Windows Defender

Windows Defender (known as Windows Defender Antivirus in Windows 10 Creators Update and later) is an anti-malware component of Microsoft Windows.[1] It was first released as a downloadable free antispyware program for Windows XP, and was later shipped with Windows Vista and Windows 7. It has evolved into a full antivirus program, replacing Microsoft Security Essentials as part of Windows 8 and later versions.[1]

Windows Defender
Windows Defender logo
Other namesRenamed to Windows Defender Antivirus in Windows 10 Creators Update and later
Operating systemMicrosoft Windows
ReplacesMicrosoft Security Essentials
TypeAntivirus software on Windows 8 and later (formerly spyware removal software in Windows XP and Windows 7)

Basic features

Before Windows 8, Windows Defender only protected users against spyware.[2] It includes a number of real-time security agents that monitor several common areas of Windows for changes which might have been caused by spyware. It also has the ability to remove installed ActiveX software.[3] Windows Defender featured an integrated support for Microsoft SpyNet that allows users to report to Microsoft what they consider to be spyware, and what applications and device drivers they allow to be installed on their systems. Protection against viruses was subsequently added in Windows 8; which resembles Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE). It also uses the same anti-malware engine and virus definitions from MSE.

In Windows 10, Windows Defender settings are controlled in the Windows Defender Security Center. In the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, a new logo is introduced and a pop-up notification will appear to announce the results of a scan, even if no viruses are found.[4]



Windows AntiSpyware Beta 1
Microsoft AntiSpyware Beta 1 (Version 1.0.701) running Windows XP

Windows Defender was initially based on GIANT AntiSpyware, formerly developed by GIANT Company Software, Inc. The company's acquisition was announced by Microsoft on December 16, 2004.[5][6] While the original GIANT AntiSpyware officially supported older Windows versions, support for the Windows 9x line of operating systems was later dropped by Microsoft.

The first beta release of Microsoft AntiSpyware from January 6, 2005 was a repackaged version of GIANT AntiSpyware[5] There were more builds released in 2005, with the last Beta 1 refresh released on November 21, 2005.

At the 2005 RSA Security conference, Bill Gates, the Chief Software Architect and co-founder of Microsoft, announced that Windows Defender (formerly Microsoft AntiSpyware prior to November 4, 2005) would be made available free-of-charge to users with validly licensed Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003 operating systems to secure their systems against the increasing malware threat.[7]

Windows Defender (Beta 2) was released on February 13, 2006. It featured the program's new name and a redesigned user interface. The core engine was rewritten in C++, unlike the original GIANT-developed AntiSpyware, which was written in Visual Basic.[8] This improved the application's performance. Also, since beta 2, the program works as a Windows service, unlike earlier releases, which enables the application to protect the system even when a user is not logged on. Beta 2 also requires Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) validation. However, Windows Defender (Beta 2) did not contain some of the tools found in Microsoft AntiSpyware (Beta 1). Microsoft removed the System Inoculation, Secure Shredder and System Explorer tools found in MSAS (Beta 1) as well as the Tracks Eraser tool, which allowed users to easily delete many different types of temporary files related to Internet Explorer 6, including HTTP cookies, web cache, and Windows Media Player playback history.[5] German and Japanese versions of Windows Defender (Beta 2) were later released by Microsoft.[9][10]

General availability

On October 24, 2006, Microsoft released Windows Defender. It supports Windows XP and Windows Server 2003; however, unlike the betas, it does not run on Windows 2000.[11]

Conversion to antivirus

Windows Defender was released with Windows Vista and Windows 7, serving as their built-in anti-spyware component. In Windows Vista and Windows 7, Windows Defender was superseded by Microsoft Security Essentials, an antivirus product from Microsoft which provided protection against a wider range of malware. Upon installation, Microsoft Security Essentials disabled and replaced Windows Defender.[12][13][14] In Windows 8, Microsoft upgraded Windows Defender into an antivirus program very similar to Microsoft Security Essentials for Windows 7[15] and using the same virus definition updates. MSE itself does not run on Windows versions beyond 7. In Windows 8 and Windows 10, Windows Defender is on by default. It switches itself off upon installation of a third-party anti-virus package.[16]

