Windows Defender Review – Antispyware from Microsoft
Windows Defender Review
Windows Defender, formerly known as Microsoft AntiSpyware, is a software product from Microsoft to prevent, remove, and quarantine spyware in Microsoft Windows. It is included and enabled by default in Windows Vista and Windows 7, and is available as a free download for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003.
Windows Defender is a free program that helps protect your computer against pop-ups, slow performance, and security threats caused by spyware and other unwanted software. It features Real-Time Protection, a monitoring system that recommends actions against spyware when it’s detected and minimizes interruptions and helps you stay productive.
Windows Defender features spyware scanning capabilities like other free spyware-scanning products available on the market, and includes a number of real-time security agents that monitor several common areas of Windows for changes which may be caused by spyware. It also includes the ability to easily remove ActiveX applications that are installed. Also integrated is support for Microsoft SpyNet network that allows users to report to Microsoft what they consider to be spyware, and what applications and device drivers they allow to be installed on their system.
Features of Windows Defender
- Auto Start – Monitors lists of programs that are allowed to automatically run when the user starts the computer
- System Configuration (settings) – Monitors security-related settings in Windows
- Internet Explorer Add-ons – Monitors programs that automatically run when the user starts Internet Explorer
- Internet Explorer Configurations (settings) – Monitors browser security settings
- Internet Explorer Downloads – Monitors files and programs that are designed to work with Internet Explorer
- Services and Drivers – Monitors services and drivers as they interact with Windows and programs
- Application Execution – Monitors when programs start and any operations they perform while running
- Application Registration – Monitors tools and files in the operating system where programs can register to run at any time
- Windows Add-ons – Monitors add-on programs (also known as software utilities) for Windows
Is Windows Defender Still Useful?
Despite the powerful features of Windows Defender, it still remains a fact that standalone security applications like plain antivirus or plain antispyware products are loosing their utility. With the increasing complexity of today’s malware threats, it is becoming exceedingly difficult to categorize them into groups like virus or antivirus or anything else. And that’s why precisely you need a comprehensive security software providing protection from all sorts of malware threats, instead of standalone applications.
But does this all mean that Windows Defender has lost its relevance. Many people advocate this and recommend that it is a useless product in today’s scenario. But it is not the case. Windows defender still has its uses and it may not be the quickest of them all to detect a new spyware threat, but it better than nothing.
IG Security Blog has mentioned some cool features of Windows Defender, which still make it a relevant product and I quote here…
Windows Defender also does have some other cool features (in some versions) that seem to have worked good. Windows Defender contained a “light hips” that would block some programs on boot if it detected it to be suspicious. That always seemed to work OK on some types of threats. Another feature that worked nice with SpyNet. SpyNet is a Microsoft service used to collect data on possible malware files behavior. Since so many computers use Windows Defender that data collected can help when it comes to malware removal tools such as MRT. Microsofts MRT monthly update helps remove many common infections each month when users update there machines. Also on the Windows Vista/XP version Windows Defender contains a startup explorer letting you see what loads with your computer with an easy to use UI.
Here is a video on how to use Windows Defender in Windows Vista.