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Unlike antivirus software, Malwarebytes Free can’t prevent a PC from being infected. But it does an excellent job of cleaning out malware that’s already on your system, as well as removing legal adware and potentially unwanted programs that antivirus software often ignores.

Malwarebytes Free doesn’t interfere with any antivirus software that’s already installed, so it’s perfectly safe to install it alongside one of our recommended brands. Just don’t upgrade to the paid Malwarebytes Premium, true antivirus software that does poorly in lab tests and which will conflict with other AV programs. We recommend Malwarebytes Free as a complement to any of the best antivirus programs, free or paid. Read our full Malwarebytes Free review.

Before you buy antivirus protection, figure out what you need. If you have young children at home, then consider midrange antivirus products, most of which include parental controls. Do you want an all-encompassing security solution?

Or are you a techie who understands and the risks of using the internet? Then a low-priced basic program might be all you need. Once you’ve got your priorities figured out, then determine how many machines you’ll need to protect.

Most vendors offer single-device licenses for Windows PCs. But multi-device, multi-platform licenses for five, 10 or more computers and mobile devices are available in midrange and premium antivirus packages, covering Windows, macOS, Android, iOS and sometimes even Linux.

Some vendors offer plans that cover an unlimited number of devices. Gone are the days when you could walk into a store and pay a one-time fee for an antivirus product that came in a box off a shelf.

All the vendors now sell their software licenses as yearly or multiyear subscriptions. The upside is that you’ll always get the latest software, which you can download and install straight from the internet. We’ve got much more about this in our stand-alone guide on how to buy antivirus software. Many antivirus products are sold online for much less than their list prices.

However, each brand offers basic, midrange and premium configurations of features and pricing, with every step up adding more features. Think of cars at a dealership. You can get a base-model car that will take you to and from where you need to go just fine. For a few grand more though, you can buy a car with satellite radio, an in-car Wi-Fi hotspot and other premium features.

The software will have essential malware protection and maybe a password manager or a two-way firewall. We cover this category in our best Windows 10 antivirus guide. They usually add parental controls some of which are very good plus a few other features like webcam protection. They also often include multi-device licenses and antivirus software for Mac and Android.

Our evaluations are based on the interface, performance, protection and extra features that each antivirus program offers. Was the interface intuitive and user-friendly? How much did malware scans slow down system performance? How well did the program detect and remove malware?

Does the program offer other useful tools or features? Most of our tests were performed on a Lenovo ThinkPad T with a 2. The longer it took the laptop to finish each test, the heavier the performance impact.

Each lab puts the products from all of the major antivirus brands through stress tests which involve thousands of pieces of malware including hundreds of new samples since unknown malware is more difficult to detect.

Get instant access to breaking news, the hottest reviews, great deals and helpful tips. US Edition. View Deal opens in new tab. Norton Deluxe. Specifications Anti-theft: No. Backup software: Yes. Firewall: Yes. Game mode: Yes. Hardened browser: No. Parental controls: Yes. Password manager: Yes. Ransomware rollback: No. Webcam protection: Yes. VPN: Unlimited. Parental controls, backup software, online storage, password manager, webcam protection, unlimited VPN.

Reasons to avoid – Heavy slowdown during full scans. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus. Backup software: No. Firewall: No. Hardened browser: Yes. Parental controls: No. Ransomware rollback: Yes. Webcam protection: No. Virtual keyboard: Yes. VPN: Limited upsell. Wi-Fi scanner: Yes. Reasons to avoid – Heavy background system impact. McAfee Internet Security. Virtual keyboard: No.

Reasons to avoid – Very heavy performance hit. Trend Micro Maximum Security. Specifications Backup software: No. Reasons to avoid – Heavy performance hit during scans. Specifications Anti-theft: Yes.

Reasons to avoid – Lacks file shredder or VPN. Sophos Home Premium. Game mode: No. Password manager: No. Wi-Fi scanner: No. Reasons to avoid – So-so malware protection. Kaspersky Total Security. Reasons to avoid – Limited VPN usage. Windows Defender Antivirus. Specifications Email scans: No. Password manager: Yes, with other Microsoft apps.

