We use it for security purposes. It scans for viruses and malware for us.

Pros and Cons

  • "It's absolutely free to use."
  • "The anti-ransomware features need to be improved upon."

What other advice do I have?

I'd recommend the solution. Why not, after all? It's already there within Windows 10 and is part of a user's Microsoft bundle. Overall, I'd rate the product eight out of ten. If it had more ransomware protection, I'd rate it higher. As it is, the solution offers great malware features, is ranked pretty highly in Gartner and is easy to implement and use. Plus, it doesn't drain a lot of your machine's resources, which is a bonus.
reviewer1432815
Project Director at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 5
Dec 2, 2020
Quite effective for preventing virus infections, data leak, or other security breaches

What is our primary use case?

Windows Security Essentials is available on Windows 7 and Windows 10. I'm using Windows Defender, and the agent is deployed on-premises on my laptop. I don't know if it has some background cloud services. I use it for flash memories, portable memories, real-time scanning, threat protection, and capturing the data downloaded from the internet.

Pros and Cons

  • "I am using it for very simple purposes. It is perfect and quite effective. I have been using it for a while, and I have never had any virus infection, data leak, or other security breaches. It works fine for standalone purposes. If you log on to OneDrive, it has ransomware protection."
  • "Windows Firewall is integrated with Windows Defender. Over the last few days, I have had a problem with defining a wildcard on Windows Firewall. For example, I wanted to pull out the connection of my program and install a software package with a lot of executable files. I wanted to prevent it from accessing the internet. I could not select executables by using a wildcard. I had to select a single executable with its full name."

What other advice do I have?

Microsoft has started to integrate the interface with new Windows 10 settings. Previously, there was a lack of information. Users weren't aware of the status of the product in terms of what it was doing on your computer and whether it was actually protecting you or not. In the background, it must have been doing its job, but you couldn't be very well aware of the status of the software. All those issues are now resolved. The information now is very handy, and the user interface is also great. I would recommend this solution to others. I would rate Microsoft Defender Antivirus a nine out of…
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