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Should I buy anti-virus software, or just stay happy with Windows Defender and Windows Firewall?

asked Dec 31 '12 at 18:57

Hendrix's gravatar image


edited Jan 02 '13 at 21:58

Fogarty's gravatar image

Fogarty ♦♦

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Windows defender is NOT a replacement for an antivirus, nor is windows firewall any good.

I recomend Norton 360, many disagree with me, but I like it, (tip: buy from amazon it is half the cost)

bottom line: you need more protection then what is offered from what Microsoft gives you.

answered Dec 31 '12 at 19:36

trueb's gravatar image


@Zbob750 - it appears we have a disagreement care to explain why?

(Jan 01 '13 at 10:50) trueb trueb's gravatar image

No, not particularly. I think that for the average user it works fine, the best protection is a well educated user, I ran XP for years without an AV and didn't have a problem.

That and Norton isn't my first choice, though there's really no one perfect answer.

(Jan 01 '13 at 12:13) Zbob750 Zbob750's gravatar image

Wait what? Windows Defender is like MSSE for Windows 8. I completely trust it. Windows Firewall is pretty good I haven't had any trouble with it.

(Jan 01 '13 at 13:01) DJ Scooby Doo DJ%20Scooby%20Doo's gravatar image

Essentially, it has a worse detection rate then other AVs. It is lighter than a lot of them though.

Granted the best AV is and will always be a well informed and well educated user.

(Jan 01 '13 at 13:16) Zbob750 Zbob750's gravatar image

I cite this video here as well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8t3JCkudcHQ

(Jan 01 '13 at 14:09) DJ Scooby Doo DJ%20Scooby%20Doo's gravatar image

We can cite things like this all day, none of them really mean all that much to the end user.


(Jan 01 '13 at 15:47) Zbob750 Zbob750's gravatar image

@ZBob750 @DJScoobyDoo Lets assume the user is not well informed. Lets assume that the user knows very little about how anti virus works seeing as that they asked the question. Now, they are not educated in what to do and what not to do. Maybe they get forwards from their friends in emails, look now they have a virus because they wanted to see the video that was so wonderfully titled "YOU HAVE TO SEE THIS!!!" and they clicked on it. Now that Windows Defender/MSE may not do the job that a better anti virus that scan emails would have done. The something else that they put on their computer instead does not have to be costly you can normally get Kaspersky or another brand anti virus for cheap if you wait for a sale. But something more than MSE is always a good idea. It won't hurt anything.

(Jan 02 '13 at 00:44) TheTechDude TheTechDude's gravatar image

For a free antivirus, and for most people this is enough. I'm not saying this is the best antivirus in the world, I'm just trying to defend that Windows Defender/Firewall isn't a bad option.

(Jan 02 '13 at 20:29) DJ Scooby Doo DJ%20Scooby%20Doo's gravatar image

@DJ Scooby Doo: I hate to say it, but http://www.av-test.org seems to think otherwise. I am more willing to trust someone who's job is to test AV packages then you, nothing personal.

(Jan 02 '13 at 20:39) trueb trueb's gravatar image
showing 5 of 9 show all

Try Avira free as an antivirus, works great

answered Dec 31 '12 at 20:27

phototypo's gravatar image


try avg its what i use and it good.

answered Dec 31 '12 at 23:16

gamerprime2000's gravatar image


Norton 360, and Mcafee are the worst pieces of carp available! So I really do disagree with trueb!

They are resource hogs, slow and overpriced (Even at half price!)

The BEST anti virus doesn't cost anything, its the user that sits in front of the computer!

Avoid torrents, porn sites, illegal downloads of Photoshop, avoid opening links in mails you are not sure about. Most importantly make sure your operating system has ALL the security updates installed... Also Flash, Adobe Reader etc... I would also recommend NOT using Internet Explorer and instead install Chrome, that way you can uninstall flash as it has its own built in version of Flash which means everytime google update chrome, Flash is updated...