Starting with Windows 10, Microsoft began to transfer the control of Windows Defender out of its native client. Initially, its "Settings" dialog box was replaced by a dedicated page in the Settings app. In Windows 10 Creators Update, Windows Defender is renamed Windows Defender Antivirus to distinguish it from Windows Defender Security Center. The latter has become the default avenue to interface with Windows Defender.[17] While there is no shortcut on the Start menu for Windows Defender's native client, it can still run.[18][19] It was later removed in the Windows 10 April 2018 Update and transferred to Windows Defender Security Center.

Advanced features

Windows Defender EICAR
Windows Defender notification toast in Windows 8, reporting taking action to clean the EICAR test file.
Real-time protection
In the Windows Defender options, the user can configure real-time protection options.
Browser integration
Integration with Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge enables files to be scanned as they are downloaded to detect malicious software inadvertently downloaded. Although it does not integrate with non-Microsoft web browsers, Windows Defender scans for malicious downloaded files as part of its real-time protection.

Windows 10's Anniversary Update introduced Limited Periodic Scanning, which optionally allows Windows Defender to scan a system periodically if another antivirus app is installed.[4] It also introduced Block at First Sight, which uses machine learning to predict whether a file is malicious.[20]

Windows Vista-specific functionality

Windows Defender had additional functionality in Windows Vista which was removed in subsequent versions of Windows:[21]

Security agents

Security agents which monitor the computer for malicious activities:

  • Auto Start – Monitors lists of programs that are allowed to automatically run when the user starts the computer
  • System Configuration (settings) – Monitors security-related settings in Windows
  • Internet Explorer Add-ons – Monitors programs that automatically run when the user starts Internet Explorer
  • Internet Explorer Configurations (settings) – Monitors browser security settings
  • Internet Explorer Downloads – Monitors files and programs that are designed to work with Internet Explorer
  • Services and Drivers – Monitors services and drivers as they interact with Windows and programs
  • Application Execution – Monitors when programs start and any operations they perform while running
  • Application Registration – Monitors tools and files in the operating system where programs can register to run at any time
  • Windows Add-ons – Monitors add-on programs for Windows

Software Explorer

The Advanced Tools section allows users to discover potential vulnerabilities with a series of Software Explorers. They provide views of startup programs, currently running software, network connected applications, and Winsock providers (Winsock LSPs). In each Explorer, every element is rated as either "Known", "Unknown" or "Potentially Unwanted". The first and last categories carry a link to learn more about the particular item, and the second category invites users to submit the program to Microsoft SpyNet for analysis by community members.[22][23] The Software Explorer feature has been removed from Windows Defender in Windows 7.[24]

Notification of startup programs that run as an administrator

Windows Defender in Windows Vista automatically blocks all startup items that require administrator privileges to run (this is considered suspicious behavior for a startup item). This automatic blocking is related to the User Account Control functionality in Windows Vista, and requires users to manually run each of these startup items each time they log in if they desire the item to run at startup.[25]

User interface

In Windows Vista, it is possible to close the window and have the program run in the system tray while a scan is running. However, in Windows 7, this functionality was removed and the window must remain open while a scan is running.

Windows Defender Offline

Windows Defender Offline (formerly known as Standalone System Sweeper)[26] is a bootable standalone anti-malware program that runs from a bootable disk designed to scan infected systems while their operating systems are offline.[27] Since Windows 10 Anniversary Update, the offline functionality is integrated into the regular Windows Defender program as well.

