Windows Defender is the best antivirus around, claims testing lab

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Windows Defender has been rated as the (joint) top antivirus solution by one independent testing lab.

In AV-Test’s May/June report for the best Windows antivirus software for the home user, Windows Defender was ranked top with a perfect score – 6 out of 6 for protection, performance and usability – alongside three other products. The difference being that those alternative solutions cost money, whereas Microsoft’s offering is free (and bundled with Windows 10).

That’s quite a remarkable achievement when you consider that not so long ago, Windows Defender was regarded as a fairly shabby effort, but has come on leaps and bounds since the release of Windows 10.

The three products it tied with for the top spot were F-Secure SAFE, Kaspersky Internet Security, and Norton Security, all of which scored 18 out of 18 in total (a perfect 6 in all three categories).

In terms of free products, both AVG and Avast weren’t far behind on 17.5 out of 18, although they dropped the half-point in the protection category, which is obviously the most crucial result.

In AV-Test’s previous report, Windows Defender dropped a half-point in the performance category, so wasn’t quite perfect.

Half a billion users

Microsoft’s Brad Anderson, corporate vice president, Microsoft 365, was pretty happy about this as you can imagine, and took to Twitter to remind us that Windows Defender is popular in the business world, too.

We recently heard from Anderson that Windows Defender is now being used on over 500 million PCs across the world, according to Microsoft’s own statistics, which again is an impressive figure.

In our most recent look at Windows Defender, we found the product to be very streamlined and user-friendly, and while we did note that it wasn’t the most accurate antivirus around at the time, it seems things have moved on since then.

If you look at the rankings from rival independent testing lab AV-Comparatives, Windows Defender isn’t quite top-rated in the February to May 2019 test. It was, however, given an ‘advanced’ rating with a protection rate of 99.8%, only behind Avira, Bitdefender, Kaspersky and F-Secure.

In this case, Microsoft’s offering was marked down mainly because of the amount of false positives (viruses detected which weren’t actually threats) it produced.

Still, it’s clear enough that Microsoft has advanced the capabilities of Windows 10’s built-in antivirus considerably, and it’s now a perfectly viable choice not to bother with any third-party antivirus solution.

Inevitably, Brad’s tweet drew out some more withering comments, including the following observation about using Windows Defender: “Well, it’s not like people have a choice, anymore. Third-party AV breaks on every Windows 10 feature update.”

Via MS Power User

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).