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Is Microsoft Defender Enough to Stay Protected in 2022?

Kate Hawkins
Last Updated by Kate Hawkins on July 01, 2022

Microsoft Defender is a decent option for a 100% free, cloud-based antivirus service and has vastly improved in recent years. However, I wasn’t sure it could stand up to the top antivirus solutions available on the market.

I put Microsoft Defender to the test, examining malware detection, scans, internet security, system impact, and more. I found that Microsoft Defender isn’t good enough to protect your PC alone. You need additional antivirus software to secure your device.

Ultimately, Norton outperforms every antivirus service I tested, including Microsoft Defender. Its powerful antivirus engine and fast scans keep your PC protected from the latest threats, and it includes extra features that Microsoft Defender doesn’t offer. Better still, you can try Norton risk-free for 60 days with its money-back guarantee.

Try Norton on Windows risk-free!

Quick Guide: Top Alternatives to Microsoft Defender in 2022

  1. Norton#1 antivirus software for Windows — powerful malware protection, firewall, VPN, and Windows-specific features.
  2. McAfee — Advanced malware protection and online security for Windows, but some top features are restricted to US customers only.
  3. TotalAV — Excellent malware protection for Windows PC, laptops, and tablets, but prices jump considerably after the first year.
  4. IOLO — High-level malware protection and software tune-up tools, but slows PC significantly during scans.
  5. Bitdefender — Blocks all types of complex malware targeting Windows, but premium packages are slightly pricey.

Don’t miss out on even more great alternatives to Microsoft Defender — jump down here to find out about 4 more top choices!

Try Norton on Windows risk-free!

About Microsoft Defender

In its most recent updates, Microsoft Defender has shown significant improvements in device security and functionality. It has several key features that top-tier antivirus software use, including real-time malware protection, firewall, and parental control options, and performance reports. Microsoft Defender also secures your device when browsing the web, blocking phishing sites and malicious downloads.

As a free service, Microsoft Defender does a reasonably good job of keeping your Windows devices secure. In tests, it scored a 98% detection result for real-time malware — an excellent result for a completely free service. I like that the software is pre-installed on all Windows 10 and 11 devices, ensuring my PC is protected from the moment I boot my computer.

I was pleased to find Microsoft Defender’s phishing protection works flawlessly on Chrome and Edge browsers. It has a solid set of parental control options, but these only work with Edge and require your child to have a Microsoft account — easy to get around for tech-savvy kids.

Given these features, Microsoft Defender is an okay choice for a free antivirus service. It will secure your PC from most malware and phishing threats, but there’s always a chance something will slip through. If you’re using your PC for work or storing personal items (photos, financial details, and more) you should ensure you have comprehensive coverage by using a standalone antivirus service.

Can You Rely on Microsoft Defender Alone in 2022?

Unfortunately, no — Microsoft Defender isn’t enough to protect your PC by itself. My team and I rigorously tested Microsoft Defender over several weeks, checking real-time malware detection rates, ease of use, system impact, and more. While the results were fairly positive, Microsoft Defender falls short in key areas that could expose your Windows devices to significant threats.

In terms of malware protection, Microsoft Defender is less capable of stopping the latest threats — a 98% detection rate, which falls short in comparison to Norton’s 100% detection. Microsoft Defender’s lack of regular updates means it can’t always handle the latest threats and this puts your devices at risk. Microsoft Defender also doesn’t provide ransomware protection, which is a significant issue as ransomware attacks are on the rise. This alone is a good reason to opt for a premium antivirus solution.

Microsoft Defender also lacks the extra features offered by a premium antivirus. A service like Norton has advanced security and privacy features, like a password manager, VPN, cloud storage, a sophisticated firewall, cross-platform support, and more. While Microsoft Defender includes a firewall and parental controls, the interface is difficult to navigate and settings are complex to configure.

Screenshot of Windows Defender Firewall Security settings
Microsoft Defender configuration is complicated, even for advanced users

While it’s improving, Microsoft Defender is not even nearly at the same level as premium antivirus software. Services like Norton, McAfee, and TotalAV are dedicated to protecting your devices from malware — and not just your Windows PC. Microsoft Defender is better than no protection at all, but it should be thought of more as a placeholder for a comprehensive antivirus suite rather than as a viable solution.

Try Norton on Windows risk-free!

The Best Antivirus Alternatives to Microsoft Defender (Tested July 2022)

1. Norton — #1 Antivirus Software Suite for Windows 10 & 11

Key Features:

  • Blocks 100% of malware targeting Windows in real-time
  • Extra features include a VPN, parental controls, password manager, and more
  • Compatible with all versions of Windows
  • 24/7 customer support available by live chat or by phone
  • 60-day money-back guarantee

Norton is the top antivirus service in 2022 and superior to Microsoft Defender in every way. It successfully detects all types of PC-specific malware and comes with a variety of extra features to improve overall Windows security. Best of all, Norton has a range of Windows antivirus packages to suit every budget.

In tests, Norton successfully detected and quarantined 100% of malware threats. Unlike Microsoft Defender, Norton updates its software constantly so your PC is always protected from the latest cyber threats. Norton also features a Safe Web browser extension that scans websites for malware and phishing scams. During my tests, