What's the Best Antivirus for Windows 10 and 11? (Is Microsoft Defender Good Enough?)

Dec 28, 2022
Updated • Dec 27, 2022
Tutorials, Windows 10, Windows 11 News

Gone are the days when Windows would insist on installing antivirus software. Since Windows 8, you can inbuilt antivirus software known as Windows Defender. However, is this enough? Can this software keep your system and data protected? This article will look at whether you can rely on Windows Defender.

What is Windows Defender?

Windows Defender was previously known as Microsoft Security Essentials and was available as a separate download with Windows 7. From Windows 8, this software is built-in and enabled.

Windows 10 Windows 11 Microsoft Defender

Best Antivirus?

Apart from Windows Defender, there are other good options that you can use along with it. It is recommended to use Windows Defender for old-school viruses. While cybercriminals have moved on and come up with new ransomware and malware, Windows Defender can keep you protected from basic threats. The best part is it runs in the background and works quickly.

If you're looking for something more advanced, you can try Avast, AVG, or Smadav. These are leading third-party antivirus software that protects your system in collaboration with Windows Defender.

Is Windows Defender Good?

Windows Defender scans all documents and programs, regularly downloads updates from Microsoft, and has a clean interface. As mentioned earlier, it doesn't cause your system to lag and works quickly in the background.

Is It Important To Use Other Antivirus Software?

The short answer is yes. You need to supplement Windows Defender with a stronger counterpart. This will help ensure your system is safe from all viruses. If you're worried about the system lagging while running both software, you can schedule both to run at different times. This way, your work won't get affected, and you get the protection you need.

Stay Protected

While many don't trust Windows Defender, it is reliable and does a decent job of keeping your system safe from most attacks. It may not be as good as other software, but it is good enough and can be used with other software.


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  1. FattyBoomBoom said on January 22, 2023 at 8:38 am

    AVG and Avast are… no, just NO! avast slows down your system so drastically it’s not even worth mentioning. It is even considered malware by some people. I have never seen less efficient software.

  2. Paul Johnston said on January 2, 2023 at 11:57 pm

    I absolutely hate how these articles are deceivingly titled. If you’re going to have best in the title, the tell us what the f’n best is, and don’t be so friggin ambiguous. The title of this article was nothing but click bait, and the article itself provided zero useful information!

  3. Raj said on January 2, 2023 at 2:32 am

    Look up the comparison on YouTube for kaspersky v Windows defender by the pc security guy. He did the test and while defender did fend off most attacks, it let 4 to 5 ransomware nasties go rogue. Kaspersky caught all of them and protected the pc.

    I have kaspersky and will recommend it.

  4. Arif said on January 1, 2023 at 4:33 pm

    It seems like a paid article ?

  5. Dirgster said on December 30, 2022 at 1:03 am

    Okay, guys… If you have nothing nice to say, then don’t say it!

  6. hg said on December 29, 2022 at 3:43 pm

    Shockingly BAD article

  7. Peaches said on December 29, 2022 at 3:22 pm

    CLICK BAIT or just shoddy unsubstantiated journalism? “What’s the Best” and article explains nothing! As for recommending a counterpart; SHAUN should be sent to the corner and made to wear a DUNCE CAP for recommending his reader should labor at installing a counterpart or purchasing a paid version without the explanation that some users may not have “NOOB” web habits and will never succumb to infections.

  8. crumpled up chicken said on December 29, 2022 at 12:48 am


    > Did Microsoft make a donation to the author for this article?

    Microsoft wants to be everywhere. They don’t call it, “ONE MICROSOFT WAY” for nothing.

    Sadly, some people just bend over and accept that sweet sweet M$ cash.

  9. El Barsko said on December 28, 2022 at 10:11 pm

    Jeg har brugt/bruger Microsoft Defender på Windows 7/8-81/10/ og 11, og har aldrig haft problemer med dét.
    Måske også takket være Systemgendannelse, og Macrium Reflect.
    El Barsko

  10. Anonymous said on December 28, 2022 at 9:54 pm

    I’m kind of disappointed in the quality of this article and even more so in that I arrived at it via Google News.

    I mean, I’ve never even heard of the Smadev before today and to not consider actual verified ranking and testing results of antiviral performance and detection in the recommendations is just bad advice.

    I use Windows Defender, I haven’t had a need to use anything more since the iterations in Windows 10 and the resource impact is negligible for the protection afforded. For most users, this is and will be enough but for cases in which a user is dealing with data which is highly important and valuable or on a network in which such data is present, a full protection product is recommended.

    Whether or not that product should be AVG, Avast or… Smadev (I had to look up to the article again) should be considered based on actual testing of detection rates, vectors protected and performance. I feel like this article was a banger for content rather than anything of substance and sponsored or not, should be removed for providing bad advice in general without clarification of its intended applicability to the reader.