Mitigated security vulnerability

On May 5, 2017, Tavis Ormandy, a vulnerability researcher from Google, discovered a security vulnerability in the JavaScript analysis module (NScript) of Microsoft Antimalware Engine (MsMpEngine) that impacted Windows Defender, Microsoft Security Essentials and System Center Endpoint Protection. By May 8, 2017, Microsoft had released a patch to all affected systems. Ars Technica commended Microsoft for its unprecedented patching speed and said that the disaster had been averted.[28][29]


During the December 2017 test of various anti-malware software carried out by AV-TEST on Windows 10 platform, Windows Defender has earned 6 out of 6 points in detection rate of various malware samples, earning its "AV-TEST Certified" seal.[30] Also, during February 2018 "Real-World Protection Test" performed by AV-Comparatives, Windows Defender has achieved 100% detection rate of malicious URL samples, along with 3 false positive results.[31]

See also


  1. ^ a b "What is Windows Defender?". Computer Hope. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  2. ^ Shultz, Greg. "Windows Defender: Past, present, and future". Retrieved 13 June 2017.
  3. ^ "How to Remove an Active-X Control in Windows". Microsoft. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  4. ^ a b "What's new in Windows Defender for Windows 10 Anniversary Update". Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  5. ^ a b c Thurrot, Paul (6 October 2010). "Microsoft Windows Anti-Spyware Preview: Paul Thurott's SuperSite for Windows". SuperSite for Windows. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  6. ^ "Microsoft Acquires Anti-Spyware Leader GIANT Company". PressPass. Microsoft. 16 December 2004. Retrieved 11 November 2009.
  7. ^ "Gates Highlights Progress on Security, Outlines Next Steps for Continued Innovation". PressPass. Microsoft Corporation. 15 February 2005. Retrieved 11 November 2009.
  8. ^ Thurrott, Paul (14 February 2006). "Windows Defender Beta 2 Review: Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows". SuperSite for Windows. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  9. ^ "Windows Defender: Startseite" (in German). Microsoft Corporation. Archived from the original on 30 January 2009. Retrieved 8 May 2011.
  10. ^ "マイクロソフト セキュリティ At Home" (in Japanese). Microsoft Corporation. Archived from the original on 18 January 2010. Retrieved 8 May 2011.
  11. ^ Thurrott, Paul (24 October 2006). "Finally, Microsoft Ships Windows Defender". Windows IT Pro. Retrieved 8 May 2011.
  12. ^ Thurrott, Paul (18 June 2009). "Microsoft Security Essentials Public Beta". Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows. Retrieved 8 May 2011.
  13. ^ Hau, Kevin (23 June 2009). "Windows Defender and Microsoft Security Essentials". Microsoft Answers. Microsoft Corporation. Retrieved 8 May 2011.
  14. ^ Marius, Marius Oiaga (30 August 2010). "Microsoft Security Essentials 1.0 and 2.0 Disable Windows Defender". Softpedia. SoftNews NET SRL. Retrieved 8 May 2011.
  15. ^ Windows 8 Consumer Preview: Set Up Windows 8 with the Web Installer
  16. ^ "Protect your PC". Support (12 ed.). Microsoft. 8 September 2016. Retrieved 14 December 2016.
  17. ^ Lich, Brian (18 May 2017). "Windows Defender Antivirus in the Windows Defender Security Center app". Microsoft.
  18. ^ Popa, Bogdan (24 August 2017). "Quick Tip: Use the Old Windows Defender in Windows 10 Creators Update". Softpedia. SoftNews.
  19. ^ Williams, Wayne (24 August 2017). "How to get the classic Windows Defender back on Windows 10 Creators Update". BetaNews.
  20. ^ "How to enable Windows 10's Block at First Sight protection in Windows Defender". Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  21. ^ "Protect Your PC with New Security Features in Windows Vista". Microsoft. November 2006. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  22. ^ "Using Software Explorer in Windows Defender". Support. Microsoft. Archived from the original on 14 October 2009. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  23. ^ O'Reilly, Dennis (22 April 2008). "Software Explorer keeps unneeded apps from auto-starting". CNET. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  24. ^ Thurrott, Paul (6 October 2010). "Windows 7 Annoyances". Supersite for Windows. Penton. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  25. ^ "Error message when you start a Windows Vista-based computer: 'Windows has blocked some startup programs'". Support. Microsoft. 23 September 2011. Archived from the original on 7 April 2015. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  26. ^ Whitney, Lance. "Utility Spotlight: Repair Your PC Infection". Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  27. ^ "Help protect my PC with Windows Defender Offline". Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  28. ^ Anthony, Sebastian (9 May 2017). "Massive vulnerability in Windows Defender leaves most Windows PCs vulnerable". Ars Technica. Condé Nast.
  29. ^ "Microsoft Security Advisory 4022344". TechNet. Microsoft. 8 May 2017.
  30. ^ "The best antivirus software for Windows Home User". AV-TEST. 2018. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  31. ^ "Real-World Protection Test" (PDF). AV-Comparatives. 2018. Retrieved 12 April 2018.

