Originally known as Microsoft AntiSpyware, Windows Defender is a free protection program provided by Microsoft to help protect Windows computers from spyware and malware. With the introduction of Windows 8, Microsoft has added improved functionality to Windows Defender by adding antivirus and spyware and other malware protection.
Windows Defender is based on GIANT AntiSpyware from GIANT Company Software, Inc. was acquired by Microsoft on December 16, 2004, and was first released on October 24, 2006. This program is available as a free download and installed on Microsoft Windows 2000, XP, Vista, and 7. Windows 8 and 10 computers already have this program installed and working unless other antivirus programs are installed.
How to open Windows Defender?
Once installed, Windows Defender will automatically start up and run the computer boots, unless some other program has turned it off. If you want to open Windows Defender, follow the steps below.
- Click the Start button.
- In the Search programs and files box, type windows defender.
- In the search results, click Windows Defender. You may have to press the Enter key to open the program.
Note: In Windows 8, go to Start, type Windows defender on the Start screen, and select Windows Defender in the search results.
Note: In Windows 10, type windows defender in the search box above Taskbar, next to the Start button, and select Windows Defender in the search results.
How do I enable or disable Windows Defender?
After installing Windows Defender, or Windows Defender is preloaded in Windows (e.g., Windows 8 and Windows 10), it is automatically enabled.
To disable it, follow the steps below.
- Open Windows Defender.
- Click the Tools option on the top menu.
- On the Tools and Settings screen, click Options.
- On the Options screen, in the left navigation pane, click Administrator.
- Uncheck the box to Use this program.
To enable Windows Defender, try the steps below.
- Open Windows defender.
- You will see a pop-up message that the program has been disabled. If so, click here to activate the link in that pop-up message. Windows Defender is now enabled.
- If there’s no link in the pop-up message, you’ll need to open the Control Panel and access the option Security and Maintenance.
- In the Security and Maintenance window, click the Security option to expand that section.
- Click on the View installed antivirus apps or View installed antispyware apps option.
- A list of installed antivirus or anti-software programs is displayed. Select Windows Defender in the list and click the On button.
Windows Defender pros and cons
- Ability to protect your computer
- Real-time protection
- In the stand-alone tests, the Defender did not perform as well as third-party solutions.
- MSE lacks software protection against advanced threats like bootloader and rootkit for Windows Vista and seven users