Talk:Windows Defender

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Take care: This is no magic bullet[edit]

I have this program. It rarely works: for instance, every day it advises me that my computer is infected with Virtumondo (sic), and I instruct it to delete the malware from my system, but it never gets rid of it. Every day, the same process, the same result: it's still there. It also failed to get rid of my Winfixer infection, again failing to delete it from my hard drive as it promised (I got round that by blocking the Winfixer websites by use of a host file redirect).

Come to think of it, it's NEVER managed to successfully delete something it's found....

So, as usual with these things, download it now, but don't rely on it. 80.6.31.22 03:11, 10 November 2005 (UTC)


Many spyware and adware infections require more than simple scans; visiting spyware forums and using more advanced tools (HiJack This comes to mind) are often necessary. WikiTruth 20:28, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

Do you do a full scan immediately after the spyware is deleted? Spyware can regnerate itself which I discovered.

  • I work for a University Resnet and unfortunately I spend a very large portion of my time removing spyware/malware from machines. MSAS was by far the most effective tool out there, rarely missing any programs that adaware or spybot would catch. It is also the best at actually removing the items it detects. However the only one I could not get it to ever remove was Virtumundo, which somehow makes itself a dependency for winlogon. The way I've been removing Virtumundo is by scanning for it in %systemroot%\system32 to discover the random characters that make up its filename (suffixed by .dll) and then entering recovery console and deleting it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 129.21.112.49 (talk) 00:45, 22 March 2006
I agree with 80.6.31.22, this program is completely ineffective. I've used it for months and it was unable to find anything. but when i use another Spyware catcher, like AVG, the competition actually find and eliminates mulware.
look at these links review 1 review 2 Roxanne Edits 21:58, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

Windows Defender never finds anything on my computer, whereas other Anti-Spyware tools find at least a few "adware" cookies. I think the main purpose of this tool is to make your hard drive look busy without actually doing anything. 83.77.213.9 (talk) 21:12, 5 November 2008 (UTC)

IE6 required?[edit]

I have tried to install Microsoft AntiSpyware (and MSN Messenger 7.0 also) and then uninstall IE6 in my Windows 2000, and the AntiSpyware (and MSN Messenger) still works. So, why they have been specified to require IE6 as a prerequisite? --Hello World! 02:09, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

IE is required in order to recieve updates (I think) --T-rex 06:05, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

Microsoft's update pages are ported to work only on Internet Explorer, try going to windows update with firefox *giggle*

Ratings?[edit]

Maybe it would be a good idea if we found some kind of ratings of different anti spyware programs and put it in the article? That way we would know how this program compares to other programs Flyerhell 00:46, 1 January 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia has a neutral point of view. That's why nothing is rated. Rating might help companies advertise their product. Wikipedia is not for advertising either. — Alex (T|C|E) 22:33, 30 January 2006 (UTC)
We can still link to outside reviews as long as we don't give undo weight to one view. Added expert reviews does add a lot of value to an article. Koweja 22:54, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

Few new features?[edit]

I read that Windows Defender was rearchitected. Does this count as a feature, and shouldn't this be included in the article? I tink that this counts as a major feature, and this means that Windows Defender wasn't just rebranded. — Alex (T|C|E) 22:31, 30 January 2006 (UTC)

  • Beta 2 no longer appears to depend on the Visual Basic 6 runtime DLLs as Beta 1 did, so some effort was definitely done on that area (maybe rewriting it to not be in VB6?). -- Bovineone 04:18, 15 February 2006 (UTC)
    • Correct. The entire engine was rewritten in C++ during the time that GIANT AntiSpyware was rebranded Microsoft AntiSpyware (Beta) and Windows Defender beta 2 was released. — Jeremy | Talk 02:09, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

Out of beta?[edit]

I just downloaded an update from windows about "microsoft defender" WP:IAR and the fact that I really don't know what I am talking about are keeping me from editing the article, but I was expecting it so say that this was released. Suddenly wondering what I just did download... --T-rex 06:05, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

I take that all back --T-rex 06:11, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

Some Features Removed?[edit]

