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Review of Windows Defender

Friday, July 20th, 2007 by | Filed Under: Security Help
 
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Q:
I just recently started using Windows Vista and of course, along with that, I’ve been using the Windows Defender program. It seems to work okay, but I haven’t been real impressed with it. Do you know of anything I should be aware of when it comes to using this program? Any information you have would be a great help. Thanks!

A:
Well, to begin, welcome to the wonderful world of Windows Vista. Yes, it has its ups and downs, but I think you’ll really enjoy it once you use it more and get used to everything. On the other hand, you may not want to get so used to using Windows Defender. For those of you who aren’t sure, Windows Defender is the free anti-spyware program that comes along with Windows Vista. It is the main application that is supposed to help protect your computer against spyware.

With that said, it may not do as good of a job as you’d like. It seems as if several Vista users are still using third party anti-spyware software programs, because Windows Defender is just not getting the job done. Now, I understand that some of you may love Windows Defender, so before you go on and call me a liar, allow me to give you 10 reasons why the Defender may not be up to par. Here we go!

1.) Basically, Windows Defender allows too much spyware to invade the computers it is supposed to protect. There have been several tests done that have revealed this very thing. Popular computer publications like PC Magazine, ZDNet and PC Advisor have all given statements in agreement with this as well. It just doesn’t get the job done like it should.

2.) Now, once the spyware hits your computer, Windows Defender also has some trouble getting it off of your system. It may find the malware, but it’s unable to actually get rid of it.

3.) Microsoft does not do a good job of giving you updates to the Windows Defender program. I mean, if you’re hoping for daily updates (which you should when it comes to protecting your computer), you can forget about it. The updates for Windows Defender are usually sent out weekly, but sometimes even bi-weekly. With the number of spyware updates going up everyday (there are approximately 3,000 new traces of spyware found each month), those amounts from Windows Defender just don’t cut it.

4.) Unfortunately, if you run into a problem while using Windows Defender, you might as well figure it out yourself. The Help feature definitely leaves you clueless and more confused than when you first started out.

5.) When you’re first installing Windows Defender, Microsoft is generous enough to give you two free tech support “coupons” or incidents. You can use those at any time when you need help with Windows Defender. Now, while that may sound like a perk, you must also know that Microsoft only qualifies such incidents as installation, configuration, definition update, detection and removal error problems. If you’re having trouble with anything else, you’re on your own. Plus, once you use up your two free passes, you have to pay $35 each time you have to call Microsoft for help.

6.) Along with Windows Defender comes too many error messages. It seems like there’s an error message that pops up no matter what you’re doing in the program at any given time. One in particular is a notification telling you your definitions are outdated, when you just made the update an hour or two before. It’s sort of like working with a program that has no communication skills.

7.) Windows Defender is not as user friendly as it may seem to be or as it should be. It only comes with a Windows Vista interface, which can be quite confusing for new users. Now, if it came with the option of changing it to an XP interface, everything would be fine, but as we can all guess, it does not.

8.) If you’re hoping to receive details about your Windows Defender scans, you can forget about that too. It does give you a basic report of what it finds on your computer in terms of spyware, but extra details seem to be out of the question. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a detailed report sent to your e-mail each time you run a scan? Well, I hate to say this, but you might as well keep dreaming!

9.) If you’re familiar with any other spyware programs, you probably know that they usually display their signatures right in plain view. Well, that’s not the case in Windows Defender. All of their signatures are very hard to find, so if you want to see them, you better start looking now.

10.) If you install new programs on Windows Vista quite often, prepare yourself for running into some trouble with Windows Defender. There are a lot of known compatibility issues when it comes to Windows Defender. You may just end up with a lot of error messages and yes, you guessed it, headaches.

So, all in all, if you’re relying solely on Windows Defender to protect your computer against spyware, you might want to think about putting at least one other anti-spyware program on your PC. It’s recommended that you use two different programs. You can use one for scanning and the other for real time protection. Now, I know all of you have different needs and wants when it comes to anti-spyware software, but some you may want to check into are SpyCatcher (which is available in our store right here), Spy Sweeper, Spyware Doctor and SpywareBlaster.

Whatever you choose to go with, at least now you know the story behind Windows Defender and you can work on getting your computer the protection it deserves!

~ Erin

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