External links

Background Intelligent Transfer Service

Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) is a component of Microsoft Windows XP and later iterations of the operating systems, which facilitates asynchronous, prioritized, and throttled transfer of files between machines using idle network bandwidth. It is most commonly used by recent versions of Windows Update, Microsoft Update, Windows Server Update Services, and System Center Configuration Manager to deliver software updates to clients, Microsoft's anti-virus scanner Microsoft Security Essentials (a later version of Windows Defender) to fetch signature updates, and is also used by Microsoft's instant messaging products to transfer files. BITS is exposed through the Component Object Model (COM).

Criticism of Windows 10

Windows 10, an operating system released by Microsoft in July 2015, has been criticized by reviewers and users. Due to issues mostly about privacy, it has been the subject of a number of negative assessments by various groups.

Directory structure

In computing, a directory structure is the way an operating system's file system and its files are displayed to the user. Files are typically displayed in a hierarchical tree structure.

Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit

Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET) is a freeware security toolkit for Microsoft Windows, developed by Microsoft. It provides a unified interface to enable and fine-tune Windows security features. It can be used as an extra layer of defense against malware attacks, after the firewall and before antivirus software.EMET is targeted mostly at system administrators but the newest version is supported for any Windows user running Windows 7 and later, or Windows Server 2008 R2 and later, with .NET Framework 4.5 installed. Older versions can be used on Windows XP, but not all features are available. Version 4.1 was the last version to support Windows XP.

Microsoft has announced that EMET will reach end of life on July 31, 2018. The successors to EMET are the ProcessMitigations Module—aka Process Mitigation Management Tool—and the Windows Defender Exploit Guard only available on Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016.

Features new to Windows 8

The transition from Windows 7 to Windows 8 introduced a number of new features across various aspects of the operating system. These include a greater focus on optimizing the operating system for touchscreen-based devices (such as tablets) and cloud computing.


GreenBrowser is a discontinued freeware web browser based on Internet Explorer's core. GreenBrowser is based upon the Trident rendering engine used in Internet Explorer.

GreenBrowser is a full-featured browser, highly customizable but compact in size and low in memory requirements. GreenBrowser is similar to Maxthon, and closely related to the MyIE browser. Some addons and plugins designed for Maxthon will also work with GreenBrowser. GreenBrowser features many automation features as standard, such as an ad filter, auto form fill, auto scroll, auto save, auto refresh.

GreenBrowser is a product from morequick, a software organization based in China. Simplified Chinese language is built into the browser. The browser also has certain idiosyncrasies such as many toolbars and icons are enabled by default. When GreenBrowser is running, the green G logo floats over all pages but can be turned off by right-clicking on it and unchecking the "Monitor" option.GreenBrowser was one of the twelve browsers offered to European Economic Area users of Microsoft Windows in 2010 at

Messenger Plus!

Messenger Plus! (formerly known as Messenger Plus! Live, commonly abbreviated MsgPlus, Plus!, or incorrectly as MSN Plus) is an add-on for Windows Live Messenger and Skype. The software provides additional functionality to Microsoft's Instant messaging client, Windows Live Messenger, by adding its own controls to the main interface. These controls affect Messenger's behaviour and appearance, often through additional dialog boxes.

The add-on was first released in May 2001 under the name "The Messenger Plus! Extension" for MSN Messenger and Windows Messenger. It later changed its name to "Messenger Plus!" and then, for the release of the new Windows Live Messenger client, "Messenger Plus! Live" was chosen. In 2011 the name was changed back to "Messenger Plus!" again. It has become one of the most widely used add-ons for Microsoft's IM clients, citing over 62 million users as of February 2010.Volunteers from the Messenger Plus! community around the world develop skins and scripts for submission into the database of the website for the software.