I noticed that some of the features present in Microsoft AntiSpyware are not included in Windows Defender, including the System Explorer and track eraser tools. Has there been an explation for this? Those features helped me out a lot and it seems that there is not substitute in Windows Defender. Kyle 14:34, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

Unreferenced[edit]

I just removed an {{unreferenced}} tag from the article, since there were links at the bottom of the article, and no list of problems in or near the tag or on the talk page. Please assume that Wikipedians are not mind readers; say what you mean. --Scott McNay 20:24, 26 November 2006 (UTC)

Windows Vista specific functionality[edit]

I think some more details are needed here; how does this affect installation programs which need to finish up an install after a reboot? --Scott McNay 13:36, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

Windows 2000[edit]

Okay, I just now reverted Jdlowery's recent changes to the article. This included saying Windows Defender still supports Windows 2000, but with a hack. This means it is not supported per se, other than the hacking. While I'd be fine with an external link about info (others may agree or disagree, so I'll leave them to that), but how to hack apps on older OS's does not belong in a Wikipedia article IMO. If someone disagrees, reply, and perhaps we can sort it out.. Also, I meant no offense to Jdlowery --Illyria05-- 04:38, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

  • I disagree. It's interesting to note in a Wikipedia article that Windows Defender in fact supports Windows 2000, but service is denied to mainstream users due to Microsoft's lack of official support for the operating system. Not only does this speak volumes about the company, but provides a useful service to Wikipedians running Windows 2000 that may be unaware of this support. I will add back the information, but not the method, as it is a hack, after all (anyone interested in learning how to do it can always Google it). Forteblast 14:54, 4 January 2007 (UTC)
Okay, I agree with you. Mentioning it is a good idea, but yeh, method should not be in the article... Thanks :) .. --Illyria05-- 22:00, 4 January 2007 (UTC)
Are you sure Windows Defender still lacks of official support for Windows 2000? As stated at Microsoft Help and Support, Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products, and an official resolution is also provided. It's not good to put unofficial workaround in the article when an official resolution is already there.--Wengier (talk) 06:26, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

Unworking Betas[edit]

I might point out that, apparently, the betas for this software are no longer supported and now cause errors upon startup. I came to this page about five times hoping to find mention of the mysterious error that had affected both the family PC and my laptop from New Year's on, and only now found that all there was needed to be done was to re-install the latest version. It might be obvious, but there you have it. -- Sarrandúin [ Talk + Contribs ] 03:32, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

FSF criticism[edit]

The Free Software Foundation writes:

You give Microsoft the right, through programs like Windows Defender, to delete programs from your system that it decides are spyware.

Is this true? Does WD delete programs without the user's consent? – gpvos (talk) 20:58, 19 April 2007 (UTC)


WD "Windows Defender" doesn't erase programs without your permission, however though the new operating system "Windows Vista" from what i've heard erases programs and softwares by Microsoft themselves without the user realising it. Fire Monkey (talk) 19:23, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

Section 6 of the EULA says:

6. POTENTIALLY UNWANTED SOFTWARE. If turned on, Windows Defender
   will search your computer for “spyware,” “adware” and other
   potentially unwanted software. If it finds potentially unwanted
   software, the software will ask you if you want to ignore,
   disable (quarantine) or remove it.  Any potentially unwanted
   software rated “high” or “severe,” will automatically be removed
   after scanning unless you change the default setting. Removing
   or disabling potentially unwanted software may result in
   · other software on your computer ceasing to work, or
   · your breaching a license to use other software on your computer.
   By using this software, it is possible that you will also remove
   or disable software that is not potentially unwanted software.

