Microsoft Defender Antivirus Review 2022: Features & Pricing (2023)

Your business grinds to a halt if your devices become infected with malware. Computers running on Microsoft Windows include built-in protection through Microsoft Defender Antivirus. Is it enough? This review will help you decide if it’s the right security software for your business.

Microsoft, as one of the biggest brands in the personal computer market, offered antivirus software for years. Past versions were less effective at protecting your computer. Not so for the latest edition, released in 2020 as Microsoft Defender Antivirus.

Formerly called Windows Defender, this software protects your computer from a specific class of cyber threat called malware, which includes computer viruses and spyware. Computers, referred to as “endpoints” by Information Technology (IT) teams, are common targets for cyberattacks.

They’re vulnerable without endpoint security software to protect them.

The current Defender product incorporates features such as machine learning, data analysis, and Microsoft’s cloud computing infrastructure to deliver improved device protection for your organization. Let’s examine the new version to see if it’s the best virus protection for your needs.

Who is Microsoft Defender Antivirus for?

Microsoft Defender Antivirus has one purpose: to protect your computers from malware. If you currently use a PC running on a Microsoft Windows operating system (OS), you already have it. Microsoft Defender Antivirus comes free as part of the OS.

It’s made to operate seamlessly for PCs running on Windows 10. This fact allows Microsoft Defender Antivirus to quickly and efficiently scan your computer without impacting system performance.

Microsoft Defender Antivirus doesn’t provide holistic endpoint protection on its own. It’s coupled with a suite of software tools called Windows Security, formerly known as Windows Defender Security Center. These tools are preinstalled on Windows 10.

Microsoft Defender Antivirus works for personal and business use, whether you seek protection for a single home computer or multiple PCs in large corporations. Additional security features are available based on the type of software license purchased, such as Windows for home, school, or business.

Small business owners might use their personal computer for work, but holders of a Windows home license won’t have the features needed by larger organizations. Businesses require the enhanced security included with a Windows Pro or Enterprise license.

The latter is necessary to grant IT teams access to key tools such as reporting. Also, upgrade your OS to Windows 10 if you haven’t already. Older Windows versions are no longer supported.

If you are on a computer running an alternative to Windows, such as Linux or a Mac, Microsoft Defender is still an option. You’ll just have to buy and install the software.

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Microsoft Defender Antivirus features

Many PC users are accustomed to diligently shopping for antivirus software. With Microsoft Defender Antivirus included free on Windows 10 PCs, is there a need to pay for alternatives?

Let’s look at the capabilities that protect your business while identifying the software’s gaps.

Malware protection

The most important feature of any antivirus software solution is how well it protects computers from malware.

The old Windows Defender Antivirus was a bare-bones digital security option, and not recommended for business use. Microsoft stepped up its game by significantly upgrading Windows Defender, renaming it Microsoft Defender Antivirus to signal its substantial changes.

Today, Microsoft Defender Antivirus is one of the best antivirus software options for endpoint protection.

But don’t take my word for it. The independent IT security testing organization AV-Test Institute tests and rates antivirus software. It tested Microsoft Defender Antivirus against more than 20,000 malware samples, and gave it a perfect score for protection.

The software also outperformed industry averages in other areas, such as its impact on computer performance.

The current Microsoft Defender Antivirus is effective because it scans file and process behaviors, as well as other heuristics, to protect your machine in real time.

Microsoft Defender Antivirus Review 2022: Features & Pricing (1)

Microsoft Defender Antivirus provides an interface to view the latest scan results. Image source: Author

Not only does it catch unsafe apps, Microsoft Defender Antivirus can also detect and block those not identified as malware by leveraging data housed in Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure.

Microsoft Defender Antivirus also updates automatically, so you're always using the latest version. It performs these updates in the background without interrupting your work or slowing your computer.

User interface

For the most part, you want your antivirus software to do its work in the background, and leave you alone. But when you want to view scan results, you require a user interface (UI).

Because Microsoft Defender Antivirus is part of Windows Security, it’s tucked into the Windows Security UI. It’s located under the Virus and Threat Protection option.

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Microsoft Defender Antivirus Review 2022: Features & Pricing (2)

The Windows Security screen includes Microsoft Defender Antivirus among its security options. Image source: Author

This UI is standard on Windows 10 PCs, and designed for the individual computer user. An IT team managing several PCs will want access to more robust network computing tools. Microsoft makes these tools, such as Intune, available for separate purchase.