Microsoft's Security Essentials and the built in Windows Firewall is PLENTY for 90% of users!

answered Jan 01 '13 at 09:45

Lee%20in%20Denmark's gravatar image

Lee in Denmark

Microsoft Security Essentials have lost thew AV-Test certificate after only catching 69% of zero day threats. (http://www.neowin.net/news/microsoft-security-essentials-loses-av-test-certificate)

He was also talking about Windows Defender, not MSE

http://anti-virus-software-review.toptenreviews.com/ ranks Norton antivirus (same system that is in 360) 3rd followed by bitdefender and kaspersky. of which it was tied in protection, repair and usability scores and had all the same features.

Last: Windows firewall is only half a firewall, it will block applications from accessing the web, and block ports from the outside.

All GOOD firewalls will use intelligence and look at the traffic and what it is doing to look for anything that looks like an attack and block it.

I agree McAfee is crap, we wont get into that

I have never known 360 to be a resource hog, it has always ran smoothly in the background with little intervention on my part. I acknowledged that you may not always be able to say the same about previous packages from Symantec.

it is important to note that a GOOD firewall and antivirus will be intrusive, that is what makes them good. If you find an antivirus that uses little to no resources, then you do not have a good antivirus.

(Jan 01 '13 at 11:03) trueb trueb's gravatar image

We will have to agree to disagree...

Its far from the best AV, I know that, you know that, however its still perfectly adequate for people that know how to use the internet sensibly!

None of my clients experience any trouble with this solution, and I still find it perfectly adequate for most users. And often its older people learning to use a computer that contact my small business, and my experience of Norton and Mcafee, is that they are far too intrusive, especially for people that do not know so much about computers! Instead I make sure that I teach them sensible surfing, how to make sure Windows is updating, using Chrome instead of IE...

All have systems that are clean, lean and most of all usable...

(Jan 01 '13 at 11:48) Lee in Denmark Lee%20in%20Denmark's gravatar image

"Microsoft's Security Essentials and the built in Windows Firewall is PLENTY for 90% of users!" and "...its still perfectly adequate for people that know how to use the internet sensibly!"

In my experience 90% of uses don't know how to use the internet sensibly. They do not apply updates, and thus they are susceptible to zero days, the exact thing MSE got lost the certification for.

An antivirus is not just there to protect you from the internet. Back in the day the only way to get a virus was via floppy disks. Today it would be flash drives.

How do you determine if a system is clean? Do you use MSE, if so you are creating a circular argument. Do you say well the machine is not acting strange, so it must be clean? In fact, even a fresh install of windows from a genuine CD direct from Microsoft with no internet access can not claim the machine is 100% virus free, because there has been many times viruses where passed from CDs from genuine dealers.

to claim that a machine is clean is an invalid argument, no one, not even Norton, kasparsky, can claim that a machine is clean. to do so means you (they) have all knowledge of ALL viruses ever made (not just ones discovered) and that you have the ability to search though all aspects of a system (files, memory, bios, etc) to which, no one cannot.

Another thing I don't like the idea of MSE is you are relying on Microsoft, to protect Microsoft (once again circular argument). If they are capable of doing that in the first place, they would not need to release MSE.

One can only conclude that they are NOT clean. If you do not understand that then you should not be teaching others how to be secure.

(Jan 01 '13 at 12:23) trueb trueb's gravatar image

I use a combination of an up-to-date Windows 7/Vista installation in combination with Microsoft Security Essentials. There are people that argue that its a sub-optimal scanner but really I haven't seen anything that stopped everything. There are examples in favor and agaist every security product out there so argueing it seems pointless. Security Essentials has my perference for not beeing annoying.

More important is the fact you should not rely on such software to begin with and use your computer wellinformed of the risks. Its not that hard to avoid things like e-mail scams or dodgy websites. Knowing how do do that is more important then any statistic on virusscanners out there, so grab one you feel right with and that should be it. (Please note i'm not saying you should not have anti-virus at all) As far as a firewalls go, I don't use one besides the builtin firewall as i'm behind a router and feel it doen't really contribute to security as much as impacting system performance and causing extra points of failure.

answered Jan 01 '13 at 13:58

AlphaBootis's gravatar image


edited Jan 01 '13 at 14:01

If you want a good virus protection, use Linux.