Looking at this, it's easy to conclude the the user has a choice, so people can move on to complain about the color scheme or the .NET MSIL bytecodes. However, the manner in which the choice is presented is frankly dishonest. First, few people read EULA's: the likelihood is high that the setting the behavior for "high" or "severe" are not going to change, simply because the user will not know. Some may say "that's their problem for not reading contracts and manuals, nyah nyah", but then again, if Toyota put a time-bomb in all the cars they sell, and added a note at the back of the user-manual, in fine print, they can de-activate it by opening all the doors, popping the hood, putting their head beside the intake manifold and singing Schubert's "Ave Maria" (in the original German) ... well, is it really their problem they failed to RTFM when the bomb goes off? Also, if someone does read the detail and agrees, the underspecified nature of the contract means that today "Fred's Spyware 2.3" is a severely unwanted piece of software and will be deleted without further ado, but tomorrow it could be cygwin. The potential for abuse is not trivial, either by Microsoft or entities who can subvert the communications channel between Microsoft and Windows Defender. (I suspect that it will be recognized the main problem with Vista's security is that too much trust is placed in Microsoft. Cynically, I note that the legal people at MS have covered that eventuality in the EULA: they aren't responsible if you, the sucker, trusted them.) mdf (talk) 16:43, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

This is FUD. You're conjecturing that Microsoft intends to use this unethically without evidence. The fact is that this functionality is well known to protect users who are unable or unwilling to secure their system properly. Due to the potential for an infected computer to launch or participate in attacks against other computers on the internet, they are existing public threats. If it uninstalls software without the user's consent, the user can simply turn off the setting and reinstall the software. The EULA does not authorize Microsoft to delete user data, destroy the user's hardware or cause injury or death. No evidence is given to indicate that the potential for a hacker to hijack the WD program is greater than any other piece of software on Windows or any other operating system. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 138.162.0.45 (talk) 17:20, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

Proof it doesn't work[edit]

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/a/a9/Windowsdefender.JPG

Roxanne Edits 03:34, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

All that image shows is that there are cookies on that pc. Windows Defender is not for removing cookies, it even says on the screenshot 'Protection against unwanted & malicious software' —Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.151.253.202 (talk) 00:26, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

This screenshot is proving nothing at all. But tracking cookies could indeed fall in the category "Spyware", which Windows Defender is supposed to handle. Those cookies indeed spy on you, although I consider them to be a very low level of threat. For any pair of security software, you will find some malicious objects that are detected by one but not the other. That's normal. Spybot S&D finds things that Ad-Aware won't find and the other way around. Avira Antivirus finds things that Windows Defender won't find, and the other way around, it's fully normal. These programs often complete each other and it's a good idea to not use only one. 83.78.57.48 (talk) 15:18, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

It's actually idiotic to even have to use one of them. If Windows wasn't such a bad operating system, we wouldn't need Antispyware, Antivirus and Registry cleaning software to clutter our hard drive and would only have proper, productive software on it. 83.77.213.9 (talk) 21:21, 5 November 2008 (UTC)
It's not the operating systems job to protect a computer from the stupidity of it's users. If I install something from an untrusted sight and it contains malware, is that my fault or the operating systems? I'm not suggesting that Windows is a perfect operating system or that it couldn't be more secure, but the idea that the average user wouldn't need antispyware or antivirus software if the operating system was written properly is incredibly naive. I suppose it comes down to what you define as the role of an operating system. Personally, I prefer to choose software from a number of companies that are in direct competition with each other and not rely solely on the operating system to protect my system. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 131.212.66.207 (talk) 15:39, 11 February 2009 (UTC)
83.77.213.9: The only idiotic thing is believing that OS X, Linux, or any other OS' lack of viruses is due to them being superior and more secure, when in reality it's just that they don't have nearly as many users as Windows, and as such, they aren't targeted as much. If you think that they would have less viruses and spyware than Windows if they were as used as popular, then you're clearly delusional. - 190.139.55.64 (talk) 02:26, 27 May 2010 (UTC)

Latest version[edit]

The latest version of Windows Defender for Windows Vista is 1.1.1600. Why is it showing the old XP version as the latest? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 213.35.228.222 (talk) 14:05, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

Does it detect viruses and worms?[edit]

Or only spyware? If it does not detect viral infection then it could give users a false sense of security. 69.251.183.222 (talk) 05:20, 30 March 2009 (UTC)

nope it doesn't protect against viruses/trojans or anything else for that matter, even in the case of spyware it only detects 20% Markthemac (talk) 04:34, 23 April 2009 (UTC)

Windows Defender's support for compressed files[edit]

I remember when running an early copy of Microsoft Antispyware, that it had amazing abilities to search compressed files for maalware.

