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Windows Defender- What is It, How to Activate and Best Alternatives

By default, Windows is the most widely spread operating system around the world, and therefore, it is used by billions of users. Taking into account that, its predominance has been so notable in the computer world that most of the programs have been developed with this system in mind. And in this guide, we learn what is Windows Defender, how it works, activate it and its best alternatives.

For its part, Windows also stands out for providing different native applications to its users, among which are: Internet Explorer as a web browser, Windows Media Player, and a security program called Windows Defender. The latter has been included due to the existence of numerous virus threats.

Therefore, said OS has its own security system to guarantee protection to its users in real-time. Being this way, a fast and efficient tool that is worth knowing in-depth, so, here we will explain what it is about, what its functions are, its pros and cons, as well as how you can activate and deactivate it.

What is Windows Defender?
Windows Defender

What is Windows Defender and what is this Microsoft program for?

Basically, it is a security software that has been designed for virus detection and, therefore, has the functions of antivirus and antispyware. Thus, it consists of a tool that is used to actively protect and monitor system locations.

Thus, its main purpose is to prevent, remove and/or quarantine any threat, spyware or ransomware present in Microsoft Windows. So, it is used, specifically, to detect these types of threats in real-time and thus, monitor the optimal functioning of the system and the equipment in real-time.

For its part, Windows Defender is a program that, by default, is pre-installed and enabled in Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, and 10. Consequently, this software is completely free and thanks to the fact that there is no paid version, fortunately, it does not emit unnecessary pop-up advertisements.

In this sense, although it is not a completely infallible tool, it is considered sufficient for the normal use of the computer. In other words, it is recommended to access blogs, social media platforms, make purchases online through secure portals, download content from reliable sources, etc.

What are all the tools that we can find in Windows Defender?

In general terms, this Windows security program has as its main function to analyze capabilities similar to other free products on the market. For this, it has a certain number of security agents who patrol several common areas of the system in order to be aware of any changes caused by a virus or spyware. It is also a software that has the ability to remove ActiveX applications installed in Internet Explorer, easily.

Best Windows Defender Features
Windows Defender Features

In addition to this, it has the support of Microsoft’s SpyNet network, with which, the users themselves will be able to inform the company of possible spyware attacks. Now, to be able to carry out this management, provide optimal protection to its users, and have a good operation, Windows Defender relies on certain tools with which it can operate correctly.

Next, we specify which are the main ones:

Antivirus and threat protection: It consists of the main program window and from there, the main options based on threat management will be broken down.

Firewall and network protection: This is the Windows firewall and represents those networks available on the computer and the configuration options to allow applications to run and configure notifications.

Application control and browser: With this utility, the program can analyze, in real-time, each and every one of the applications that you download and try to install on the computer. Thus, it works as a security filter.

Device security: It is a tool that offers the possibility of configuring protection for physical elements so that viruses do not stay there. As, for example, in RAM.

Threat history: Through this option, users will be able to observe all the threats that the Windows antivirus has found. Thus, it offers the convenience of restoring files to their original place, and in case you find a threat that is not actually a virus, you can allow access.

Protection against ransomware: As its name implies, it is responsible for implementing a guard against ransomware-type viruses. Which can hijack your team to demand the payment of an economic amount in order to unlock it.

Integration with Internet Explorer: Thanks to this tool, it allows you to analyze files when they are downloaded, to guarantee that they are not malicious software. Therefore, it is similar to real-time analyzers.

Advantages and disadvantages: Is it convenient to have Microsoft’s antivirus activated?

Given that Windows Defender is a utility that protects your system from any threat, prevents loss of your files and helps to keep active the useful functions of the computer, of course, reveals certain advantages which must be known. However, it also contains some peculiarities for which it is not so recommended to use it, which results in disadvantages.

In this sense, we proceed to point out the most important reasons why you should activate this Windows antivirus and use it constantly:

Unlike many solutions available on the market, it is a completely free program, even though its operation is similar to that of another renowned antivirus on the market.