If you want an anti-virus program, use Avast.

answered Jan 01 '13 at 21:06

Drmgiver's gravatar image



You are as bad as the mac fan boys, even most of them are realizing you still need virus protection... Linux (or mac) is not immune to viruses: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux_malware#Threats

Infact, if you got a virus on linux, it could be even worst because of how much damage Linux will allow you to do to your system.

but as far as free antiviruses avast is pretty good...

(Jan 01 '13 at 21:34) trueb trueb's gravatar image

I never said you couldn't get a virus. Never once. What I did say is you have better odds than using Windows to avoid them. Yes, viruses for Linux exist, most of them however just as proof of concept. Now, allow me to explain how difficult it would be to get a virus in Linux. First off, if you only install software from the package maintainers repository, you will never get one, never once. The only way to get a virus in Linux is to compile from outside sources, which means downloading it, running ./configure, make, checkinstall. And then, the only way it would be able to affect the entire system is if you entered your password for it to access the entire system, otherwise it is only going to affect your profile, which is as simple as creating another one to avoid it. Now, allow me to inform you as to how to get rid of it. apt-get remove <package>. Now, your telling me that Windows is better protection of viruses than Linux? That is simply a crazy statement.

(Jan 02 '13 at 11:38) Drmgiver Drmgiver's gravatar image

"What I did say is you have better odds than using Windows to avoid them." See actually you didn't.

The issue that I'm assuming @trueb has with it is that it really isn't relevant. The question asked for antivirus software that works with windows. The average user isn't going to be installing linux in a dual-boot or a VM just to stay safe.

As far as virus protection Windows vs Linux, that question isn't specific enough. As you're more than aware, Linux is not a singular OS. Which Distro? Are we just comparing the NT Kernel to the Linux Kernel? etc etc.

(Jan 02 '13 at 17:01) Zbob750 Zbob750's gravatar image

You are assuming the user has to install it like a normal program:

ok lets go down this line for a second. I install something from a repository right? What if that repository has been compromised? so that argument is out the window right there, sorry.

next, have you heard of zero day browser exploits? getting attacked though a web browser is very common, most of them are platform independent why? because the browser acts as an abstraction layer.

Java is cross platform, that is another way to get infected by just running a java exe or going to a website that has a java object

How about flash? yep you can get infected though that.

I have seldom had to install something though the make command. yes you do need to use a password to install something, but what if nothing is being installed? What if it is able to bypass that?

Yes you are required to enter in a password, where are the passwords stored? on the computer in the form of hashes, which can be reversed via brute force... so you loose that security aspect.

I'm sorry that you feel my statement is "crazy" but I feel your statement is ignorant, but don't worry, many people are in the same camp as you.

(Jan 02 '13 at 20:07) trueb trueb's gravatar image

There are quite a number of free anti-virus programs, I have tried most of them, but I have found Norton to be the most successful in protection my system

answered Jan 01 '13 at 23:01

lasaboy's gravatar image


If you carry out basic tasks like surfing, chatting etc from your PC then free antivirus version can suffice. However, if you use the internet to carry out work at advance level then you should go for the paid version as it offers an extra layer of protection. I am making use of paid version of Immunet antivirus, it is a good PC companion

answered Jan 03 '13 at 12:22

Susi's gravatar image


Yes free anti virus like Avast, AVG are good enough to protect your files and folders from virus.

answered Jan 04 '13 at 02:21

olive's gravatar image


I used Microsoft Security Essentials on Windows 7 without any problem, I used it for years at the time my computer was on 24/7 with 0% of infection. Today I use Windows 8 that comes with Microsoft Security Essential built in and so far 0% infection aswell.

I mean no antivirus is complete secure proof, you need to make your computer is up to date with Security patches etc.

answered Jan 04 '13 at 06:36

henry%20gray's gravatar image

henry gray

as i stated in a comment, you can never claim that you have a 0% infection rate, you can only claim that you have been infected...

it is also not valid to say "MSE is good because MSE never told me i had a virus." so unless you went in on a regular basis with a known good antivirus your argument is poor.

(Jan 04 '13 at 07:44) trueb trueb's gravatar image
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Asked: Dec 31 '12 at 18:57

Seen: 2,886 times

Last updated: Jan 04 '13 at 16:28