I distinctly remember it searching the rpms in the VMware tools ISO's installed on my system. It also searched few .deb files I had lying around. It searches the individual files that compose a Windows HTMLHelp chm file. It could search the expanded contents of a UPX'ed executable. Indeed the engine core appeared to be more designed as an antivirus engine.

It could search .rar's, .7z's, .msi's, and dozens more formats, some of which I was only barely aware qualified as some form of archive format.

Does anybody know if it still supports searching that in depth? Was that affected by the engine re-write? If not, perhaps the the level of support for searching compressed formats would be noteworthy. 76.1.49.222 (talk) 17:21, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

Discontinued?[edit]

Can someone stop getting that false information in here?? http://social.answers.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/msestart/thread/5309cb8d-02e1-40e8-974f-0dcedb9ab9fd —Preceding unsigned comment added by Hkyeung (talkcontribs) 20:15, 3 October 2009 (UTC)

It is now one year later, and yet the article's incorrect assertion that MSE supersedes Windows Defender remains (see URL as provided by user Hkyeung above). I propose that at a minimum the incorrect assertion be removed. Even better would be to note that despite persistent claims to the contrary, MSE does not supersede Windows Defender, and provide the above URL as a citation. 190.92.46.6 (talk) 22:12, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
Seeing no opposition to my proposal of a month ago, I decided to be bold and remove the erroneous information. 190.92.46.5 (talk) 03:25, 18 November 2010 (UTC)
Defender isn't discontinued. It's still in mainstream support for another 1.5yrs http://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle/?p1=11952 —Preceding unsigned comment added by 66.189.171.119 (talk) 23:48, 26 December 2010 (UTC)
"Unsupported", "Discontinued", "Superseded" and "Stalled" are not synonyms. "Unsupported" means no technical support is available for a specific version. (You must upgrade.) "Discontinued" means no newer version will be released. "Superseded by [object]" means [object], when present, can completely render it unnecessary. "Stalled" means it is a long time since a new version is developed. So, "Unsupported" = No. "Discontinued" = We don't know. "Superseded by Microsoft Security Essentials" = Yes. "Stalled" = Yes. Fleet Command (talk) 13:47, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
And yes, Microsoft Security Essentials does not remove Windows Defender but disables it. That is because Windows Defender is a Windows component and may not be removed. Fleet Command (talk) 13:54, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
Windows Defender is not discontinued. In the recent Windows 8 Developer Preview, it was completely revamped. Basically, Microsoft integrated Security Essentials into Windows Defender in Windows 8, from what we have so far. 84.90.100.35 (talk) 17:04, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
Yes, it is all over the news. But we have one and a half a year to wait to see what it leads to. Everything might just happen... Fleet Command (talk) 17:58, 17 September 2011 (UTC)
Hey! That was way too much speculation. I have never read that much in the news. Your sources, please! Fleet Command (talk) 18:10, 17 September 2011 (UTC)
Would screenshots from my personal usage of Windows 8 Developer Preview count as valid?... I did not base myself on online information only. Microsoft announced it at BUILD, after all. And I have used Windows Defender in the Developer Preview so I know what I was talking about. 84.90.100.35 (talk) 10:01, 18 September 2011 (UTC)
You have written such speculative things there that even a dozen of screenshots cannot explain. For example, how do you know that "it has been discontinued for these [Windows XP and Windows Server 2003] versions of Windows"? Or for example "this also dismisses the alleged rumors of a stalled development of Windows Defender as of Windows 7", which rumor are you talking about? Where is your source for the rumor? (Surely, the word "rumor" is not referring to the personal opinion of the evil Wikipedian Fleet Command, is it?) Or, how do you know that it has Intrusion Detection system? (A screenshot can definitely not tell you this.) And I see that you have added it the infobox! What makes you think the Windows Defender invariably will come with production version of Windows 8 and is not removed due to an anti-trust lawsuit?
Seriously, all I can warrant with the current state of news is a separate "Future" section in the article. Fleet Command (talk) 11:01, 19 September 2011 (UTC)