Windows Defender does not display pop-up ads and therefore reveals an optimal user experience.

It is considered a tool that offers excellent performance. This means that it does not consume much RAM of the machine and does not slow down when accessing popular websites, downloading heavy programs, or running software.

It guarantees protection in the cloud and in real-time, due to this, each user can be fully protected while browsing the network. Even if there are risks, you will receive alerts at the right time.

Many antivirus programs are designed for advanced users, and therefore reveal complications when using them. But, this does not happen with Windows Defender, since it is easy to use and very easy to read.

It has the ability to perform truly fast scans, simply by using the caching technology of the operating system.

In addition to offering optimal scans, it allows you to specify which areas of the system you want to scan.

It manages to monitor all activities such as alerts and deletion or installation of new definitions, thanks to the event log it has.

However, as we indicated earlier, Windows Defender is not a foolproof tool at all and, therefore, it has some disadvantages or cons that you also need to know.

Here we point out the most relevant of all:

It is considered an ideal program for basic users. Since, if you browse potentially dangerous websites, download files from insecure sites or use P2P applications, it does not reveal correct operation.

It is almost impossible to uninstall this program from a PC. That is a ridiculous feature for those users who want to disable the program completely to install a paid antivirus or simply because they do not like its operation.

Sometimes it can issue certain delays in terms of reliability and power.

How to enable/ disable Windows Defender Antivirus

Despite the fact that this Windows antivirus cannot be uninstalled from computers, the truth is that, if it supports its activation or deactivation by each user, according to their preferences.

Luckily, it is very simple and fast to perform, here we show you what these procedures consist of step by step:

In case the present software pre-installed in Windows is not enabled by default or has been temporarily disabled before, you need to know how you can activate it.

Therefore, first of all, we explain what you must do to enable Windows Defender without further complications:

Initially, click the Start button on the desktop located in the lower-left corner and click the cogwheel icon that belongs to the Settings menu.

Search Windows Settings
Windows Settings

Following that, among all the available options, proceed to select the one that says “Update and security”.

Next, it is time to access “Windows Defender” or “Windows Security”.

Now, tap on “Virus & threat protection” tab and then, tap on Manage Settings.

Now, activate the switch that indicates “Real-time protection”. While the other two options are not mandatory.

But, in case these switches are dimmed and cannot be changed, you will have to proceed differently to enable this Windows tool.

Thus, the process consists of:

Access the Start menu of the computer and in the search bar, enter and select the term “Run”.

Now, in the space shown in the lower right corner of the panel, type “regedit”, press the Enter key and confirm the warning in question.

Subsequently, you will access the Windows registry and on the left side, you will see a series of folders where you have to click on HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE and then, in the available subfolders, do the following: Software -> Policies -> Microsoft -> Windows Defender.

Enable/Disable Windows Defender Using Regedit
Windows Regedit

Followed by that, double click on the right key “DisableAntiSpyware”. In addition, directly in “Value information”, enter the number 0 to press OK and close the record.

Finally, access the configuration menu, select “Update and security“, to click on “Windows Defender” or “Windows Security” and enable the option indicated above.

On the other hand, if you want to disable the operation of this antivirus and antispyware, you can also do it. Whereas, the system allows you to do it only for a certain time since it can be activated automatically afterward.

How to disable Windows Defender

Having clarified the above, we proceed to explain the steps to follow in order to disable Windows Defender, easily and correctly:

As in the previous case, click on the system Start menu and select the Settings icon.

Then, among all the options in the configuration window, click on the “Update and security” category.

After that, in the options bar, choose “Windows Defender” or “Windows Security”.

Best Windows Defender Features

Now, tap on Virus & threat protection and then tap on Manage Settings under this same menu. (Windows 10).

Next, you must disable the three available switches which are: “Real-time protection”, “Cloud-based protection” and “Sample submission”.