Ransomware reversal: Yes. Scan scheduler: Yes. Upsell nag factor: Nonexistent. Reasons to avoid – Some features work only on Microsoft products. Kaspersky Security Cloud Free. Specifications Email scans: Yes. Password manager: Limited. Support options: FAQs, forums. Upsell nag factor: Moderate. Reasons to avoid – Password manager, VPN service are just teases.

Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition. Ransomware reversal: No. Scan scheduler: No. Upsell nag factor: Minimal. Reasons to avoid – No extra features whatsoever. Avast Free Antivirus. Specifications Email scans: Separate tool. Hardened browser: Separate tool. Password manager: Not any more. Ransomware reversal: Shield only. Support options: : FAQs, forums. Upsell nag factor: Omnipresent. Reasons to avoid – Password manager discontinued. Upsell nag factor: Inescapable. Reasons to avoid – Middling malware protection.

Malwarebytes Free. Reasons to avoid – Installs trialware of paid version. Be In the Know Get instant access to breaking news, the hottest reviews, great deals and helpful tips. Contact me with news and offers from other Future brands Receive email from us on behalf of our trusted partners or sponsors.

Anthony Spadafora. Topics Antivirus. See all comments I will prefer Kaspersky antivirus licensed software. So wait, wasn’t Kapersky implicated in a security vulnerability that the AV software was providing metrics on user data and phoning home with it? Is that a question or a statement. I don’t see anything about a virtual keyboard in Bitdefender; how do I find it and how does it work? Do the authors of these articles take into consideration anything except how well they perform as antivirus software?

Kaspersky has been implicated in data breeches at the NSA and other government and corporations around the world. A parent or guardian would not be able to easily keep an eye on what the kid is doing with their computer. However, the Windows defender is the solution to this problem. It provides a robust monitoring tool that can enable you to control what your kids are doing. It provides activity logs in the form of reports.

Windows Defender filters websites upon activating parental control features, to protect kids. It can also limit the time kids spend on the internet, thereby making them more productive in other areas. With parental control, you can also define when your kids can use their PCs and devices. It also helps in monitoring activities across multiple systems at once.

Lately, a lot of advanced spyware tools have gained popularity among users to monitor an individual or organization. Microsoft Defender comes with a sophisticated and robust antispyware technology that goes the extra mile to ensure you do not get spied on. It quickly scans through all the data and apps on your PC to check and remove spyware signatures.

If it finds anything suspicious, it will help the user get rid of them. Windows Defender also keeps an eye on other legitimate software and application attached to spyware. When it comes to computer resource management, no antivirus application is as efficient as Windows Defender. Since it belongs to the same parent firm that develops Windows operating system, it uses fewer computer resources. That means the PC would have more space and processing power. This is the latest addition to the anti-malware application.

It provides an additional layer of protection against ransomware. It also protects specific folders, files, and even some PC RAM aspects against untrusted applications trying to gain access. You may need to reconsider your stance if you have taken Windows defender for granted because of its previous reputation.

Only a few antiviruses out there offer a controlled folder access feature. It comes fully integrated with your windows operating system; therefore, you need not download, install, or set up anything. As soon as you install Windows, it starts protecting your system automatically , which is different from other antivirus applications. However, if you need to change Windows Defender settings, you can still do that very easily.

The steps are basic enough, and you can quickly change whatever you want without needing to go through the documentation. With it, you can securely carry out a full system scan, custom scan, or offline scan with just a click.

You can easily check the status of your Windows Defender through the icon at the status bar. When you click on it, you would be able to view your current Defender status, see the functions of the firewall, and adjust notification rules. You can also restore the firewall to the default state, troubleshoot your internet network, allow specific apps through the firewall, and so much more.

Windows Defender comes with browser and app control features that can let you keep full command of crucial functionalities. It has a state of the art Windows Smart screen that you can easily configure to warn, block, or ignore specific files and applications. The system will enable you to use Windows Defender for free.

Windows Defender ensures that your PC is optimized and is running as fast as possible. The consequences of a Virus attack on your PC can result to slow processing speed, system crash, data compromise, and lots more. It ensures that the system remains protected; the hard drive is optimized and operates with good speed. This can save you a tremendous amount of time and effort. It monitors outgoing and incoming traffic on your PC network. The program double checks every incoming and outgoing file through the network.

