Microsoft added the security software Windows Defender to Windows 8 by default, which means that it is available as a native application and does not need to be installed separately. It is a good little security app that offers basic protection. On the positive side of things, it does not bog down your computer as some third-party ones have a tendency to do. In fact, most customers will not even realize it is there, but that is both a good and bad thing. Good in the sense that it does not interfere with your daily tasks, but bad because it cannot really be managed easily
It is not in the system tray, nor is it a part of the right-click context menu, as many anti-virus programs are. It runs a scan in the background once per month when it receives new definition files via Patch Tuesday. The app does however continue to work full-time in the background.
Now there is a new app, called Windows Defender Status Manager, that gives you better access to this little security tool. The file is lightweight -- only 340 KB in ZIP format.
The app requires .Net Framework 3.5 and if you do not have it then you will be prompted to get it. Installation, especially if you do not already have the proper .NET installed, can take a while.
During setup you will be asked if you would like to add an option to the context menu. This allows you to right-click a file and choose to to do a direct scan. This is handy if you have downloaded a program that you may have some reservations about.
Once installed, you will find a Defender icon in your system tray. You can right-click this to launch Defender and from there you can check the apps current status and also do a quick, full or custom scan.
From Windows Explorer you can right-click a file and choose "scan with Windows Defender". This makes checking questionable files much simpler.
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.