Windows 10: Do I Need to Install Antivirus Software?

Frank  — October 19, 2018  ·  Read user reviews

Does Windows 10 need antivirus software? This is a question we receive often.

If you aren’t well versed in the world of cybersecurity, you might think you can get away without any kind of antivirus software on your computer. This just isn’t true anymore.

When your computer is constantly connected to the internet and outside world, it’s eventually bound to run into a virus or other kind of malware.

In fact, there are more viruses and people trying to steal your data or harm your computer now than there ever has been before!

These threats target any operating system they can, and Windows 10 is no different. So, how do you go about protecting your Windows 10 computer? Does Windows 10 even need added protection or has Microsoft built it into the operating system?

The release of Windows 10 did a lot to advance Microsoft’s offerings and make it more secure. In this article, we dig into this operating system’s security and what you can do to better protect yourself.

Does Windows 10 Provide Any Virus Defense?

First, it’s important to understand the kind of security Windows 10 already provides. Starting with the release of Windows 8, Microsoft started including a built-in antivirus software in all machines using their OS. This software is called Windows Defender.

Windows Defender provides all the functionality of a basic antivirus software, but does it hold its own when compared to the competition? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of Windows Defender.

Windows Defender Pros and Cons

When you purchase a computer with Windows 10 pre-installed, you’ll need to make a decision about your malware protection plan. At this point, you have two choices: continue using Windows Defender or purchase a different antivirus software. The best way to make that choice is by looking at the pros and cons of Windows Defender.

Windows Defender is great because:

  • It’s free, which is a huge bonus for those on a budget. But, you may wonder, don’t you get what you pay for? This is true in many cases, but Windows Defender is a pretty solid antivirus software even in spite of the non-existent price tag. If you don’t have the budget to purchase a yearly antivirus subscription, you can’t go wrong using Windows Defender.
  • It’s easy to use. Windows Defender offers an intuitive and extra-simple interface. If you’re already familiar with the way Windows works as a whole, you’ll have no problem using Defender.
  • It’s unobtrusive. This antivirus software runs quietly in the background, performing scans and monitoring applications without you knowing and without slowing your computer down. This is a huge plus, especially compared to other antivirus software that constantly pester you with upgrade offers and pop-up ads.
  • It doesn’t require a lengthy setup process. Since it’s integrated into the OS, Defender is already protecting your computer from the first time you turn it on.

Windows Defender suffers because:

  • It doesn’t offer a huge feature set. Defender doesn’t offer a ton of extra or “premium” features that many other antivirus software options provide. This is a basic, no-frills antivirus software that keeps viruses away and not much else.
  • It has spotty accuracy identifying newer types of malware. Windows Defender was built to protect yourself against the most common viruses and security threats, but it struggles when it comes to the newer stuff.
  • It isn’t very customizable. Many antivirus software options give you the ability to customize scans to target certain file sets or areas on their computer. Sticking to its ease of use and overall simplicity, Windows Defender doesn’t give you much room when it comes to customizability.


How to Choose an Antivirus Software

Moving away from Windows Defender is necessary if you want to protect yourself against malware and other advanced types of malware. But there are a ton of choices on the market. Let’s take a look at how you can choose the right antivirus software for your computer.

  1. Set a Budget – Before you even start looking at the different software on the market, it’s important to set your budget. Depending on the plan you choose, antivirus software can get incredibly expensive, especially if you want to protect multiple devices.Most antivirus companies charge by yearly subscriptions, with continual updates to your software. Expect to pay around $30 – $50 a year for a basic subscription and upwards of $120 per year for premium protection.
  2. Determine What You Need – Are you looking for basic protection or do you also need ID theft protection, VPN services or other advanced security features? Most antivirus companies offer both basic and premium plans. Consider what extra features you absolutely need or want. Some companies let you pick bonus features in a la carte style, but most bundle premium features into higher-priced packages.
  3. Do Your Research – Don’t pick the first antivirus software that pops up on your Google search. Do your research into the software you’re purchasing. The more research you put into finding a good antivirus software, the better you’ll feel in the long run.
  1. Test the Product/MBG – Once you’ve purchased a new antivirus software, you’ll want to make sure it works properly. This can be difficult since the antivirus should be quiet if it’s doing its job right. But there are some things you can look for. Your antivirus shouldn’t slow down your computer. If you notice a significant performance decrease after installation, you can be fairly certain the new software is causing problems. Open the software’s interface and see if you can navigate around without a problem. There will be times that you’ll access the actual software, and you want it to be as easy as possible.

The Verdict

If you’re serious about protecting your computer in today’s world, Windows Defender just won’t cut it. There are too many different kinds of malware and security threats that Defender isn’t equipped to handle.

That being said, you shouldn’t dismiss Defender entirely. Microsoft has produced a solid and reliable product for free and already integrated into your computer. If you’re on a tight budget or only require basic antivirus features, you can’t go wrong with Windows Defender.