What Security Software Should You Be Using in Windows 10?
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Windows 10 is here, bringing with it a ton of cool new features 6 Windows 10 Features You May Have Missed 6 Windows 10 Features You May Have Missed Windows 10 is chock full of new stuff. We help you discover some of the less obvious features and options that are easily missed. Read More and a host of less-than-appreciated problems Windows 10 Is Watching: Should You Be Worried? Windows 10 Is Watching: Should You Be Worried? Since its release, Windows 10 has been dogged by rumors concerning user privacy. Some of these are accurate, whereas others are myths. But where does Windows 10 stand on privacy, really? Read More .

While users will undoubtedly enjoy the first few weeks with their new system as they discover all the innovative tools and settings it offers – some things remain consistent and require immediate attention after upgrading.

One of those things is security software. Relying on your old security software after upgrading could be a fatal decision, especially if your software of choice hasn’t been updated for the new operating system.

Here we take a look at some of the best options that are currently Windows 10-friendly…

Windows Defender

Windows Defender has been baked into the operating system since the Windows 8 release in 2012. It grew out of Microsoft Security Essentials, but is now a standalone real-time antivirus program.

For a long time it has been criticized as not being robust enough for most users. Although people on various online forums will claim they’ve used it for years without a problem, multiple independent tests have proved the concerns to be justified. Indeed, it was given just 0.5/6 in a recent study on AV-TEST.

Despite the concerns, it does have some benefits. Firstly, it works straight out of the box How to Use Windows Defender Malware Protection on Windows 10 How to Use Windows Defender Malware Protection on Windows 10 Like any Windows operating system, Windows 10 is open to abuse and vulnerable to online threats. Security software is mandatory. Windows Defender is a good place to start and we guide you through the setup. Read More ; there is no need for you to enable anything, set anything up, or register for anything. For people who are less computer literate, this is a huge positive.

Secondly, there are no nag screens. Lots of the free anti-virus suites now pester you at least once per day (if not more) to upgrade, add features, or sign up for trials – in truth some of them are on the verge of becoming malware in their own right. With Windows Defender you won’t even know it’s running unless it finds a problem.


Finally, it’s not going to monitor your browsing history Really Private Browsing: An Unofficial User’s Guide to Tor Really Private Browsing: An Unofficial User’s Guide to Tor Tor provides truly anonymous and untraceable browsing and messaging, as well as access to the so called “Deep Web”. Tor can’t plausibly be broken by any organization on the planet. Read More . Some of the free options have now started harvesting you data in an attempt to make a profit. For example, in 2014 Avast was found to be tracking what sites you are visiting Is Your Antivirus Tracking You? You'd Be Surprised At What It Sends Is Your Antivirus Tracking You? You'd Be Surprised At What It Sends Read More and using that data to insert their own adverts into pages.

In Windows 10 it’s not easy to turn off Windows Defender manually – it requires a registry hack or a Group Policy tweak. This is intentional and comes back to Microsoft’s policy of attempting to make sure you always have some basic cover.

If you install a third party anti-virus program, Windows Defender will be disabled automatically. This is the most sensible route to take.

Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit

If you’re adamant that you want to stay with Windows Defender and take advantage of the benefits listed above, you at least need to supplement it with some additional protections.

One of the best tools is Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit. It’s a free program that’s designed to protect you against one of the most dangerous forms of malware attacks – zero day browser exploits What Is a Zero Day Vulnerability? [MakeUseOf Explains] What Is a Zero Day Vulnerability? [MakeUseOf Explains] Read More .

Most anti-virus software works off a signature database. This means that there needs to be a previously-recorded occurrence of a virus or malware in order for the program to know it exists. Zero day exploits refer to never-seen-before attacks, meaning there’s no way a signature could exist and consequently no way a typical anti-virus program could detect it.

It’s compatible with all the leading browser providers (including Windows 10’s Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and Opera) and protects not only the browser itself but also any plugins. It won’t eat up your bandwidth by updating, and it’ll only take up 3 MB on your disk.

Whether you stick with Windows Defender or run third party software, this is a valuable addition to your armory.

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware

Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit is part of the popular Malwarebytes suite. Probably the best-known part of that suite is the anti-malware tool.

It is important to understand that Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is not intended nor designed to be your only line of defense. It should not replace your existing anti-virus program, whether that’s Windows Defender or something else entirely.

