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Opinions on Windows Defender for 8.1 vs. other AVs


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#1 MaryBet82

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Posted 20 February 2015 - 07:33 PM

My sister has a new HP 8.1 laptop I'm trying to help her with. It came w/ a trial Mcafee installed - just trying to get setup she has already had a trojan worm reportedly quarantined and 21 other threats ID'd. I tried reading up on Defender so she could make a decision to keep/switch before her trial ends - and got confused pretty quickly. Supposedly, MS recommended running additional software? I thought one could only run one AV program at a time.

 

My Win 8.1 The Manual That Should Have Come With said Defender provided adequate security. Anyone agree/disagree? Any suggestions for the most secure option out there - fee or free? Any AV/Security Suite with great support or understandable instructions/help for the non-expert?

 

Thanks for any help.


mac 10.6 on macbook pro
WinXP sp2 on Dell 380 w/ 512 MB RAM- currently dead in the water
WinXP tab ed sp 3 on Thinkpad X41 w/ 1.5 GB RAM - lemony flavored
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#2 quietman7

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Posted 20 February 2015 - 07:46 PM

Windows Defender on Windows 8 integrates a more robust version of Windows Defender (and uses that name) for its anti-virus and anti-malware protection. Although it uses the same name, it is not the same as Defender in previous operating systems. Windows Defender 8 provides the same level of protection against malware as Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) on older operation systems and uses the same daily virus definition updates.  

 

Since Windows 8 Defender includes anti-virus protection, it may be disabled by the installation of a third-party anti-virus program. If a trial anti-virus came preinstalled on your computer or you installed one, it most likely turned Windows 8 Defender off (disabled) to avoid conflicts. Windows 8 Defender will remain disabled until that anti-virus software has been completely uninstalled and then Windows 8 Defender needs to be activated if you choose to use it. When uninstalling the third-party anti-virus you may receive a message indicated your system has no protection...click here to turn on Windows Defender. If not, you will need to manually turn it on.

However, an anti-virus program alone does not provide comprehensive protection and cannot prevent, detect and remove all threats at any given time.. Anti-virus and anti-malware programs each perform different tasks as it relates to computer security and threat detection. Essentially, they look for and remove different types of malicious threats. However, there can be some overlap in functionality and detection features depending on the program's scanning engine, how the vendor defines a specific threat and what Naming Standards are used. Anti-virus software is inherently reactive...meaning it usually finds malware after a computer has been infected. The security community is in a constant state of change as new infections appear and it takes time for them to be reported, samples collected, analyzed, and tested by anti-virus researchers before they can add a new threat to database definitions. Further, if you're dealing with zero-day malware it's unlikely the anti-virus is going to detect anything.

Therefore, you need both an anti-virus and an anti-malware solution for maximum protection. Although Windows Defender 8 includes anti-malware protection, it is not very effective so you should use a trustworthy and reliable anti-malware solution alongside it.
 
See my comments in Supplementing your Anti-Virus Program with Anti-Malware Tools as to why I recommend Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Premium and Emsisoft Anti-Malware.
 
If you want to use another anti-virus then you need to disable Windows 8 Defender before installing a different antivirus software. Suggested alternatives can be found in this topic...Choosing an Anti-Virus Program


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#3 quietman7

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Posted 20 February 2015 - 07:56 PM

Here are links to some recent BC discussion topics with opinions from other members:Here are links to polls about this very subject:
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#4 Aura

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Posted 20 February 2015 - 09:55 PM

Mary, may I ask what kind of user your sister is? This way we could probably help you by recommending what kind of security software she should install and also things she should read to be more aware. Like she might want an Antivirus a bit more present than Windows Defender if she's the kind of user to go and click everywhere.

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#5 quietman7

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Posted 22 February 2015 - 06:02 PM

Are you still with us MaryBet82?
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#6 MaryBet82

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Posted 24 February 2015 - 08:46 PM

Thanks to everyone for their thoughtful replies and all the links. It will take me a while to read all that, but it's very helpful not to have to rely on my googling expertise to find the right stuff to read.

