Why would you use Windows Defender?
Microsoft’s security software has come a long way since it was first launched several years ago. It continues to improve and it is actually better than some third party security programs. It cannot match the best, but it is pretty good.
According to the October 2016 test at AV-Test.org Windows Defender on 64-bit Windows 10 detected 99.6% of Detection of widespread and prevalent malware discovered in the last previous weeks. It consisted of 13,681 samples. Detection of 0-day malware attacks could be better, but Microsoft’s security software does a reasonable job of protecting the PC.
It is all I have on one of my Windows 10 PCs and it works fine. It keeps the computer free of malware and safe from threats on the internet. Here you can read Why I uninstalled antivirus software on my PC.
What’s new in Windows 10 Creator’s Update?
The old Windows Defender program has gone, or at least the old interface has. It does not appear to exist in the latest version of Windows.
There is a new Windows Defender Security Centre. This combines antivirus/antispyware and Windows Firewall. You can still find Windows Firewall app in the Control Panel, but it has been partially transferred to the new Windows Defender Security Centre.
Virus & threat protection
This shows the scanning history, the number of threats found and the files scanned. There is an Advanced scan and this provides options for a full scan, a custom scan of a folder, and an offline scan. An offline scan restarts the PC and scans before Windows loads. It can be more effective with hard to remove malware.
Defender’s settings can be accessed from the Security Centre. Real-time protection can be turned on or off for example, and notification settings can be modified.
Device performance & health
This doesn’t do much right now. I am running the beta, so this feature might not yet be complete, or it needs to run for some time before it can show any data.
Firewall & network protection
Microsoft is very, very slowly moving everything in the old Control Panel to the new Windows 10 interface. At the rate they are progressing it will take 10 years!
You can now access most features from the Windows Defender Security Centre. For example, you can turn the firewall on or off for private and public networks, and restore the default firewall settings. It still jumps to the Control Panel for some features though.
App & browser control
This enables Windows Defender SmartScreen to be configured. SmartScreen is a technology Microsoft uses to identify good and bad apps. When websites are visited in Edge, when files are downloaded, and when downloaded programs are run, they are checked by SmartScreen.
SmartScreen can block known bad apps or unrecognised ones, warn you, or it can be turned off. Setting it to Block might prevent good software from being installed, simply because it is unknown to SmartScreen. However, it is the safest option. I prefer the Warn option.
This tells you if an app is bad or unknown and you can make the choice whether to download it or run it yourself. If you are certain something is safe, you can then override the warning and continue anyway.
It looks like parental controls are here, but they are actually on the web where they have been for some time. Click a link and Edge opens and displays the parental controls on the Microsoft website.
If you need more protection than Windows Defender offers, get real-time antivirus and antispyware protection with Malwarebytes 3.