Is Windows Defender Good? Does it Work?

Posted by Arch on May 10, 2019

Having an antivirus app is a must for every PC owner. There are many different options on the market, but today we are going to take a close look at Windows Defender, which comes with every copy of Windows 10. Since it’s included and endorsed by Microsoft, many people think it’s fine the way it is, thinking that their PC is safe from viruses, but is it?

On the other hand, some people get additional antivirus software because they don’t trust Windows Defender. It’s time we finally see how Windows Defender compares to other antivirus software, and if it’s good enough for you to rely on.

Windows Defender

Where Does Windows Defender Stand?

Windows Defender started out as Microsoft Security Essentials in previous versions of Windows. It was not the best choice back then, but Microsoft has done quite a lot of work to come up with a more effective antivirus. The latest version of windows comes with Windows Defender by default, but some people still don’t trust it. The real question is, can Windows Defender compete with other popular software like AVG, Bitdefender, and McAfee.

You can google how Defender stacks up against all the popular antiviruses. There are several websites that keep track of that on a monthly basis.


AV-Test is an excellent website that helps users figure out which antivirus software they need. All of the antivirus tools are rated according to three factors on a scale of 0 to 6 (6 is the highest): protection, performance, and usability. So, how does Windows Defender compare with the other available software programs?
Surprisingly for many PC users, the Windows Defender is quite capable of protecting your device.

Windows Defender AV Test

The latest version of Windows Defender is 4.18. For February 2019, the score was higher than 5.5 in all three categories, showing solid results for several months back. It’s got a maximum grade when it comes to protection while the other two categories are close behind at 5.5 out of 6 points. That puts it in the same class as the most popular antivirus programs like Avira, AVG, and Bitdefender.

AV-Test concludes that Windows Defender offers 100% protection against 0-day malware attacks. The study based on 1,605,917 samples states that Windows Defender found 4 false detections of legitimate software as malware in February. The industry average was 6, so Windows Defender definitely has a better than average rating.

There is no doubt that Windows Defender has what it takes to stand with the big boys, which is a considerable improvement when compared to its predecessor.


For any online research, you have to check more than one source to confirm or debunk your previous sources, which brings us to AV-Comparatives. Let’s see if the results match on both sites.

Windows Defender AV Comparatives

The real-world protection tests are looking pretty good. The website found that Windows Defender has a 0% compromise rate after running tests that included a mix of malicious URLs, downloads, and URLs redirecting users to malware. It ranks right next to Avira, Tencent, and F-Secure and exceeds both AVG and Avast.

When compared with results from previous months, it’s clear that Windows Defender did a lot to improve blocking user-dependent malware. For example, just a year ago, the user-dependent malware rate was 3.6%. By November 2018, it had been reduced to only 0.8%. The latest tests from February and March 2019 had Windows Defender at 0%, meaning that no such malware made it through.

The only category where Windows Defender seems to be struggling is in the instances of false positive. It has the highest rate of false positives of all tested antiviruses. However, if you look at the results from 2018, it’s clear that the number of false alarms is slowly dropping. Still, it showed 36 false positives, twice as much than what other software showed.

Drastic Improvements Over the Years

Windows Defender is not perfect, but it’s slowly getting there. If you look up historical results on both AV-Test and AV-Comparatives, it’s clear that Windows Defender is moving in the right direction.

In October 2015, Windows Defender had a Protection rating of just 3.6 out of 6 and a 95% 0-day malware attacks. It’s clear that both websites have detected significant improvements since, and Windows Defender finally has what it takes to compete with the best antivirus apps out there.

The Verdict: Better Than Ever Before

It’s evident that Microsoft has been working hard to improve Windows Defender. All of the results show that it’s as good as any other antivirus software when it comes to system protection. The good thing is that you don’t have to install it since it’s a part of Windows 10 from the get-go.

It will protect your PC, but getting some other anti-malware software wouldn’t hurt because you can never be too careful.
The bottom line is, you can finally trust Windows Defender! We just hope that it will keep up with the never-ending development of new malware.

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