Threat detection

Antivirus software is ineffective if it can’t accurately detect and catch threats. The same is true if it mistakenly flags safe software as malicious.

Microsoft Defender Antivirus avoids these issues. It combines the knowledge of cybersecurity experts with artificial intelligence (AI) and Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure to analyze billions of data signals on an ongoing basis.

Its AI accurately identifies legitimate attack patterns while allowing safe software to pass. In tests using over one million software samples, Microsoft Defender Antivirus correctly caught the malware with 100% accuracy.

Another key threat detection component is stopping the attack in a timely manner. Microsoft Defender Antivirus performs continuous, real-time monitoring. This means it can detect and stop malware before any damage is done.

Microsoft Defender Antivirus Review 2022: Features & Pricing (3)

You can configure the threat detection settings in Microsoft Defender Antivirus. Image source: Author

The approach used by Microsoft Defender Antivirus is so effective that it can catch new and emerging threats. In testing, it stopped zero-day attacks, which are newly discovered software vulnerabilities where no official fix is available. This feature is critical, since cybercriminals constantly evolve their attacks.


Minimal reporting capabilities come standard in Microsoft Defender Antivirus. You get a summary of your current and past virus scan results and a history of the software updates. That’s all.

Smaller businesses without a formal IT group can get by without security reports. If your company employs an IT team or a security operations center (SOC), you’ll need additional tools that encompass threat reporting and analytics to identify network vulnerabilities.

Microsoft Defender Antivirus Review 2022: Features & Pricing (4)

No reporting is available, but you can view and filter a history of actions taken. Image source: Author

(Video) Is Windows Defender Good Enough?

Microsoft offers such tools and reporting capabilities for separate purchase. Some come with a Windows Enterprise software license.

Additional security features

Microsoft Defender Antivirus is excellent at stopping malware, but it does nothing else. Malware isn’t the only endpoint security concern. Microsoft Defender Antivirus by itself won’t suffice for business use.

That’s why the inclusion of Windows Security on Windows 10 PCs is a critical part of endpoint protection.

The Windows Security suite delivers additional features such as a firewall and browser protections to stop browser-based attacks (although users of Chrome or Firefox browsers must install an extension to activate this).

Microsoft Defender Antivirus Review 2022: Features & Pricing (5)

A firewall is just one of the additional features available with Windows Security. Image source: Author

Additional security features beyond what’s included in Windows Security are available, depending on the Windows 10 software license you purchase. Small businesses should buy the Windows 10 Pro edition at a minimum.

The Pro edition includes capabilities that further enhance endpoint security, such as built-in data encryption.

If you’re a midsize or large organization with many employees and devices to manage, consider Microsoft’s Windows 10 Enterprise edition or seek other security software designed to protect and manage a large IT network.

Microsoft Defender Antivirus ease of use

Microsoft makes its antivirus product a pain-free experience. If you’re a Windows 10 PC user, you enjoy several benefits:

  • No need to download the software formerly known as Windows Defender onto endpoints. You avoid installation headaches, since Microsoft Defender Antivirus is preinstalled.
  • No manual updates required. The software updates automatically with the latest protections.
  • It runs on its own, so you’re constantly protected, and don’t have the hassle of performing scans manually.
  • A simple, clean interface provides easy navigation.

These benefits are a hard combination to beat and, to top it all, the software is free. Of course, if you’re not using Windows PCs, you’ll have to install it.

Some of the software features in the UI are straightforward and quickly understandable. For example, you can easily configure notifications, so you receive only the kind of security alerts you desire.

Microsoft Defender Antivirus Review 2022: Features & Pricing (6)

You can easily adjust settings, such as the security alerts you want to receive. Image source: Author

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Other functionality is harder to decipher. For instance, a tamper protection setting is one of the software’s strengths (it’s used to prevent malware from changing your security settings), but the tamper protection label isn’t self-explanatory.

Microsoft Defender Antivirus pricing

If you’re using a Windows PC, there’s only one price for Microsoft Defender Antivirus: free.

Your main cost considerations are whether you must supplement Microsoft Defender Antivirus with other security software to meet your business needs, and if you must change your Microsoft software license. Windows 10 Pro is for small and medium businesses.

The standard price of a Windows 10 Pro license is $199.99 for one computer. Pricing varies based on factors such as the number of licenses you want to purchase.

Microsoft Defender Antivirus support

Microsoft’s size and scope allow the company to offer a wide variety of support options. The level of help can range from a self-service portal to phone support and training.

