Windows Defender gets a boost in Windows 10 Anniversary Update

Microsoft polishes Windows Defender and makes it even shinier

Windows Defender has quietly been getting better and it is a much more reliable security program than when it was first introduced. The update in Windows 10 anniversary edition makes it even better.

Windows Defender for Windows 10

At one time you had to have third party security software or your PC just wasn’t safe from malware. Viruses, Trojans, adware, spyware and other nasty programs could easily infect the computer and you were taking a big risk if you didn’t install at least a free antivirus program, and preferably a full security suite.

Times have changed and 64-bit Windows 10 is more secure than older versions of Windows and Windows Defender is better too. There is a new version that adds extra protection and an interface makeover that is simpler and easier to use.

(Note: The beta edition of Windows is being used here, but there are unlikely to be any major differences with the release version coming soon.)

New Windows Defender icon

The same icon, what looks like a castle, has been used for Windows Defender for a long time. Perhaps forever. Now there is a new shield icon as can be seen if the mouse hovers over the icon at the right side of the taskbar.

Click the up arrow to show the tray and click the icon. A single menu is displayed, Open, and this can be used to open the main program window.

 The new icon for Windows Defender in Windows 10

New Windows Defender settings

The Settings app has had a makeover and redesign in the Windows 10 anniversary update. There are icons in the left column with the section titles and now on the right when you select Windows Defender is a large and clear button: Open Windows Defender.

Previously this was a small blue link right down at the bottom of the settings where it was easy to miss and easily forgotten about. Windows Defender’s presence is now much more obvious.

 Windows 10 Settings app showing Windows Defender

New Windows Defender Offline

Some malware is hard to remove because when it is running it can block actions taken to remove it. Delete the malware and it can put itself back straight away or prevent its deletion in the first place.

Windows Defender Offline has been around for quite some time, although you probably haven’t heard of it. Few people have. It was also awkward to use. You have to download a .iso disc image, making sure you choose the right version - 32 or 64-bit. You had to burn it to a CD-R. Then you had to boot the computer with the CD. Finally, the PC’s disk could be scanned for malware and Windows Defender could do its job.

It is a hassle. What’s more, some PCs, especially laptops, don’t have CD/DVD-Rom drives these days. and they are dying out.

Windows Defender Offline is now built in to Windows 10. Just click the button and the PC is restarted so the disk can be scanned before Windows, or any malware, is run. This is a great idea and it makes Windows Defender a much more powerful tool.

 Windows Defender Offline in Windows 10

Windows Defender notifications

You can also see in the screenshot above that there us an option to show enhanced notifications, so you know what is going on with the security. It's not clear what the extra notifications are, probably definitions updates, maybe background scans that completed with no problems found, and so on.

Critical messages are always displayed whether this setting is on or off.

Time to ditch your antivirus software?

Should you uninstall your antivirus or other security software? I did and I uninstalled my antivirus program. However, I would not recommend it for everyone. If you are fairly knowledgeable and know how to avoid the obvious ways that viruses infect the computer, then Windows Defender is fine.

For some people, such as children and computer users with limited technical knowledge, the extra security of antivirus or Internet Security Suites is recommended. I’m happy with just Windows Defender.

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9 Comments on Windows Defender gets a boost in Windows 10 Anniversary Update

  1. Try to use windows defender offline (new anniversary update) windows 10 the computer
    restarts and shuts down……..any suggestions no other apps running
    at that time…..

    • Running Windows Defender Offline will shut down the PC. When it restarts, watch the screen. Does it run Windows Defender and scan the disk before starting Windows? If it does, then everything is OK.

      It’s always a good idea to check the disk drive for errors. Open Explorer, select This PC, right click the disk and select Properties. Select Tools, click Check.

  2. No it does not run windows defender offline like I said the computer shuts down when I try to run wd offline the computer restarts and tries to run windows defender offline in os it does not scan if it did the scan should run about 15 minutes…..that does not happen…..I have
    done sfc scan and other scans I have no infections I just want to run the new offline feature.
    Hp computer ?????…Tried to google problem but to no avail……


  3. Is there a fee for this software ??? If there is an infection which I doubt to clean pc????? Otherwise forget it….

  4. Okay will give it a try….


  5. William Weathers // 2016/12/06 at 20:35 // Reply

    just follow the instructions above .Go to Settings , Windows Defender, Scan offline and leave it to it. The IT experts double check by scanning with FREE MALWAREBYTES and or HITMAN PRO (but you have to buy that , it users Kaspersky &Bitdefender engines) I just use Windows Defender (it gets stronger by the day with The Cloud)plus Free Malwarebytes as backup. Microsoft swore they would give us the strongest Operating System ever ,they are doing that. They have just acquired three top Israeli Cyber firms with some of the Worlds best Technicians Have faith Folks believe Bill Weathers

    • I agree that Windows Defender is getting better, stronger and more secure. One problem though, is that it is slower than some other antivirus programs. If you have an SSD then you won’t notice, but on a laptop, which tends to have a slower drive than desktops, it is noticeable.

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