Instead, you should use the program to complement your existing setup. It will detect and eliminate malware that your anti-virus will miss, as well as removing (and repairing) rootkits that may have slipped through the net. It’s also extremely good at removing infections like Search Protect and Trovi.

Installing either of the Malwarebytes options will not cause Windows Defender to automatically disable itself.

Alternative Anti-Viruses

The debate around which is the best anti-virus suite What Is The Best Free Antivirus Software? [MakeUseOf Poll] What Is The Best Free Antivirus Software? [MakeUseOf Poll] Because no matter how careful you are when using the Internet, it's always advisable to have antivirus software installed on your computer. Yes, even Macs. Read More is seemingly never-ending. It’s very difficult to produce a clear winner.

The main thing to focus on is whether you want to pay for your protection or if you’d rather use a free version.

If you’re happy to spend a little, you options for quality coverage improve immeasurably. You could spend a long time scouring various anti-virus testing sites like AV Comparatives, but in truth there is very little to choose between the market leaders in terms of performance.


Some of the best paid options include:

Webroot – Webroot is extremely lightweight (the program is just 2.1 MB large), it uses no more than 3 percent of your computer’s resources, it has no pop-ups, and it has no add-ons. It’s ideally suited to businesses, heavy gamers, and power users.

Kaspersky – Kaspersky is more of a resource-hog than lots of its competitors, but the flipside is that it is typically number one for detection and removal.

ESET NOD32 – NOD32 has some of the lowest false positive rates, is lightweight, and is consistently near the top of performance charts. Many power users swear by the holy-trinity of NOD32 (which focuses on system files), Malwarebytes (which focuses on web-based issues), and CCleaner (a PC optimization tool).


If you want to stick to free options, consider one of the programs below. Before installing any of them make sure you pay special attention to avoid installing bundled toolbars OpenCandy: The Reason You Should Never Just Click "Next" OpenCandy: The Reason You Should Never Just Click "Next" Clicking "next" repeatedly is the quickest way of installing apps on Windows - until you find you installed other programs on your computer without realizing it, thanks to OpenCandy. Let's do something about that. Read More – they are now commonplace as the developers look to monetize their products.

AVG – AVG is one of the most popular free-antiviruses, but is not necessarily the best. The start-up impact is massive and it’s frequently outperformed by other products in performance tests.

Avast – Avast is arguably AVG’s biggest rival. The basic scan feature is solid, fast, and lightweight – but be warned, they have introduced a phenomenal number of nag screens and pop-ups in the last 18 months.

Avira – Avira makes up the final leg of the free anti-virus triumvirate. It’s a halfway house between the other two, more lightweight than AVG, but with better detection rates than Avast. It also has pop-ups, but not as many as Avast.


All the paid and free programs listed above have been made compatible with Windows 10, and they will all disable Windows Defender once installed.

What Security Software Are You Running on Windows 10?

What program(s) do you rely on in Windows 10? Have you decided to place your faith in the default Microsoft product, or did you immediately install a third-party tool?

Have you had any success stories or horror stories? We’d love to hear them. You can leave us you tales and feedback in the comments section below.

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  1. Steven
    June 9, 2018 at 7:55 pm

    Hello everyone, I have used Malwarebytes pro, 360 security and DuckDuckgo with Win 10 enterprise for 3 years ; no problems so far!
    ps. Thanks for your great Info ?

  2. Steven
    June 9, 2018 at 7:49 pm

    Hello, I use 360 security with my Win 10 enterprise, no problems...

  3. peaweesdad
    March 7, 2018 at 4:18 am

    I use google chrome w/Privacy Badger, DuckDuckGo search engine, and HTTPS Everywhere. If a windows defender off-line virus scan can't find the trouble, I reinstall windows.

  4. Karen Holcomb
    January 15, 2018 at 12:00 am

    Well, I'm still trying to figure it out but amd eiter going to keep the Defender and add the Malwarebytes Anti Explore, or go with the AVG Anti virus Plus. I just downloaded the Unchecky so hopefully that will also help. Any suggestions?

  5. RichM
    September 4, 2017 at 6:56 pm

    Looking at malware software only because I didn't know I had to use a program like this with the Norton anti virus I had installed on my new windows 10 computer. Got tangled up with a third party website who interrupted a conversation I was having with the Garman about a product I bought . The company is called FAST SUPPORT.com a complete scam as far as I am concerned. I felt violated by the way they hooked me and then almost the way they got my credit card information. I have reported this to the Garmin company and trying to reported it to the Better Business Bureau. I also had to take my computer back to Best Buy to have it cleaned.