Microsoft’s chat support allows you to get help at any time through its virtual assistant. Community forums also provide you with assistance from other users.

The available options depend on the types of Microsoft software licenses and subscriptions you purchased. It’s unfortunate the same level of support isn’t available to all, but if you require technical support not covered by your purchase, you can buy a separate support plan.

Benefits of Microsoft Defender Antivirus

The biggest benefit delivered by any antivirus software is protection. Here, Microsoft Defender Antivirus excels. You don’t need to find other malware protection.

For the quality delivered, Microsoft Defender Antivirus is an exceptional value considering it’s free on Windows 10 PCs. Another advantage is that it’s preinstalled, saving you time and effort.

These benefits are hard to beat, and are further enhanced by the additional capabilities bundled in Windows Security. The combination delivers reliable protection, and establishes a good starting point for organizations building out IT security infrastructure.

A solid antivirus solution

As a malware security option, Microsoft Defender Antivirus is a good choice. The product addresses malware with a high degree of speed and accuracy.

Microsoft Defender Antivirus is particularly compelling because it’s free and packaged with the Windows Security suite on Windows PCs. For a small, local business or an individual entrepreneur with few IT demands, this combined security option is sufficient to meet most needs.

Larger organizations with many computers or employees require a more scalable, holistic security solution. You need tools allowing quick, comprehensive IT security management and analysis. Microsoft Defender Antivirus alone is not sufficient to solve these challenges.

Consider the needed functionality in the context of your larger IT security goals. For example, Microsoft’s Intune product lets you efficiently manage IT functions across a large organization, such as setting endpoint security policies.

(Video) Windows Defender vs Ransomware 2022

You can start with Microsoft Defender Antivirus, and based on your security requirements, purchase the appropriate Microsoft business software license and subscriptions, or check out The Ascent’s reviews for the best endpoint security software to find a more comprehensive fit for your business needs.


Is Microsoft Defender Antivirus good enough 2022? ›

Microsoft Defender antivirus is pretty safe. It has almost 100% real-time protection rates, according to independent tests. It also has additional features for device protection against malware, such as scanning, app and browser control, and account protection options.

Is Windows Defender good enough in 2022 full analysis? ›

One of the most recent Real-World Protection reports is from February 2022, which used 362 test malware cases. Windows Defender scored 98.9% and didn't present any false positives (identifying verified software as malware incorrectly).

Is Windows Defender good enough for virus protection? ›

While it used to be terrible, over the past few years, Microsoft has really turned it around and Defender is now one of the best antivirus software solutions, free or paid, at detecting, blocking and neutralizing malware.

Is Windows Defender enough or do I need an antivirus? ›

While Windows Defender is a good antivirus with a high malware detection rate, all of the best alternatives on this list have higher malware detection rates, especially against advanced ransomware, trojans, and spyware.

Can Microsoft Defender detect all viruses? ›

Microsoft Defender Antivirus detects and protects against the following kinds of threats: Viruses, malware, and web-based threats on devices. Phishing attempts.

Which antivirus is better than Windows Defender? ›

Answer: AV- comparatives conducted tests and the results showed that while the detection rate for Windows Defender was 99.5%, Avast anti-virus led by detecting 100% of malware. Avast also has a lot of advanced features that are not available on Windows Defender.

Is Windows Defender 100% accurate? ›

Its AI accurately identifies legitimate attack patterns while allowing safe software to pass. In tests using over one million software samples, Microsoft Defender Antivirus correctly caught the malware with 100% accuracy.

Is Windows Defender enough for average user? ›

Yes, Windows Defender is a good basic virus protection software. You may not find everything you want if you are extremely security focused. A third-party antivirus or anti-malware software will likely find threats that Windows Defender may miss.

Is Windows Defender enough firewall? ›

While the Windows Defender Firewall Control Panel program can protect a single device in a home environment, it doesn't provide enough centralized management or security features to help secure more complex network traffic found in a typical business enterprise environment.

Does Microsoft Defender protect against malware or viruses? ›

Use an anti-malware app - Installing an anti-malware app and keeping it up to date can help defend your PC against viruses and other malware (malicious software). Microsoft Defender is free anti-malware software included with Windows, and it's kept updated automatically through Windows Update.

Does Windows Defender detect everything? ›

As part of the Windows Security suite, it will search for any files or programs on your computer that can cause harm to it. Defender looks for software threats like viruses and other malware across email, apps, the cloud, and the web.

Can Microsoft Defender be hacked? ›

According to the researchers, hackers can potentially exploit this vulnerability to learn the list of locations excluded from Microsoft Defender scanning and plant malware there.

