Is the Windows 8 built-in antivirus good enough?

Thomas Cherian March 18, 2013

Is Windows Defender, the antivirus that comes with Windows, good enough to protect my PC from viruses alone?

  1. CharlieTan
    March 27, 2013 at 3:25 am

    I would never trust Microsoft to protect your computer alone. Microsoft has too many other things to focus on as a company than virus protection. However going with an anti-virus software program that anti-virus is its main, if not only focus, would be the most beneficial for protection.

    March 25, 2013 at 11:55 am

    Hello, I would say it does a decent job if you know what you are doing. For example, most viruses/malware get installed in your system because when you want to get/see something you click on any link or visit any site whether it is safe or not. So, protection start with the user. If you are inside a router network it could probably do the job.

    In my personal opinion, I would use Bit Defender or Kaspersky if you want a paid version. If you want free options, there are several here:


  3. Andrew Yen
    March 21, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    it works fine for me...

  4. pp potana
    March 21, 2013 at 5:38 am

    Its not the best but it is okay

  5. Paul Pruitt
    March 19, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    I've used Live Security Essentials for awhile without too much trouble. However I recently read an article in Maximum PC I think. They gave it a rating of 6 out of 10, with Avast given an 8 and AVG a 7. That was eye opening to me.

    They really like Avast reporting that only Norton found more infections. However Avast and Avg were both always nagging to upgrade to a paid version which speaking from personal experience with another free one Avira, is very annoying.

    Anyway they like Norton and Bit Defender. Bit Defender was offered for 600 points here with the MakeUseOf Rewards Program. I had enough points so I'm using it now...They still have 26 licenses open if you have enough points.

  6. BAM
    March 19, 2013 at 3:42 am

    These days I think its probably more common to encounter malware rather than viruses. A decent antimalware program such as Malwarebytes Anti-Malware would be a good companion to Win8 Defender.

    Most importantly, make sure you keep your browser, flash plugins, java and OS patches up to date to plug the security holes as soon as possible.

  7. hazem elsaiegh
    March 19, 2013 at 3:39 am

    No , many tests insist admitting that it fails to various malware attacks,you can use free options like AVG , or the outstanding zone alarm free antivirus + firewall from its name it has both antivrus and firewall which control programs accessing internet and stealth you system ports

  8. dragonmouth
    March 19, 2013 at 12:00 am

    There is a word for people who use "good enough" protection. That word is VICTIM.

  9. Bruce Epper
    March 18, 2013 at 11:38 pm

    You really need to go with something else. Windows Defender in Win8 is based on MSE for previous versions of Windows, utilizing the same engine. Since this is the case, the failure to achieve certification in the last couple of iterations of MSE should give anyone pause when considering their AV solution.

    For those who espouse the use of MSE/Windows Defender, just because it isn't detecting any malware on your system does not mean you are not infected. Granted, the product gets a perfect score with zero false-positives, but in serious testing it has been found to let through the most malware resulting in a greater number of compromised systems and the compromises are more thorough than with competing products.

  10. Carlo Vincente
    March 18, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    I use WE in two laptops, one with Windows 7 and one with Windows XP, and I don´t use any antivirus at all in an old PC with Windows XP. Not a single problem. It all depends on your browsing habits.

  11. Manide
    March 18, 2013 at 8:58 pm

    I would advise you to install a dedicated software for your needs (and an antivirus in particular).
    I don't like Microsoft's antivirus. There are (even free) antiviruses which surpass Windows Defender regarding to reliability (and customization).
    You may want to take into consideration to install also an antimalware - Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, Superantispyware...

  12. Jeff Mortenson`
    March 18, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    I believe it is. I've seen more than one anti-virus programs go from #1 to being dead last in less than 3 years. No solution is 100% perfect, if you look at the side by side comparisons you'll see some are better at virus notification/protection and some are better at preventing malware. A good firewall and Microsoft's solution will suffice, as long as you're not into warez or torrents, in which case you've got bigger problems besides setting yourself up for an infection.

  13. Sadman Hasan
    March 18, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    I'm pretty much happy with the service of Defender in 8 :)

  14. Alan Wade
    March 18, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    There are too many GOOD free AV programs about to even think about Defender!
    There has been a few suggestions made, I would say go with Avast Free. That has never let me down.

  15. Joel Thomas
    March 18, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    NO its not that safe,you must install a antivirus software for your own

  16. Nitesh Badala
    March 18, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    buit-in is good enough if you have less important data in your pc whose corruption
    or deletion wont affect you.otherwise go through the best one like bit-defender etc.

  17. Chinmay Sarupria
    March 18, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    Bitdefender is currently the best antivirus software. And if you have enough points you can redeem it. MakeUseOf is giving Bitdefender Internet Security 2013 1 year license in the rewards section.

  18. Prashant Mirjankar
    March 18, 2013 at 11:58 am

    Windows defender is not actually a fulltime replacement for any antivirus it just performs the role of say like firewall but until now whenever i have tried Win defender it has never caught any viruses with I was sure a virus because no other antivirus program let it stay in the system like Avast, avira , AvG, norton, kaspersky

  19. ha14
    March 18, 2013 at 11:28 am

    the best Windows software

    Microsoft Security Essentials,2817,2403986,00.asp
    Microsoft Security Essentials 4.0 does a decent job protecting a clean PC, but in testing its cleanup of already-infested systems wasn't thorough. You can get better protection for the same price.

  20. Md Mukhtar Mohsin
    March 18, 2013 at 10:09 am

    Being a windows 8 user i will say that it is good enough for normal pc user safety and security as it have all the features of a good antivirus and best thing i like is that it does not slow your computer , i have used k7 antivirus from a long time time and i noticed that it
    delays the startup time as well as pc performance as it keep scaning whichever folder you open ,this work is done windows defender also but it does not eats your ram and cpu .it also slows your internet as it first scan the page and then present it you . Hence i recommend windows defender is good enough for a normal pc user,even i use it.