 

My sister does not love to read about computers. So she needs a security solution that will do most of the work. She is careful with her web browsing judging by the fact that she hasn't nuked her WinXP with a virus in years of use. She just got 8.1 in a new HP laptop with Mcaffee preinstalled and I think she maybe went to a bad site to dowload firefox because she had some popup problem and Mcafee quarantined a lot of items after she did that  download. She and Mcafee successfully deleted those files. Mcafee's trial ends soon and she needs to either go with Defender or choose a new security program.

 

I'll start reading the links and get back with any questions they raise.


mac 10.6 on macbook pro
WinXP sp2 on Dell 380 w/ 512 MB RAM- currently dead in the water
WinXP tab ed sp 3 on Thinkpad X41 w/ 1.5 GB RAM - lemony flavored
Win2K Sp4 on Sony VAIO GXR600 w/ 512 MB RAM - currently blue screening

#7 quietman7

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Posted 24 February 2015 - 09:02 PM

Not a problem.

However don't let it wait to the last minute before a decision is made. If McAfee is to be replaced, then remove it a least a week before expiration. This allows the option to reinstall and uninstall again should something go wrong during the first uninstall attempt. After the trial expires, it will require activation.

McAfee recommends you uninstall using the Windows Control Panel before running the MCPR (McAfee Consumer Products Removal tool)...see the IMPORTANT note in How to uninstall or reinstall McAfee products using the Consumer Products Removal tool (MCPR)

Note: Sometimes the uninstall works more effectively if you first stop and disable the program's service (and associated processes) or perform the removal in safe mode so there are less processes which can interfere with the uninstallation.


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#8 MaryBet82

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Posted 06 March 2015 - 03:34 PM

Thanks Bleepin Janitor

 

Neither B's nor my health is very good at the moment, so she hasn't done anything with her computer for awhile and I keep reading the same line over and over when I try to read the linked articles. I told her to go ahead and uninstall McAfee and turn on Windows Defender while we both read up on AV's and antimalware. I appreciate the heads up on how to uninstall McAfee. I remember uninstalling Norton used to be the pits and having to use a tool downloaded from their site and having to follow strict instructions but I didn't know McAfee could be a problem. Unfortunately, she is already past the deadline - hopefully it will uninstall properly the first time. Computers coming with preinstalled trial programs was one of my go-on-a-rant beafs back with win 98/2k/xp because windows frequently couldn't handle uninstalling a program. I wonder if 8.1 a does better job.

 

I think she should go with a free AV like Avast - I used it before and liked it - and a free antimalware program and beef up her browser [Firefox or Chrome] w/ things like NoScript and WOT. I had a lot of trouble with bitdefender, but that was years ago. Her internet provider - Comcast - offers a free Norton Security Suite. I'm leary of her using Norton because of past said problems. But maybe Norton corrected that problem?

 

Again, thanks to everyone for all the info


mac 10.6 on macbook pro
WinXP sp2 on Dell 380 w/ 512 MB RAM- currently dead in the water
WinXP tab ed sp 3 on Thinkpad X41 w/ 1.5 GB RAM - lemony flavored
Win2K Sp4 on Sony VAIO GXR600 w/ 512 MB RAM - currently blue screening

#9 Sintharius

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Posted 06 March 2015 - 03:44 PM

I think she should go with a free AV like Avast - I used it before and liked it - and a free antimalware program and beef up her browser [Firefox or Chrome] w/ things like NoScript and WOT.

Since your sister appears to be a safe surfer, a free AV should suffice.

As for a free AM app, the two choices commonly used here are Malwarebytes Anti-Malware (comes with a 14-day trial, can be opted out) and Emsisoft Anti-Malware (comes with a 30-day trial before switching to freeware mode). Remember to perform regular scans as both do not offer real-time protection in freeware mode.