  6. David E Kingsborough
    July 5, 2017 at 1:52 am

    I use Vipre. You have to pay a modest price for a subscription, there are a lot if features, and it is well worth the investment

  7. David E Kingsborough
    July 5, 2017 at 1:50 am

    You list some of the free anti-virus packages. I use Vipre, the yearly fee isn't bad , and its not a memory hog.

  8. Jerry
    January 30, 2017 at 7:21 pm

    Kaspersky is made in Russia should we really trust it?

    • M. Goslins
      March 31, 2017 at 6:21 pm

      One top Kaspersky employee was arrested in Moscow two weeks ago. Also reports that FSB (new name for KGB) has contacts with Kaspersky, so I'm thinking Kremlin will have had them install a secret backdoor in their software. I have it on all my computers, but am replacing it. Don't know with what yet. Too bad, because it's great internet security software. But trusting Russians is nuts as they could wipe out bank account in one stroke. Can't risk it.

  9. Cwuin
    January 3, 2017 at 12:26 am

    Had free AVG for many years. Read about Defender and changed recently. Got fed up with the nag screens. Now cc cleaner is using a nag screen and I can't load free malware bytes, tells me it's not compatible with win10, yet I have used it since the introduction of win10. I can only use the free trial version 3.0 until it gets fed up with nagging me and sends me off to a 'pay me this' screen. They catch up with you eventually.

  10. b smithe
    November 29, 2016 at 2:26 am

    Emsisoft anti-malware

  11. Alllen
    November 17, 2016 at 1:53 pm

    what about System Mechanic Professional or Norton utilities no mention...??

  12. H Abe
    November 14, 2016 at 6:03 pm

    I stayed with Trend Micro Internet Security (Titanium) upgrading to Version 11 for Windows 10. It loaded other things (like a PWM Password Manager suite) and a "Real Time Scanner" for all operations that happen within the computer.

    Bottom Line: While apparently safe, my computer has become next to worthless after Windows 10 upgrades hit the street, and Trend Micro is to blame (according to Task Manager readings of what's hogging the CPU cycles!). Many MINUTES delay in getting my usual files and Internet browsing pages (FireFox) to load and run. Bummer.

  13. Veronique
    October 6, 2016 at 10:10 am

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  14. Gaurav Thakur
    June 13, 2016 at 9:47 am

    I am using Microsoft Security Essentials, this is the best antivirus.
    Used Avast Antivirus, that is heavy and sometimes display viruses from anywhere.
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  15. Tawhidur Rahaman
    April 16, 2016 at 7:25 am

    i'm using windows defender since when i'm using windows 8, and i'm happy with it :)

  16. Robin W
    March 30, 2016 at 1:18 am

    Ever since Windows 8 came out i have always used Windows Defender coupled with Malwarebytes Premium and can honestly say i have never had any trouble and i do visit a wide range of websites
    It runs very light and and i am convinced most of the poor reviews it gets is from biased reviewers who possibly lean towatds other products.
    Windows Defender protects against virus and a few bits of malware i have noticed and Malwarebytes is designed purely against malware and trogans so you are running specifically designed programs which don't claim to be an all in one fix and doesn't hog resources.
    I can only write from experience and to date have no axe to grind at all.

    • A Roddis
      September 5, 2016 at 1:17 pm

      I agree entirely Robin, this is the defence mechanism i use, I am sick of these so called brilliant free programmes and some of the paid ones.

  17. Gypsytose555
    February 21, 2016 at 11:22 pm

    I can't even get Avira AntiVirus to install on my new Win10 box!!!! I've disabld every other remnant software but Defender is still active. Is this why Avira won't install!

  18. Anonymous
    November 2, 2015 at 4:21 am

    I don't settle for garbage, so of course I use Avira Antivirus Pro. I also use Microsoft EMET.

    I tried Bitdefender--I really, really tried--but it's too buggy. I also tried Kaspersky, but wow, as always, very buggy.

    • JoeyJojo
      February 28, 2016 at 3:33 pm

      Buggy? I think it's clear you're the one that's buggy...

  19. Anonymous
    September 30, 2015 at 4:27 am

    Been using AVG for years, tried Panda, but it never seemed to stop scanning- is that normal? I wonder if hacking as slowed down b/c is so much more difficult than it used to be and so much protection available?