To save the changes, you only have to close the configuration window.

It should be noted that, unlike the previous case, at this point, it is essential to disable the three switches indicated. Since, apart from the option of “Real-time protection”, the alternatives also have to uncheck mandatory. Therefore, if you leave them activated, the program will not be disabled correctly.

List of the best antivirus for Windows Defender that you should know

If you choose to disable Windows Defender, it is recommended that you download and install another antivirus in order to keep the operating system and your computer safeguarded, while browsing the network or downloading files.

Therefore, below, we point out the best alternative solutions for Windows Defender:

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware

1. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware

Of course, it is compatible with several versions of Windows and consists of a program with the ability to combat viruses, spyware, and other potential threats that may affect your online work. Thus, it is a software that provides a free and a paid version. Taking into account that, although its free version does not guarantee real-time protection, it is useful for analyzing equipment on demand.

For its part, the operation of Malwarebytes is based on searching for or detecting viruses, worms, spyware, keyloggers, rootkits, unwanted programs, and any such threat in order to eliminate them. It even offers two types of scans: the “Threat Scan” that examines the areas where malware is usually hidden and the “Custom Scan” that does personalized scans on the system.

In addition to this, this program has a scanning engine that is characterized by providing rapid analysis, in any situation. In addition, it allows creating inclusion lists and quarantining suspicious files for greater security. In addition, it has a heuristic search engine and its interface promotes great usability.

Download this antivirus from here.

IObit Malware Fighter
IObit Malware Fighter

2. IObit Malware Fighter

Available for Windows and totally free, we highlight this antimalware and antivirus software that has the ability to offer absolute protection for your PC against malicious files of any kind. Taking into account that, thanks to the fact that it works from a constantly updated database, it can guarantee optimal and powerful security.

In addition to this, it is distinguished by intelligently using the resources of the computer and, thanks to this, it does not cause any type of slowdown while it works. Additionally, it has a scan speed up to 130% higher than another conventional antivirus, making it truly effective.

Thus, it also reliably protects the security and privacy of the user’s confidential data because its execution system takes place in the background. Among other details, it has excellent antispam and antispy protection filters, it exhibits a very simple and manageable user interface, it has a “depth scan” function and it has other additional functions.

Download this antivirus from here.

SuperAntiSpyware
SuperAntiSpyware

3. SuperAntiSpyware

It consists of a powerful ally against spyware that constitutes a nuisance for a large number of users. Thus, it presents the power to discover and eliminate all kinds of spyware, that is, from adware and Trojans to suspicious cookies and dialers. This, thanks to the fact that it is in charge of carefully analyzing the memory, the registry, and the drives that you select in search of malicious software.

For its part, once it executes its examination and search process, it proceeds to show the analysis results and in case of finding potential risks, it will store them in a quarantined state until necessary. Whereas, the most dangerous elements will be removed immediately. Considering that, fortunately, it carries out complete studies in real-time.

However, it also has certain parameters to improve, such as the lack of automatic updates. In addition to that, it is not completely free (its “free” version has some limitations) and it does not have the ability to integrate with the browser, unlike Windows Defender.

Download this antivirus from here.

SpyBot Search & Destroy
SpyBot Search & Destroy

4. SpyBot Search & Destroy

To conclude with the list, we emphasize this software that has been designed as a tool to support the defense of the privacy of Windows users against all kinds of spyware. Therefore, it is in charge of actively protecting the computer, as well as detecting and deleting all the viruses classified as spyware that are present.

Now, if that were not enough, this program also offers the necessary utilities to be able to immunize your computer against future infections, in order to provide a higher level of security. In addition, it is characterized by having a completely fast detection system, it has a well-structured interface, it has a practical help system and it is free.

Download this antivirus from here.

Deepak Gupta

Deepak Gupta is a tech geek who is a founder of TechShali, a popular tech-blog dedicated to help people all around the world.

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