It also checks all the sites you visit and block out a malicious website from your network. It would ensure that you do not unintentionally download malware or access unauthorized sites. You can end up exposing your PC to different cyber threats while merely accessing unauthorized sites.

These attacks include ransomware attacks, hacking attempts, spyware, malvertising or adware , and lots more. Windows Defender provides a secure login for users to protect their passwords.

When your passwords are compromised, hackers can use them to blackmail you, steal your funds, or gain access to other confidential information. While its password protection feature might not be as good as some of the best password managers out there, Windows Defender offers quality password protection for free. With just a single click, it can purge all suspicious applications. It requires minimal user input to carry out its functions, and in most cases, need no configuration.

Also known as DNS filtering, web protection is a crucial safeguard against viruses and malware. Most phishing emails bypass antivirus programs by using malicious links instead of file attachments to inject malware. Windows Defender offers web protection on the Edge browser. However, since most people use Chrome, they might miss out on this crucial feature that blocks malicious sites. Another area that Windows Defender has failed to address is robust password management.

Because people have multiple passwords to deal with, they use weak combinations so they can remember. Some even reuse the same passwords for various web applications. Windows Defender does not offer a password management tool to recommend and store robust passwords. A cloud backup is an imperative protection feature against malware and virus attacks that destroys your data.

It safely stores your files, and you can quickly restore them at any time. Unfortunately, Windows Defender does not offer this protective component. Luckily, you can use Windows Defender together with another free antivirus for added protection. There are many other free antivirus software that offers better malware and virus protection than Windows Defender. However, free antivirus programs can be lacking in other areas. Maybe their malware scanner is not sufficient, or real-time protection does not work well.

Actually, there is no free antivirus that will offer complete protection. That is why you should consider using a free third-party antivirus alongside Windows Defender to give your PC decent protection. If you store sensitive data such as your passwords, pictures, or bank information, you should consider investing in an affordable premium antivirus like Norton It has a cloud-based malware scanner and continuously updates the database with the newest malware threats.

During our testing, the antivirus effectively detected the phishing sites we tried to access and blocked many malware sample files. Since the software receives frequent updates, it offers better protection than Windows Defender. The best part is that the Kaspersky free antivirus also offers a password manager and VPN , two critical security tools that Windows Defender lacks.

The malware scanner is faster, and the detection rate is near-perfect. If you upgrade to the paid version, you will get more features such as safe money, privacy cleaner, webcam protection, anti-spam, etc. TotalAV is a user-friendly antivirus that actively protects your PC from malicious malware and viruses. The free version comes with a range of essential features better than what the Windows Defender offers.

We used the Junk Cleaner to scan our computer and freed nearly 5 GB of our hard disk space. During our testing, it identified and blocked all the sample malware files. On the downside, you have to upgrade to the paid version to get real-time protection , which Windows Defender offers for free.

Although Windows Defender does not provide these features, other free antivirus programs like Kaspersky offer them for free. TotalAV offers a lot of functionality than Windows Defender. The PC optimization feature will help to enhance the performance of your device. Although it does not provide real-time protection on the free version, you can upgrade to the paid version to access it and many more features. Avira antivirus program comes with many features, even on the free version, including an integrated firewall, real-time malware protection, free VPN , and more.

Nonetheless, it has several premium features, including PC optimization tools and password manager, making it a good Windows Defender complement. This is much better compared to our experience with Windows Defender. The paid version offers great security tools such as an integrated VPN, secure banking tools, customizable scans, and parental controls. Even though Windows Defender has decent scanning options, it lacks essential tools like parental controls and VPN.

Bitdefender malware scanning engine performs better than Windows Defender. While the free version is lightweight, it is very powerful with real-time protection. The premium version comes with crucial features such as a VPN and parental controls, which Windows Defender does not offer.

Malwarebytes free version comes with limitations, offering malware scanning only and no real-time protection. However, it works well when combined with Windows Defender. The dashboard looks complicated, but it is straightforward to use and navigate. Everything is laid out, and the scan button will appear once you open the program.

