Software Review

Microsoft Defender Review: Is It Any Good

Disclaimer: I am writing this Microsoft Defender review purely based on my personal experience of using this software over the years and my technical expertise. I have mixed feelings about this software, and I will describe everything that I like or don’t like about Microsoft Defender in this review.

Microsoft Defender Review

Microsoft Defender Antivirus is a built-in antivirus program for Microsoft Windows. Initially, it was introduced as a free downloadable anti-spyware by the name Windows Defender for Windows XP PC. Later, it was integrated with Windows Vista & 7 computers. Eventually, it replaced Microsoft Security Essentials and became the complete default antivirus program for Windows 8. The later versions of Windows OS adapted the program and continued using Microsoft Defender as the default complete anti-virus suit. Over the years, this software has constantly evolved and has become quite a useful application for Windows OS users.

Back in March 2019, Microsoft introduced Microsoft Defender ATP, a Mac version of this software for its business customers. Apparently, Microsoft believes that it can protect both Windows and Mac computers against malware attacks.

Microsoft Defender Software Review

Is It Any Good?

I have used Microsoft Defender for the past 4 years and I have mixed experience using this software. there is no doubt that this software has evolved a lot through the years. Initially, it didn’t have a very good reputation, it was considered utterly worthless when it came to safeguarding a computer against even the most basic malware. However, with time the software has become much more efficient. However, the old issues are fixed and have been immunized with new powerful features. Still, the majority (including me) of users find the Defender useless, why?

Let’s not dwell on the past, Microsoft has worked hard to make Defender a quality shield for Windows computers against malware attacks. However, even after so many years, the malware still manages to infect computers bypassing Microsoft Defender. Forget about blocking the attack, it can’t even identify malicious threats. When it comes to providing real-time protection against severe, Defender miserably fails to deliver.

Upgrades And Features:

Well, there are certain drawbacks of this built-in antimalware tool, but most of them are not really significant. Additionally, in the Windows 11 version, the creators tried to address most of its drawbacks in the latest upgrade. However, the latest changes had the awful impact on some useful features provided in the earlier version of the software.

Windows 10 maybe lacked the fancy out-of-the-box features like Microsoft Defender for Endpoints or ASR but it at least could scan the PC. In Windows 11, when you run a malware scan with this free antivirus software, after a seemingly endless amount of time, you will find the software hangs. Sometimes it even fails to launch the scan.

Ratings and Awards

Despite its uselessness, Microsoft Defender has pocketed high ratings and several awards. It has obviously cleared AV-TEST legitimacy. It has also achieved, AAA Protection Award blocking 81% of emails with malicious attachments.

Category Feature Rating/Reward Source
Independent Testing Labs Overall Protection 99.8% AV-Comparatives
Independent Testing Labs “Best Advanced Protection 2022” (Consumer & Corporate) AV-TEST
Independent Testing Labs Tier 1 MRW Labs
Independent Testing Labs 5/5 stars SE Labs
User Reviews Microsoft Store 4.2 ⭐out of 5 ⭐ (24,000+ reviews)
User Reviews G2 Crowd 4.3 ⭐ out of 5 ⭐ (1,800+ reviews)
User Reviews TrustRadius 8.0 ⭐ out of 10 ⭐ (220+ reviews)
Rewards Included in Microsoft 365 Subscriptions Cloud storage, productivity apps, etc. (Varies by plan)

Well, despite its limitations Microsoft Defender is a good security program. It features certain positive aspects. It performs exceptionally well in heuristic directions as well as classical “detection”. Furthermore, its offline scans also enable users to clean their PCs without the risk of malware spread. It effortlessly runs in the system background without consuming huge system resources. With a firewall, this software can be a good tool to protect your system from minor threats.

Pros & Cons of Microsoft Defender
✔️Free built-in antivirus.
✔️High Ratings and Multiple Awards.
✔️Good hands-on malware protection score.
✔️Can work with additional antimalware programs.
❌Poor Phishing detection capability.
❌Poor scan feature.
❌Weak Ransomware protection.
❌SmartScreen Filter limited support.


Microsoft Defender is a good antivirus program. It can identify and block minor malware. However, users can’t rely on this tool completely. Malware attacks are much more dangerous and advanced these days. More often than not, it fails to shield computers from severe malware. However, it is a free built-in tool that can work with other anti-malware programs. Therefore, it would be wise to use this built-in security application a reputed Anti-malware application for additional security.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Microsoft Defender free?

Yes is completely free antivirus software that comes built-in with Windows 8 and all later versions including the latest Windows 11.

Is Microsoft Defender Any Good?

It is a good software for personal use. It can detect and quarantine minor malware and provide real-time protection for your PC. Furthermore, it has been named the best Email Security Service by SE in 2023. However, it fails to protect PCs from severe malware attacks.

Do I need additional antivirus software if I have Microsoft Defender?

For basic personal use, it is a good antivirus program. However, it provides limited protection against Ransomware viruses. Additionally, its SmartScreen Filter only supports Microsoft browsers, most people prefer to use other browsers like Chrome. Hence, it is best to use additional antivirus software for enhanced security..

Does Microsoft Defender scan for network threats?

Unfortunately, No. The free version of this antivirus program focuses on local threats. For network protection features users would have to buy the paid version.

Can I rely on Microsoft Defender?

No, although, it’s a good built-in security too, but it can’t defend your PC from severe malware and threats. It often fails to identify dangerous Ransomware viruses. Additionally, it hangs while scanning. Hence, users might wanna use a reputable anti-malware tool along with Microsoft Defender for enhanced security.

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