And yes, browser addons that add extra security are always welcome.

Regards,
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#10 quietman7

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Posted 06 March 2015 - 04:19 PM

Many site rating vendors (i.e. McAfee SiteAdvisor, WOT) use a system of volunteer testers that continually patrol the Internet to browse sites, download files, and enter information on sign-up forms. All the results are documented and supplemented with feedback from users, Web site owners, and analysis from their own employees. The advising site vendor then summarizes the results sometimes into a color-coded red, yellow and green ratings scale to help inform Web users as to the safety of each tested site. While these tools are useful, they are not foolproof and sometimes may provide misleading ratings. Just because you visit a risky site does not automatically mean the site is bad or that your system has been infected by going there. Thus, the use of such rating sites does not always guarantee an accurate rating of the results they provide.
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#11 quietman7

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Posted 06 March 2015 - 04:26 PM

Her internet provider - Comcast - offers a free Norton Security Suite. I'm leary of her using Norton because of past said problems. But maybe Norton corrected that problem?

I have read from other users that Norton has made improvements in newer versions of their software so they are not as resource heavy as past versions...while others still say differently. As for removing Norton, other vendors also recommend using removal tools for failed uninstalls or cleaning up leftovers.
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#12 MaryBet82

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Posted 11 March 2015 - 05:38 PM

Thanks everyone.

 

B uninstalled McAfee after it supposedly cleared the worm it had in quarantine, She forgot to run the removal tool. She then turned on Windows Defender. She updated Defender and then ran a full scan per Defender's suggestion. It found a trojan -Trojan/Win32/Skeeyah/B!plock - and started to remove it and then got stuck. She ran it again and it seemed to clear the trojan. But chrome won't connect to any webpage and she has program icons on her desktop that she clicked no when asked to install them. So I'm thinking she's got some bad stuff still on her computer.

 

Windows Defender is supposed to clean Trojan Skeeyah but maybe she's got something it's not recognizing. I downloaded the Defender Offline Tool on my mac - an exe program - and burned it to CD. But when she booted from that disc per the instructions it didn't do anything. Maybe her bios has been reset.  Or I vaguely remember having to burn CD's a certain way to make them bootable - or maybe that was floppies. So maybe I can't make her a Defender tool CD on my mac.

 

Maybe I need to take this problem over to one of the security forums -  would that be the Am I Infected forum? Also, according to my understanding of AV programs you had to uninstall one before installing another. One could only run one AV at a time - you couldn't turn off one and run another - you had to uninstall. Windows Defender seems to be different in that you can just turn it off and install another AV and run it. That would seem an advantage if there are easily uninstallable free AV's out there.


mac 10.6 on macbook pro
WinXP sp2 on Dell 380 w/ 512 MB RAM- currently dead in the water
WinXP tab ed sp 3 on Thinkpad X41 w/ 1.5 GB RAM - lemony flavored
Win2K Sp4 on Sony VAIO GXR600 w/ 512 MB RAM - currently blue screening

#13 quietman7

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Posted 11 March 2015 - 05:57 PM

...Maybe I need to take this problem over to one of the security forums - would that be the Am I Infected forum?

Yes start a new topic in that forum.
 

Also, according to my understanding of AV programs you had to uninstall one before installing another. One could only run one AV at a time - you couldn't turn off one and run another - you had to uninstall. Windows Defender seems to be different in that you can just turn it off and install another AV and run it. That would seem an advantage if there are easily uninstallable free AV's out there.

That is correct...you should only run one AV at a time and its best to uninstall the old before installing the replacement. For a more detailed explanation, see the IMPORTANT NOTE about not using more than one anti-virus program in this topic: Choosing an Anti-Virus Program

Windows 8 integrates Windows Defender so it is part of the operating system and cannot be uninstalled...that's why Microsoft only allows it to be turned off and disabled.
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