Microsoft Active Protection Service

Microsoft Active Protection Service (abbreviated MAPS and formerly known as Microsoft SpyNet) is the network of Windows Defender and Microsoft Security Essentials users that help determine which programs are classified as spyware. The signatures created for any submitted programs by the users of the product are available to all users, displayed as a bar graph that shows the percentage of people who have allowed, blocked, or removed an item. This method of spyware classification allows rare, unknown, or new spyware to be categorized as most people choose to send their data.

Microsoft Security Essentials

Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) is antivirus software (AV) that provides protection against different types of malicious software, such as computer viruses, spyware, rootkits, and trojan horses. Prior to version 4.5, MSE ran on Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7, but not on Windows 8 and later, which have built-in AV components known as Windows Defender. MSE 4.5 and later versions do not run on Windows XP. The license agreement allows home users and small businesses to install and use the product free-of-charge. It replaces Windows Live OneCare, a discontinued commercial subscription-based AV service, and the free Windows Defender, which only protected users from spyware until Windows 8.

Built upon the same scanning engine and virus definitions as other Microsoft antivirus products, it provides real-time protection, constantly monitoring activities on the computer, scanning new files as they are created or downloaded, and disabling detected threats. It lacks the OneCare personal firewall and the Forefront Endpoint Protection centralized management features.

Microsoft's announcement of its own AV software on November 18, 2008 was met with mixed reactions from the AV industry. Symantec, McAfee and Kaspersky Lab—three competing independent software vendors—dismissed it as an unworthy competitor, but AVG Technologies and Avast Software appreciated its potential to expand the consumers' choice of AV software. AVG, McAfee, Sophos and Trend Micro claimed that the integration of the product into Microsoft Windows would be a violation of competition law.

The product received generally positive reviews praising its user interface, low resource usage and freeware license. It secured AV-TEST certification in October 2009, having demonstrated its ability to eliminate all widely encountered malware. It lost that certification in October 2012; in June 2013, MSE achieved the lowest possible protection score, zero. However, Microsoft significantly improved this product during the couple of years preceding February 2018, when MSE achieved AV-TEST's "Top Product" award after detecting 100% of the samples used during its test. According to a March 2012 report by anti-malware specialist OPSWAT, MSE was the most popular AV product in North America and the second most popular in the world, which has resulted in the appearance of several rogue antivirus programs that try to impersonate it.

Microsoft SmartScreen

SmartScreen (officially called Windows SmartScreen, Windows Defender SmartScreen and SmartScreen Filter in different places) is a cloud-based anti-phishing and anti-malware component included in several Microsoft products, including Windows 8 and later, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge and It is designed to help protect users against attacks that utilize social engineering and drive-by downloads to infect a system by scanning URLs accessed by a user against a blacklist of websites containing known threats. With the Windows 10 Creators Update, Microsoft placed the SmartScreen settings into the Windows Defender Security Center.

Microsoft Windows

Microsoft Windows is a group of several graphical operating system families, all of which are developed, marketed, and sold by Microsoft. Each family caters to a certain sector of the computing industry. Active Windows families include Windows NT and Windows Embedded; these may encompass subfamilies, e.g. Windows Embedded Compact (Windows CE) or Windows Server. Defunct Windows families include Windows 9x, Windows Mobile and Windows Phone.

Microsoft introduced an operating environment named Windows on November 20, 1985, as a graphical operating system shell for MS-DOS in response to the growing interest in graphical user interfaces (GUIs). Microsoft Windows came to dominate the world's personal computer (PC) market with over 90% market share, overtaking Mac OS, which had been introduced in 1984. Apple came to see Windows as an unfair encroachment on their innovation in GUI development as implemented on products such as the Lisa and Macintosh (eventually settled in court in Microsoft's favor in 1993). On PCs, Windows is still the most popular operating system. However, in 2014, Microsoft admitted losing the majority of the overall operating system market to Android, because of the massive growth in sales of Android smartphones. In 2014, the number of Windows devices sold was less than 25% that of Android devices sold. This comparison however may not be fully relevant, as the two operating systems traditionally target different platforms. Still, numbers for server use of Windows (that are comparable to competitors) show one third market share, similar to that for end user use.

