Windows 10 includes free antivirus and security software known as Windows Defender.
One of the best features of Windows 10 is the integrated antivirus and antimalware scanner known as Windows Defender. It is completely free with no ongoing charges. It is light weight, unobtrusive and rather good. And guess what.
Almost no one knows about Windows Defender!
In fact, the first couple of versions of Windows 10 didn’t even include a tray icon for Windows Defender so you can understand to a degree why many people didn’t know it existed. Thankfully Windows Defender now has an icon, so you can see that it is there and running.
In the past it was necessary to buy an antivirus product or use one of the many free products from companies like Symantec, McAfee or AVG. I have no idea why Microsoft have never really made any effort to advertise the fact that Windows includes Windows Defender for free as part of Windows. In my opinion it is a fantastic selling point.
I imagine that Symantec, McAfee, AVG etc were not happy seeing Microsoft include Windows Defender into Windows. After all – if Defender was a good product (which it is) and is free (which it is) why would anyone who knows this purchase products from a 3rd party?
Why do people still pay for Antivirus?
Now some people I know still purchase antivirus as they believe that a paid product must be better than something Microsoft are not charging for. I don’t think this is the case, but I will acknowledge the fact that you do sometimes get additional features in paid antivirus suites like an additional firewall, anti-spam, identity protection, system tools, performance tools and even backup tools.
Personally, I see no value in those additions – most of them already exist in Windows such as the Windows Firewall, temporary file cleaner and backup tools such as File History or can be done by free 3rd party software such as Ccleaner.
For some people there may also be an issue of trust. They trust Symantec or McAfee to protect them. Ultimately if you can’t trust a company the size of Microsoft then what company can you trust?
I haven’t used a 3rd party antivirus since Microsoft launched Security Essentials for Windows XP and Windows 7. Security Essentials morphed into Windows Defender and was integrated into Windows 8 and Windows 10 continues that trend.
Improving Windows Defender
And here is a little-known tip for you that makes Windows Defender even better. As of writing this no other 3rd part Antivirus does this. And that is you can run Windows Defender in a sandbox. A sandbox can isolate Windows Defender (and any nasties it finds) from the rest of Windows further protecting Windows from infection.
Currently there is no settings option to enable sandbox mode in Windows Defender, so we must rely on enabling it from a command line.
So, to enable Sandboxing in Windows Defender: –
- Click Cortana. S
- Search for cmd.
- Right click cmd and select run as administrator.
- In the command line window that has now opened, enter the following command.
- Setx /M mp_force_use_sandbox 1 Followed by enter.
- Restart your PC.
And that is it. Windows Defender is now running in a sandbox.
If for any reason you wish to remove the sandboxing feature, then you can run the command again replacing the 1 with a 0 and a PC restart.