Malwarebytes Premium version is a secure and highly-capable antivirus. It offers protection against multiple threats, including ransomware and zero-day attacks. Although Malwarebytes is good at identifying and removing malware from PC, it is not powerful enough to act as standalone antivirus. However, you can combine it with Windows Defender for better protection.

Lately, Microsoft has significantly invested in Windows Defender, and this has ensured greater efficiency. Research carried out by independent labs in found that it blocked In essence, Windows Defender is good enough for your PC in ; however, this was not the case some time ago.

Previously the antivirus program lacked the sophistication to handle modern threats. It also used to crash a lot during updates, which has, unfortunately, given it a bad reputation even in However, Windows Defender currently provides robust protection for systems against malware programs , as demonstrated in numerous independent tests.

It comes pre-installed with windows without additional charges. Moreover, it is convenient to use, especially for less tech-savvy people who may not understand how to configure other premium antivirus applications for optimum results. Having an antivirus program like Windows Defender installed on your PC is a no-brainer. Not only can it help save a lot of reputational damage, but also you would end up saving money as it is free.

If you are looking for a top-notch antivirus program and fancy simplicity, too, then Microsoft Defender is the answer. But it is not the only top free antivirus program out there. For your antivirus AB testing, we recommend you not to settle on Windows Defender only. Instead, try out some other alternatives like Kaspersky and Bitdefender, too. The best way to protect your PC is to combine the Windows Defender with another reliable free antivirus.

That is why you need to upgrade to a budget-friendly antivirus like Norton You have to do nothing if you are using Windows 10 since the software is automatically installed and activated. However, if you are not using a Windows operating system, you will have to download and install the antivirus software. Windows Defender does not block other antivirus programs. In fact, it will turn itself off if it detects that you are activating other antivirus software.

If you turn off the alternative program, Windows Defender will automatically reactivate to ensure your PC is always protected. While Windows Defender provides decent cybersecurity protection, it cannot match many premium antivirus services. It can serve you if you are just looking for basic internet protection.

However, if you have sensitive data such as bank details, login info, or private files, Windows Defender may not be an ideal option. If you have a Windows 10 Enterprise software license, the protection will extend to your mobile devices. Nonetheless, mobile devices are not susceptible to attacks as PCs, and if you are using Android and iOS operating systems, you will receive frequent security features.

Therefore, expect to use the Windows Defender on your laptop and desktop devices. Windows Defender will remove malware from your PC if it detects it.

Therefore, you cannot entirely rely on Windows Defender as your primary antivirus. There are better free antiviruses that are regularly updated to handle the newest threats. However, they still cannot offer guaranteed malware protection like premium ones. The Windows Defender browser extension can protect you from various cybersecurity threats such as phishing scams and malicious sites.

However, the protection is just basic because the antivirus is not updated enough. You will be much safer with budget-friendly premium antiviruses like Norton Windows Defender is completely free for PCs with Windows 8 and above. Nonetheless, there are enhanced free antivirus programs that are updated regularly than the Defender. Microsoft has not been keen to update the software to handle the latest malware trends.

So, using it as your standalone antivirus can leave you vulnerable to spyware, ransomware, and other advanced forms of malware. Today, almost every individual on Earth has a mobile phone, specifically a smartphone. And every use It held a place Getting the audio out of a YouTube video is often helpful. For example, sometimes you are interested An antivirus is a great tool for protection against malware and other computer viruses.

Your device If you use Windows as your regular operating system, you know that antivirus software is not optiona Nwachukwu Glory is a writer, blogger, and tech nerd. She loves trying new gadgets that make life more fun and easier. Glory is passionate about digital security and privacy alongside browsing the World Wide Web without any limitations.


– Is Windows Defender Good Enough in ? [Full Analysis]

Pictures helped. Microsoft Defender detects and blocks apps that the software finds behaving abnormally. Read our full Kaspersky Total Security review. Yet every other digital-protection service you could possibly ask for is included with at least some of its bundles. Quick Heal.


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Another area where Malwarebytes is superior to Defender is scheduling system scans. Their subscription prices run well into the triple digits, but still cost less than if you were to buy the identity protection, password manager, cloud-backup storage and antivirus software separately. Then a low-priced basic program might be all you need.