Is Windows Defender enough to remove malware? ›

The Windows Defender Offline scan will automatically detect and remove or quarantine malware.

Does Microsoft Defender detect Trojans? ›

How to protect against trojans. Use the following free Microsoft software to detect and remove it: Microsoft Defender Antivirus for Windows 10 and Windows 8.1, or Microsoft Security Essentials for previous versions of Windows. Microsoft Safety Scanner.

What is the number 1 best antivirus? ›

The Best Antivirus Software of 2022
  • Avira: Best Value.
  • McAfee: Best for Comprehensive Features.
  • Avast: Best for Solopreneurs and Remote Workers.
  • Bitdefender: Best for Prevention.
  • Emsisoft: Best for High-Tech Defenses.
  • F-Secure: Best for Customization.
  • Malwarebytes: Best for Real-Time Protection.
18 Nov 2022

Should I use Defender or McAfee? ›

Spoiler alert: McAfee is the best choice. Although it's not free like Microsoft Defender, McAfee ensures you get what you pay for, providing all-around protection from online threats to save you money in the longer term. Keep reading to find out how I tested both providers to select the ultimate antivirus solution.

How much does Microsoft Defender cost? ›

Explore pricing options
Resource TypePrice
Microsoft Defender for Storage1$0.0134 per storage account/hour7
Microsoft Defender for App Service$0.02/App Service/hour
Microsoft Defender for Key Vault$0.02/10K transactions
Microsoft Defender for ARM$4/1M API calls
10 more rows

Does Windows Defender automatically scan downloads? ›

Windows Defender automatically scans files as you download-so you do not need to scan them individually.

Can Windows Defender be wrong? ›

A false negative is an entity that wasn't detected as a threat, even though it actually is malicious. False positives/negatives can occur with any threat protection solution, including Microsoft Defender for Endpoint. Fortunately, steps can be taken to address and reduce these kinds of issues.

Do I need Norton if I have Windows Defender? ›

Norton 360 takes the top spot as the better antivirus option against Microsoft Defender. While Microsoft Defender provides a great real-time malware detection rate, it doesn't match up to the Norton 360, which detected and blocked every threat thrown its way.

Is Windows Defender good enough for Internet banking? ›

While Microsoft Defender has improved over the years, it's not enough to fully secure your Windows PC. It does have some good features, like parental controls, phishing protection, and hardware security, but these features aren't as comprehensive as those offered by a premium antivirus service.

Does Windows Defender use a lot of CPU? ›

While it is normal for antivirus programs to consume system resources when running a scan, Windows Defender is far greedier than most. It is known to use excessive CPU for longer periods of time and carry out scans right when you're waking up the computer to quickly send an email or check a website.

Does Windows Defender use a lot of RAM? ›

Windows Defender is a useful inbuilt tool which helps computer users like you to prevent your system from attacking by malware or viruses. However, sometimes, it will eat up high memory, CPU and disk usage.

Do I need both firewall and antivirus? ›

It is recommended to have both a firewall and antivirus installed on your computer. While a firewall can help to block malicious traffic, it cannot detect or remove malware. Antivirus software, on the other hand, is designed to detect and remove malware.

Do I need antivirus if I have a firewall? ›

Yes. A firewall will not protect you from viruses and other malware. A firewall limits outside network access to a computer or local network by blocking or restricting ports.

Which antivirus is best for PC? ›

  • Bitdefender Antivirus Plus. Best Overall Antivirus. ...
  • Webroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus. Best for a Small Footprint. ...
  • McAfee AntiVirus Plus. Best for Multi-Device Households. ...
  • ESET NOD32 Antivirus. Best for Techies. ...
  • G Data Antivirus. ...
  • Malwarebytes Premium. ...
  • Norton AntiVirus Plus. ...
  • Sophos Home Premium.

What is the difference between Microsoft Defender and Windows Defender? ›

Formerly known as Windows Defender, Microsoft Defender is an antivirus protection program that's included with Windows 10. You can enable or disable Microsoft Defender at any time. There are third-party apps that are free or require a paid subscription that also offer antivirus services.

How good is Windows Defender full scan? ›

Microsoft Defender scores 9.6, which is quite a good score. It's better than any other free product tested with this same sample set. Adaware, Avast, and Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition all score 9.2, while Kaspersky, Panda, and Avira score still lower.