    1. pHROZEN gHOST said on December 29, 2022 at 3:19 pm

      NAILED IT!

  11. Steve said on December 28, 2022 at 8:46 pm

    Defender performs very well in av tests (https://www.av-test.org/en/antivirus/home-windows/)

    Set Defender to High using Configure Defender https://github.com/AndyFul/ConfigureDefender to help improve protection.

  12. Mothy said on December 28, 2022 at 3:13 pm

    I only use Windows Defender (on Windows 8.1). But I do not rely on it as a primary defense. Instead from my experience a better defense is a good blocking hosts file (ex. Steven Black) that blocks known malicious Internet sites and ad networks (that have been know to redirect to malicious sites). Along with using some critical thinking skills while operating the computer one can prevent bad things from ever making it to the system at all (an ounce of prevention). Also another security layer is to always use a non-administrator account so if something malicious were to make it on to the system and is not detected by anti-malware it’s impact is limited to only that user account and not the entire system.

    1. PcDudette said on December 29, 2022 at 1:51 pm

      One good critical thinking step to take here is to realize your using 8.1 and it’s not receiving security patches anymore. No AV will help you with an out of date, unsupported operating system. 8.1 lost support in October and will receive its last security patch in January. Upgrade to 10 immediately if you want security.

      1. Mothy said on December 29, 2022 at 9:50 pm

        You’re right, a newer supported OS with security patches is all that is needed to be secure. All of these other layers of security I have implemented are not important and I can do away with them. I will upgrade to 10 immediately and sleep a lot better tonight knowing that I will be more secure than ever before! Thank you for your clear and convincing post showing me the error of my ways. =D

  13. Ehankro said on December 28, 2022 at 2:24 pm

    Jinshan kingsoft antivirus

  14. arbuz said on December 28, 2022 at 1:11 pm

    The articles on this site are increasingly embarrassing. Either start labeling them as Microsoft sponsored and then write out whatever you want or go back to writing at the level that gHacks has been known for so far. The author of this mambo-jumbo about Microsoft products should sink to the ground in shame for posting such crap here.

  15. Jan said on December 28, 2022 at 12:59 pm

    Has this article been sponsered by SMADEV? Up to now I had never heard of this antivirus solution? In my experience windows defender performs well enough, multiple antivirus tests agree with that. My security solution is: I use firefox as a browser with the beta version of malwarebytes anti-exploit and windows defender. Never had a single problem despite visiting many dodgy sites.

  16. Shania said on December 28, 2022 at 12:47 pm

    The below paragraph is from Smadav website, I posted with link earlier but it wasn’t approved, anyone can go to their BUY (SMADAV PRO) page to cross check.

    Is this a leader? They themselves say its for secondary antivirus.

    “Can we use Smadav as Main Antivirus or Internet Security?

    No, we can’t. Smadav (Pro/Free) can only function as secondary antivirus for your USB and PC, so Smadav does not offer complete protection or internet protection. You still need to install a main antivirus that offers more complete protection. But, Smadav might be used as secondary antivirus for your USB and PC, it’s mostly compatible to run alongside another antivirus.”

  17. Trey said on December 28, 2022 at 12:32 pm

    “Avast, AVG, or Smadav”

    Maybe don’t do any of those. Especially that last one that’s probably malware. God only knows.

  18. John G. said on December 28, 2022 at 12:31 pm

    I have been using Microsoft Defender for almost ten years with zero viruses issues no any kind of other related security issues neither. My system is tested monthly with any kind of portable antivirus with the same results: zero. By the way I only surf the web on trusted sites, also I am using freeware software or legal software with no cracks or other weird illegal stuff. Thanks @Shaun for the article.

  19. assurbani said on December 28, 2022 at 12:05 pm

    Did Microsoft make a donation to the author for this article?

    1. PcDudette said on December 29, 2022 at 1:45 pm

      Since this whole article is factually inaccurate, no. MS defender turns itself off (not works in conjunction with) when third party AV is installed. If the writer knew anything about tech he would know you don’t run two AVs at the same time so defender turns off to defer to your third party. Besides using onedrive Defender does have protections for ransomware, if your AV doesnt come with cloud backup(which will be pricey) it’s not protecting you against ransomware. The only protection for that is user education and keeping your files where they can’t be accessed. Furthermore, if he’s being paid it’s by AVG/Avast who are the same company and scummy as hell. Most of their protection comes from simply taking control of the defender tools like its firewall and calling it its own. But more importantly, they continue advertising pop-ups after you buy and allow customers to purchase multiple installs of the same product. Meaning they’ll charge you for 5 seat AV then keep pop-ups advertising it to you and sell it to you again. I’ve seen people paying for 50 seats of AV with a laptop and a tablet to their name and a 600 dollar a year bill to AVG.

