Does Windows defender protect against malware in 2020?

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Last updated : March 20, 2020

Windows defender is a built in antivirus protection in Windows. It prevents against Internet threats and provides Real time protection, Spyware protection, Ransomware protection, Cloud delivered protection and Family options for managing children’s online activity. But is it only good enough to protect against malware?

There are several sites which performs protection, performance and usability test of Antivirus on monthly basis and provides the report. We have taken AV test and AV comparatives 2019 report for Windows defender into consideration and summarized to provide the better vision to clarify whether Windows defender can protect against malware.

Let’s Jump in to the AV test 2019 report analysis for Windows defender.

AV Test:

AV test is carried out to examine the protection, performance and usability of Antivirus in the scale of 0 to 6. Whereas 0 is inferred as low score and 6 is considered to be the high score.

July/August 2019 report:

Windows defender has scored 6.0/6.0 in terms of protection attribute. In detecting Widespread and prevalent malware it has scored 100% score in July and August. In terms of providing protection against zero day malware attack including web and email threats it has scored 100% in July and August with the Industry average score of 98.9%.

Taking Performance into metrics, AV test has considered following attributes into consideration : slowing down during the popular website launch, standalone software applications, copying files and slower download and installation of frequently used applications. After analysing, Windows defender has scored 5.5/6.0 in terms of performance.

In the metrics of usability Windows defender has scored 6.0/6.0. Out of 500 Samples it has raised 0 false warnings and blockages while visiting websites. Windows defender has deducted 4 legitimate software as malware during system scan out of 1,450,394 samples. It has raised 4 warnings/blockages out of 104 samples while installing and using legitimate software. This metrics is way better compared to the other antivirus in competition.


As per the above comparison, Windows defender is working with high end performance as required to compete with the other competitors in the market.

  • In the performance metrics it always scored 6.0/6.0 in whole 2019,
  • In performance it has showed the inclined deviation in May/June test results and again fallen back to the score of 5.5/6.0. Still it has not declined below the benchmark.
  • In usability, initially at starting of 2019 it has set the usability score of 5.5/6.0 and then it has inclined its usability score to 6.0/6.0 from May to till now.

AV comparatives:

To get deeper insights of Windows defender, we decided to take a look on the other site called AV comparatives for the test result metrics of windows defender. Let’s see whether this result is also convincing us to think Windows defender is good enough to protect against malware or not.

As per the latest July/October 2019 AV comparatives test result, Windows defender has outranked all other competitors in terms of real world protection. AV comparatives has tested against metrics of malware blocked, user provided with option to execute the malware by AV, Malware compromised by AV and pure sample falsely detected as malware. In this terms, Windows defender has 0.0% compromised rate whereas its competitors compromised rate are falling under the range from 0.0% to 0.7%. Even major competitors like Avast, AVG also is having the compromised rate of 0.7%. Pretty impressed with the performance of Windows defender.

AV-Comparitives 2019 test results of Windows defender
AV-Comparatives 2019 test results of Windows defender
BlockedUser dependentCompromised rateFalse positive

As per the above comparison result, percentage of malwares blocked is varying from 99.3% to 100% from Feb to Oct 2019. Percentage of Malware allowed to execute by users varies from 0.0% to 0.7%. It is worth to note that Windows defender has never shown the compromised rate greater than 0.0% which is making it ahead of its competitors. Number of clean samples detected as malware varies from 36 to 58 by Windows defender in 2019.

By taking these metrics into comparison and comparing with other antivirus in the market, Windows defender is showing the outstanding performance in 2019.

The Verdict:

Its now the time to answer of questions, Does Windows defender protect against malware in 2020? Absolutely yes, after analyzing the AV test and AV comparatives results Windows defender is really performing better and giving the notable competition to its competitors. Windows defender is good enough to protect against malware, but there is no harm in adding extra layer of security by having another antivirus in parallel to put yourselves in the safer position.

If you have disabled Windows defender, then its time to enable Windows defender now. We have provided the step by step guide to turn on Windows defender in Windows 10 in one of our post.

Along with Windows defender security features, if you want to get yourselves protected against Phishing pages, harmful files and malware then turn on Windows smartscreen. If you want to know about Windows smartscreen, How it works and should you disable Windows smartscreen or not then go ahead and read our post what is Windows defender Smartscreen?

10 thoughts on “Does Windows defender protect against malware in 2020?”

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