  20. Anonymous
    September 30, 2015 at 4:25 am

    I have been using NOD32 with paid subscription for both Malwarebytes Anti-malware and Anti-Exploit. I can say that with this combination I have had no problems and they do scheduled scans as I leave my 3 CPU's on 24-7 with an occasional reboot. I have had to fix drives from Laptops that have had other AV programs in them. But NOD32 and Malwarebytes are the best in my book.

  21. Anonymous
    September 29, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    BitDefender is an awesome free alternative for frontline virus defense, it is top-rated for accuracy and has a very small footprint. i never notice its running except on boot up when it pops up and tells you everything is OK. I add Spybot search and Destroy to help harden my machine with its innoculations. Spybot was much more automated in its previous free version, the 2.x free version requires manual updates and vaccinations but is otherwise the same. Spybot helps get rid of all the junk adware and such that other defense programs ignore since they arent technically a "virus". The third item in the kit is CCleaner wich is also a manual run but very good at eliminating junk on the system and a lot of the malware now days lives in the temp files so cleaning them up and sporatically looking at your startup programs leads to a nice clean machine.

  22. Anonymous
    September 29, 2015 at 10:46 am

    Malwarebytes is so aggressive, it often looks like one of the screen-capture malware exploits it is "expected" to resolve. Daily complaints that "database is not current" are not-so-subtle pitches to buy the full package.

    Similarly, avast! is extremely good but it nags users to buy the monthly-payment version so often that many of my friends have given up on it. Happily, they have a switch to turn off their chirpy "virus definitions updated" announcements.

    The best solution would be for more companies to adopt the approach of several U.S. government agencies - buy an enterprise solution with "home use" licensing, a true win-win-win scenario for businesses, users and vendors.

  23. Anonymous
    September 29, 2015 at 9:20 am

    None, Defender and common sense work fine. Maybe free version of Malwarebytes too. The threat is so so overrated.

    • Anonymous
      September 29, 2015 at 10:47 am

      Have you seen a newspaper in the past five years? The threat is much closer than you think.

    • M. Goslins
      March 31, 2017 at 6:27 pm

      Hacking threat overrated? Sounds like "fake news" to me. But you keep on truckin' friend. Good luck to you.

      • Jay
        May 15, 2017 at 10:13 am

        do people not look at dates before responding?


  24. Anonymous
    September 29, 2015 at 7:13 am

    I use EMET + Kapersky Antivirus on all my PCs. Also, I'm not sure where you're getting the info about Kapersky being a resource hog from; the ratings screenshot in the post shows it getting 5/5 for performance.

  25. Anonymous
    September 29, 2015 at 6:45 am

    Personally I use Vipre Internet Security and Vipre Antivirus on everything I own that runs Windows or Android. They are reasonably priced and haven't let me down yet. And they are much less resource intensive than many of the competing products.

    Back those up with a weekly scan of MalwareBytes just to cover my bases, though I've only ever had one minor issue crop up there a few years ago.

    The best security is to pay attention and not go to stupid places on the Internet.

    • Janice Williams
      January 18, 2017 at 1:14 am

      I also use Vipre products along with Malwarebytes and have not had any issues at all. Used for several years on my Windows desktop computer and also my Android phone. I ordered mine off HSN and got a life- time subscription. No issues on desktop or phone.

  26. Anonymous
    September 29, 2015 at 3:27 am

    I guess the best thing about an effective antivirus is that you don't know if it's working, other than the lack of attacks. I've been using Panda free and spybot free and have not had any problems (knock on wood).

  27. Anonymous
    September 28, 2015 at 11:00 pm

    I use spybot search and destroy with anti-virus. It was reasonably priced for 2 computers. I have had no problems and they were all ready for the Win 10 upgrade. They sent a post installer by email. Will probably renew with them.!

  28. Anonymous
    September 28, 2015 at 10:06 pm

    360 Total Security is the most complete system for Windows 10. It has a Sandbox, which I use constantly. I has so many features I can't even mention.

    • Anonymous
      September 29, 2015 at 11:25 pm

      Absolutely! 360 is what I recommend to everyone.

  29. Anonymous
    September 28, 2015 at 8:34 pm

    Thanks for mentioning the 'bundled toobars" with the free A/V programs. I frequently recommend one of the free A/V programs for friends who just don't want to spend money for protection and don't use their computers for anything other than occaisonal web browsing. However, I often get calls about the tool bars, when they down load updated versions and just keep clicking Next without reading anything on their screens.