      1. Iain Slater said on January 1, 2023 at 9:54 am

        Comment by relative amateur

        I also was puzzled to read that WD and other AVs work together. It grabbed my attention.
        I have long been under the impression that WD previously WSE switches gets switched when another AV is installed.
        Big NO NO having two AVs running together.

        Have things changed?

        If not unless there is good reason for these statements I think this is potentially a dangerous article.

  20. Shania said on December 28, 2022 at 11:50 am


    “Can we use Smadav as Main Antivirus or Internet Security?

    No, we can’t. Smadav (Pro/Free) can only function as secondary antivirus for your USB and PC, so Smadav does not offer complete protection or internet protection. You still need to install a main antivirus that offers more complete protection. But, Smadav might be used as secondary antivirus for your USB and PC, it’s mostly compatible to run alongside another antivirus.”

  21. Shania said on December 28, 2022 at 11:49 am

    Alright, who has heard of Smadav before? This is the first time I am hearing and I frequent most security forums…that too being called a leader.

    1. Robert said on December 28, 2022 at 5:02 pm

      I too frequent security sites and never heard of Smadev either. As a matter of fact, there is a podcast/radio show called “Security Now” with Steve Gibson. They preach that we don’t need third party software. So who is correct? Steve or Shaun.

  22. Roebie said on December 28, 2022 at 10:06 am

    I think the level of this article is far below what I’m used to from Ghacks. Not informative and pretty biased. If I take a look at the latest AV test by leading organisation AV-comparatives.org (see https://www.av-comparatives.org/tests/advanced-threat-protection-test-2022-consumer/) Bitdefender and ESET are the best.
    https://www.techradar.com/best/best-antivirus: Bitdefender
    https://www.pcmag.com/picks/the-best-antivirus-protection: Bitdefender
    Your suggestions Avast and AVG came out ok. None of the tests I looked at even heard of Smadav.
    Am I biased? Yes (based on using Bitdefender for 15 years to visit some pretty questionable websites and never have been infected), but as a reader I can afford to be. Ghacks can’t!

    1. Daffy Jones said on December 28, 2022 at 7:31 pm

      Yes agreed. Ghacks is my go-to for detailed and thoughtful articles and reviews. This post is very vague, just says you should use an external “stronger” antivirus without explaining what evidence there is for this claim, plus the article doesn’t even answer the question in its own headline about what the best antivirus is. Not up to the usual high ghacks quality.

      For any domestic use it’s hard to argue for a separate antivirus to Windows Defender. Third party software just slows down your computer and increases the attack surface for malware by disabling certain inbuilt protections.

  23. DenBravo said on December 28, 2022 at 9:45 am

    I don’t know about you all but for me Windows Defender is good enough. Never had a virus before and probably never will.

    1. Anonymous said on December 28, 2022 at 11:28 am

      Those who surf safely probably don’t experience the locations where malware proliferates.

      The rest should probably read quality virus test reports at https://www.av-test.org/en/antivirus/home-windows/ and https://www.av-comparatives.org/consumer/ before rubbishing Defender. It was bad bur Microsoft seems to have put effort into it recently.

      Secondary scanning should be a mandatory part of your security processes. While they have slipped from their heyday, I still use Malwarebytes but added Sysinternals’ Autoruns64 VirusTotal scan to the routine. For all the caution, I never found malware on my PC or laptop since the 1990s. Only ‘riskware’ reported. For the uninitiated, VirusTotal ‘hits’ don’t necessarily mean your computer is infected. Research before you panic.

    2. Anonymous said on December 28, 2022 at 9:56 am

      This has the same energy as saying “If I don’t know about it, it doesn’t exist”

      1. Anonymous said on December 29, 2022 at 1:07 am

        I haven’t used an AV since about 2016, and I’m unvaccinated too.

  24. Trevor Tymchuk said on December 28, 2022 at 9:20 am

    The title of this article is “What’s the Best Antivirus for Windows 10 and 11? (Is Microsoft Defender Good Enough?)”. It barely answers the second part, though it does not really explain why. Sadly, it doesn’t answer the first part at all. There are three products named as “leading”, though being leaders does not mean they are the best.

    I have been an avid reader of Ghacks for quite a few years but must admit that I find this article confusing as it really doesn’t seem to have much to say.

  25. Anonymous said on December 28, 2022 at 9:19 am

    No, thanks, Windows Defender is still useless while being resource-heavy at the same time, especially against ransomeware. The result is even sadder in offline mode (blocking internet connection is pretty easy).

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