Which antivirus is best for PC 2022? ›

  • Microsoft Defender. Best free Windows antivirus. ...
  • Norton 360 With LifeLock Select. Best antivirus subscription for Windows. ...
  • Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition. Best free antivirus alternative for Windows. ...
  • Malwarebytes. Best on-demand Windows malware removal. ...
  • McAfee Total Protection. Solid subscription antivirus alternative.
18 Nov 2022

Which is the best antivirus of 2022? ›

  • Bitdefender Antivirus Plus. Best Overall Antivirus. ...
  • Webroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus. Best for a Small Footprint. ...
  • McAfee AntiVirus Plus. Best for Multi-Device Households. ...
  • ESET NOD32 Antivirus. Best for Techies. ...
  • G Data Antivirus. ...
  • Malwarebytes Premium. ...
  • Norton AntiVirus Plus. ...
  • Sophos Home Premium.

Which is best antivirus for laptop 2022? ›

Best Malware Scanning: Malwarebytes
  • Our Top Picks.
  • Bitdefender Antivirus Plus.
  • Norton 360 With LifeLock.
  • Webroot SecureAnywhere for Mac.
  • McAfee Antivirus Plus.
  • Trend Micro Antivirus+ Security.
  • Malwarebytes.
  • See More (3)

Is Windows Defender better than McAfee? ›

In Usability, McAfee was again rated higher: 6/6 vs. 5.5/6. In the AV-Comparatives malware protection test, McAfee got the perfect “ADVANCED+” score; the Defender got the second-best with “ADVANCED.” In the real-world tests, McAfee attained the “ADVANCED” rating, while Microsoft's antivirus was rated “STANDARD.”

Which is the No 1 free antivirus for PC? ›

  • Avast One Essential. Best for Comprehensive Free Security. Jump To. ...
  • AVG AntiVirus Free. Best for Few-Frills Protection. ...
  • Bitdefender Antivirus Free for Windows. Best for No-Frills Protection. ...
  • Avira Free Security. Best for Many Security Components. ...
  • Microsoft Defender Antivirus. Best for Windows Die-Hards.

Which antivirus is worth buying? ›

Comparison of the Best Antiviruses of 2022
AntivirusStarting PriceMoney-Back Guarantee
1.🥇Norton$9.99 / year60-days
2.🥈Bitdefender$17.99 / year30-days
3.🥉 McAfee$39.99 / year30-days
4. TotalAV$19.00 / year30-days
7 more rows

Do you need virus protection with Windows 10? ›

Windows 10 and 11 include Windows Security, which provides the latest antivirus protection. Your device will be actively protected from the moment you start Windows. Windows Security continually scans for malware (malicious software), viruses, and security threats.

What antivirus is best for Windows 10? ›

The best Windows 10 antivirus you can buy
  1. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus. The best protection with lots of useful extras. ...
  2. Kaspersky Anti-Virus. Excellent protection, with few frills. ...
  3. Norton AntiVirus Plus. For those who deserve the very best. ...
  4. ESET NOD32 Antivirus. ...
  5. McAfee AntiVirus Plus. ...
  6. Trend Micro Antivirus+ Security.
27 Oct 2022

Is it worth installing Windows 11 2022? ›

Windows 11 is worth the update for most people. It comes with a wide range of new features, performance improvements, and design changes. As the latest Windows OS, it usually gets more attention than Windows 10, too. There's not too much risk in upgrading to Windows 11, either.

Is Windows 11 need any antivirus? ›

Yes, we recommend all Windows devices use antivirus software. Currently, the only antivirus software known to be compatible with Windows 11 in S mode is the version that comes with it: Windows Defender Security Center.

Is Windows 11 antivirus better than Windows 10? ›

In short, Windows 11 will be considerably more secure than Windows 10 by default through the use of HVCI and VBS.

Do laptops really need antivirus? ›

Once it's on your computer or laptop, malware can steal your data, encrypt it so you can't access it, or even erase it completely. For this reason it's important that you always use antivirus software, and keep it up to date to protect your data and devices.

What specs do I need for my laptop 2022? ›

You can get a laptop with an Intel Core i5 or AMD A8/Ryzen CPU along with 8GB of RAM and 500GB SSD, which is a really decent configuration. If you are looking to play medium-end games and do office or school work, you will find a good laptop in this range.

Do laptops have built in virus protection? ›

Are my laptop's built-in protections good enough? In most cases, no. Both Windows and Mac have some built-in security tools that provide a little protection against certain viruses. But they're not able to protect your laptop against advanced threats like phishing, adware, spyware, and ransomware.


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