  21. jrasulev
    March 18, 2013 at 9:26 am

    I would suggest to back up windows defender with additional antivirus. At least, I did so

    • slyaii
      July 18, 2013 at 6:44 pm

      You cannot put two antivirus together on one computer. It conflicts with one another. And placing a second antivirus will disable Windows Defender.

  22. Tug R
    March 18, 2013 at 8:15 am

    In reality the most important and effective antivirus you'll ever use will be your own common sense. Be careful about the links you click on, files you download, and for the most part you'll be fine.

    However, I wouldn't recommend skipping an antivirus alltogether. I've been using MSE/Defender for roughly 3 years, and I haven't had a single issue with viruses or malware. What I like about Defender is that it's light on resources and doesn't try to upsell me every time I use it. (Avast/AVG/Avira/etc. all do this)

  23. susendeep dutta
    March 18, 2013 at 7:45 am

    Windows defender that comes as built in in Windows 8 is not good enough and is agreed by many Windows security experts.See the link below for detailed explanation -

    So,it's better to use a paid solution if you do online activities involving online banking,payments etc..

  24. BAM
    March 18, 2013 at 6:52 am

    Windows 8 Defender = MSE, which in the past has been a pretty decent antivirus. However late last year it did lose its AV-TEST certification if that means anything.

    Ultimately it really depends on how you use your PC an what type of sites you visit.
    No antivirus is bulletproof. Maybe worth a browse of the test results though to help you decide.

  25. Junil Maharjan
    March 18, 2013 at 6:06 am

    have been using windows 8 for some time now and haven't had any problem so far. good enough for me but you never know coz you still need to be really careful what you download and what sites you visit.

    • Wei Dipie
      March 18, 2013 at 7:36 am

      I agree with you cuz I use win8 and never be attacked

    • dragonmouth
      March 19, 2013 at 12:04 am

      @Junil Mharjan:
      The operative phrase in your statement is "so far".

      @Wei Dipie:
      "I use win8 and never be attacked"
      There always is the first time.

    • Junil Maharjan
      March 19, 2013 at 6:58 am

      That is why I wrote the second line - "you never know" and "still need to be really careful what you download ..."

  26. DalSan M
    March 18, 2013 at 3:55 am

    Windows 8 Windows Defender is based off of Microsoft Security Essentials, in which they have not faired very well with many antivirus tests. If you want better for free, many of us here would suggest Avast antivirus and Comodo firewall. For a good standalone scanner (does not run in the background), install Malwarebytes Antimalware free version and use it to scan once in a while just to be safe.

  27. Jan Fritsch
    March 18, 2013 at 3:10 am

    Since Windows 8 the Windows Defender uses the same virus definitions as the Microsoft Security Essentials. You can always install another or additional protection if you like. You can find some suggestions at the MUO Best Of page.

  28. Anish P
    March 18, 2013 at 2:31 am

    You can never be too safe - it's better to get a program from a company that's purely devoted to anti-virus software as opposed to a company that designs an OS.

    Here's a free anti-virus program that I make sure to install in any windows computer that I can: AVG Antivirus -

    • Masked Marauder
      July 26, 2013 at 12:37 am

      AVG is ok for FREE software. I am indifferent to antivirus, but from what I've heard Kaspersky or Norton is the way to go if you want to pay. I had AVG free about three years ago, used it for awhile, uninstalled it, installed Microsoft Security Essentials and MSE found so much crap under the radar AVG never caught. Everyone's got an opinion, but I am personally not too thrilled with AVG... My $.02

    • Cameron
      August 16, 2013 at 6:00 am

      You should never download directly from cnet though, the installer packages contain adware and add ons. Use it more like a catalog / review site

  29. Maxi3w
    March 18, 2013 at 1:12 am

    I would say no. The Firewall only has a one direction protection whereas a good Anti-Virus software will make sure you have both incoming and outgoing protection in your firewall. I doubt very much windows defender can do as good a job as the leading Anti-Virus Software. I use 'Bit-Defender' which has amazing protection with extras such as it's own browser to buy goods when using a credit card and a widget to drag and drop files into for scanning. I don't want to give you a specific link because I would advise you to 'shop around' searching for the best deals out there for whatever AV software you choose because the main sites may be a lot more expensive and there are better deals around. I hope this helps :)

    • justinpot
      March 18, 2013 at 2:08 pm

      He's talking about Windows 8, though, which comes with Windows Defender. It's basically the new version of Microsoft Security Essentials. So there is incoming and outgoing protection.

      Now, of course, being included by default means Windows Defender will be worked around by malware frequently. But Windows 8 without third party antivirus is much better than Windows 7 without.

    • BAM
      March 19, 2013 at 3:31 am

      I think it should also be clarified that many standard antivirus programs generally wont provide any firewall, incoming or outgoing. They usually sell as "Internet Security" software where they will include antivirus, firewall, and a bunch of other items.

    • Naman Munet
      March 24, 2013 at 3:03 pm is good enough to protect our PC from don't need any other antivirus software to protect your pc.

    • Maxi3w
      March 24, 2013 at 7:17 pm

      Bit of an unintentional mix up there on my part with 'Anti-Virus' & 'Internet Security'. When I got Win8 I read an article about the Firewall that it was only one way - it must have been referring to Win7. Personally though, I still feel securer with Bit Defender Internet Security at the moment but as time passes and Windows Defender does prove its security then I may use it along with AV software to grab the bits others miss. I just still wouldn't rely wholly on Defender :(

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