As of October 2018, the most recent version of Windows for PCs, tablets, smartphones and embedded devices is Windows 10. The most recent versions for server computers is Windows Server 2019. A specialized version of Windows runs on the Xbox One video game console.

Patch Tuesday

Patch Tuesday (also known as Update Tuesday) is an unofficial term used to refer to when Microsoft regularly releases security patches for its software products. It is widely referred to in this way by the industry. Microsoft formalized Patch Tuesday in October 2003.Patch Tuesday occurs on the second, and sometimes fourth, Tuesday of each month in North America. As far as the integrated Windows Update (WU) function is concerned, Patch Tuesday begins at 18:00 or 17:00 UTC (10:00 PST (UTC−8) or 10:00 PDT (UTC−7)). The updates show up in Download Center before they are added to WU, and the KB articles and the Technet bulletin are unlocked later.

Microsoft has a pattern of releasing a larger number of updates in even-numbered months, and fewer in odd-numbered months. Minor updates are also released outside Patch Tuesday. Daily updates consist of malware database refreshes for Windows Defender and Microsoft Security Essentials. Sometimes there is an extraordinary Patch Tuesday, two weeks after the regular Patch Tuesday. Some updates could be released at any time.

Science and technology in Romania

On May 14, 1981 Romania became the 11th country in the world to have an astronaut in space. That astronaut, Dumitru Prunariu is today's president of Romanian Space Agency.

Henri Coandă was a Romanian inventor and pioneer of aviation. He discovered the Coanda effect of fluidics.

George Emil Palade is a Romanian-born cell biologist who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1974 for his study of internal organization of such cell structures as mitochondria, chloroplasts, the Golgi apparatus, and for the discovery of the ribosomes. He also won the National Medal of Science in 1986.

George Constantinescu created the theory of sonics, while Lazăr Edeleanu was the first chemist to synthesize amphetamine and also invented the modern method of refining crude oil.

Several mathematicians distinguished themselves as well, among them: Acad. Gheorghe Țițeica, Spiru Haret, Acad. Grigore Moisil (multi-valued logics), Acad. Miron Nicolescu, Acad. Nicolae Popescu (category theory applications to rings and modules, and number theory; Popesco-Gabriel Theorem), George Georgescu (Łukasiewicz logic algebras in categories), Florin Boca (quantum groups and C*-algebras), Liliana Elena Popescu (category theory and computing/modelling theory), Madalina Buneci (groupoid and double groupoid representations) and Ştefan Odobleja; the latter is also regarded as the ideological father behind cybernetics.

Notable Romanian physicists and inventors also include: Horia Hulubei in atomic physics, Șerban Țițeica in theoretical physics, especially thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, Mihai Gavrilă in quantum theory, Alexandru Proca known for the first meson theory of nuclear forces and Proca's equations of the vectorial mesonic field, formulated independently of the pion theory of Nobel laureate Hideki Yukawa (who predicted the existence of the pion in 1947), Ştefan Procopiu known for the first theory of the magnetic moment of the electron in 1911 (now known as the Bohr-Procopiu magneton), Theodor V. Ionescu- the inventor of a multiple-cavity magnetron in 1935, a hydrogen maser in 1947, 3D imaging for cinema/television in 1924, quantum emission in hot plasmas and hot deuterium plasma beams for controlled nuclear fusion in 1969, Ionel Solomon known for the nuclear magnetic resonance theory in solids in 1955, Solomon equations, solid state physics, semiconductors in 1979, and photovoltaics since 1988, Mircea Sabău and Florentina I. Mosora known for their contributions to Nuclear Medicine, Petrache Poenaru, Nicolae Teclu and Victor Toma, with the latter known for the invention and construction of the first Romanian computer, the CIFA-1 in 1955. At the beginning of the second millennium, there was a boom in Romania in the number of computer programmers. Romania is reported to be among the countries with the highest number of computer programmers in the world. Some examples of successful software include RAV (Romanian AntiVirus) which was bought in 2003 by Microsoft for use in their development of Windows Defender; or BitDefender which is considered the number one antivirus software and internet security software at TopTenReviews.

