Windows Defender review, free download

Rating:  
  (80/100)
Type: Anti-Spyware

Windows Defender review

Windows Defender is a free anti-spyware program made by the leading software company to add native spyware protection to its most popular product - the Microsoft Windows operating system.

The final release of Windows Defender is the result of almost two years long testing and development started with the release of Microsoft AntiSpyware Beta 1 based on GIANT AntiSpyware, a popular spyware remover back in 2004. In the beginning of 2006, Windows Defender Beta 2 has been released. This version is very similar to the final product. However, the latter is definitely better and more solid.

We have tested the program on several different setups including badly infected machines and absolutely clean computers that were never infected with any viral parasites, spyware and malware threats. Tests revealed that Windows Defender is an effective, reliable and easy-to-use product that does not produce false positives and provides sufficient protection against most types of spyware, adware, browser hijackers and other malicious pests. However, it often fails detecting and eliminating widely spread viral threats like trojans, backdoors or worms. Moreover, Windows Defender is ineffective against emerging, new infections, although it uses heuristics.

Windows Defender’s installation is quick and easy, but only if you have a genuine copy of Windows, which doesn't have problems with the validation process and everything always goes smoothly. Otherwise, installing Windows Defender might be difficult and sometimes even impossible.

The program is launched as any other regular program. But usually you don't have to run it manually, as Windows Defender automatically loads on every Windows startup. Integrated real-time protection starts also.

Once the application is running you can start scanning your system. Windows Defender allows choosing between three scan modes: Quick Scan, Full Scan and Custom Scan. The first one enables an intelligent scan for parasites in common locations. Full Scan thoroughly examines the entire file system including not only system and application files, but also archives and suspicious objects not present in spyware definitions database. Custom Scan allows the user to select, which local hard drives to check. Each of three scans needs different time to complete. In our tests Quick Scan did not take more than three minutes, while Full Scan required almost an hour. During each of the scans Windows Defender checks all running processes, analyzes the Windows Registry and examines files and folders. The program scans all essential system components leaving no chances for most spyware parasites to hide.

Scan reports are informative. The spyware remover displays exact parasite location, associated files, related registry entries and threat description.

The program uses large spyware definitions database updated on a regular basis. The user can either update it manually, or turn on automatic updates. In our tests both functions worked as intended. However, a lot of users had or still experience problems updating the application.

Apart from common tools - Quarantined items and Allowed items - Windows Defender offers one additional utility - Software Explorer. This integrated tool provides details on startup programs, currently running applications, system networking components and software connected to the Internet.

One of the strongest sides of Windows Defender is its powerful and customizable real-time protection. However, it's definitely not the best one available on the market today. Popular anti-spyware programs like Spyware Doctor, Spy Sweeper or SUPERAntiSpyware outperform Windows Defender in this field.

Windows Defender has simple and user-friendly interface. The program has got almost the same look as its Beta 2 version had. However, the updated look is more convenient and thought-out.

The program's official web site is www.microsoft.com.

Conclusion

Windows Defender is a decent anti-spyware program. It is free, powerful enough and yet very easy-to-use. However, it identifies and completely removes only regular spyware and adware parasites as well as some well-known, relatively old malware and viral threats. Unfortunately, Windows Defender does not provide reliable protection against widely spread trojans, worms and other malicious software. In other words, the program cleans most infections, but often cannot eliminate the cause, so the system gets re-infected. But if you have good antivirus program installed, then Windows Defender is just what you need.


Positive side:

real time protection
free to use
deep file scan
complete system scan
ASK US:
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Windows Defender spyware remover was carefully tested by 2-spyware.com research center. The review is the result of our test. If you know additional information about Windows Defender please send us the note.

Windows Defender screenshot

Information added: 2006-02-28 16:34
Information updated: 2014-06-11 22:38

Additional resources:

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Users comments about Windows Defender:

1
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Guest
è un softuer buono
0
0
Guest
This was a helpful review.
0
0
Guest
Very informative review, I was wondering why Windows Defender wouldn't find any Trojans on my computer that SpyCatcher, CounterSpy and a-squared found.
0
0
Guest
Spymaxx disabled my windows defender 16 june 08.
Windows defender may or maynot have updated for this.
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1
Guest
hello,

I like blond; do you like blond?
1
0
Guest
ballsinurface
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Guest
imo windows defender does not get the job done, ended up turning off the boot on start up. better off with other anti malware
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1
Guest
McAfee and Windows Defender were unable to find what Norton did.
0
0
Guest
avira free edition + windows defender compensates each other. avira lack antispyware windows defender provides it windows defender lack trojan and rootkit detection avira takes charge perfect combination and free products excellent protection
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Guest
I think Avira is the best anti-virus out, with Microsoft Windows Defender it catches everything. I have never had to worry about anything with the combo of the two.
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Guest
is this the same company that is producing the winpc popups that is terrorizing home computers?
If so, the marketing approach is way too aggressive, and you packed one of my kid;s computers up.
I would never buy software from a company that uses these tactics
0
0
Guest
thanks
0
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Guest
For something free, it works quite well.

You'll probably want another program to back up Defender, though.

As this review states, it's not for catching trojan variants and the like.

Avira Free Edition works well, yes.
0
0
Guest
Did not protect my system AT ALL. It was currently running when I was infected. It was unable to help me.
0
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Guest
Best riview, thank you.
1
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Guest
can dis program catch people watching porn?
0
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Guest
Not really. Windows Defender does other things than catching people who watch porn.
0
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Guest
Decent anti-spyware program. Caught more spyware than leading antivirus Kaspersky. But as the review suggests, have an additional antivirus program installed; avira, AVG, avast, etc. Without having to spend money you can provide premium protection of your pc.
0
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Guest
Will the software explorer show if a virus is using the network connection? Is it capable of doing so?
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Guest
I got this one bad on my wife's computer. was barely able to stop it then ran full scan from Windows defender. Stated it didn't find anything but I rebooted and it worked like a charm, identified this virus and removed it completly. Worked great for me
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