Security and Maintenance

Security and Maintenance (formerly known as Action Center, and Security Center in earlier versions) is a component of the Windows NT family of operating systems that monitors the security and maintenance status of the computer. Its monitoring criteria includes optimal operation of antivirus software, personal firewall, as well as the working status of Backup and Restore, Network Access Protection (NAP), User Account Control (UAC), Windows Error Reporting (WER), and Windows Update. It notifies the user of any problem with the monitored criteria, such as when an antivirus program is not up-to-date or is offline.

Windows 10 version history

Windows 10 is an operating system developed by Microsoft. Microsoft described Windows 10 as an "operating system as a service" that would receive ongoing updates to its features and functionality, augmented with the ability for enterprise environments to receive non-critical updates at a slower pace, or use long-term support milestones that will only receive critical updates, such as security patches, over their five-year lifespan of mainstream support. Terry Myerson, executive vice president of Microsoft's Windows and Devices Group, said that the goal of this model was to reduce fragmentation across the Windows platform.

Windows Firewall

Windows Firewall (officially called Windows Defender Firewall in Windows 10), is a firewall component of Microsoft Windows. It was first included in Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. Prior to the release of Windows XP Service Pack 2 in 2004, it was known as Internet Connection Firewall. With the release of Windows 10 version 1709, in September 2017, it was renamed Windows Defender Firewall as part of the "Windows Defender" branding campaign.

Windows Live OneCare

Windows Live OneCare (previously Windows OneCare Live, codenamed A1) was a computer security and performance enhancement service developed by Microsoft for Windows. A core technology of OneCare was the multi-platform RAV (Reliable Anti-virus), which Microsoft purchased from GeCAD Software Srl in 2003, but subsequently discontinued. The software was available as an annual paid subscription, which could be used on up to three computers.

On 18 November 2008, Microsoft announced that Windows Live OneCare would be discontinued on 30 June 2009 and will instead be offering users a new free anti-malware suite called Microsoft Security Essentials to be available before then. However, virus definitions and support for OneCare would continue until a subscription expires. In the end-of-life announcement, Microsoft noted that Windows Live OneCare would not be upgraded to work with Windows 7 and would also not work in Windows XP Mode.

Windows Server 2019

Windows Server 2019 is the latest version of the server operating system by Microsoft, as part of the Windows NT family of operating systems.

Windows Update

Windows Update is a Microsoft service for the Windows 9x and Windows NT families of operating system, which automates downloading and installing Microsoft Windows software updates over the Internet. The service delivers software updates for Windows, as well as the various Microsoft antivirus products, including Windows Defender and Microsoft Security Essentials. Since its inception, Microsoft has introduced two extensions of the service: Microsoft Update and Windows Update for Business. The former expands the core service to include other Microsoft products, such as Microsoft Office and Microsoft Expression Studio. The latter is available to business editions of Windows 10 and permits postponing updates or receiving updates only after they have undergone rigorous testing.

As the service has evolved over the years, so have its client software. For a decade, the primary client component of the service was the Windows Update web app that could only be run inside Internet Explorer. Starting with Windows Vista, the primary client component became Windows Update Agent, an integral component of the operating system.

The service provides several kinds of updates. Security updates or critical updates mitigate vulnerabilities against security exploits against Microsoft Windows. Cumulative updates are updates that bundle previously released updates. Cumulative updates were introduced with Windows 10 and have been backported to Windows 7 and Windows 8.1.

Microsoft routinely releases updates on the second Tuesday of each month (known as the Patch Tuesday), but can provide them whenever a new update is urgently required to prevent a newly discovered or prevalent exploit. System administrators can configure Windows Update to install critical updates for Microsoft Windows automatically, so long as the computer has an Internet connection.

Microsoft security products
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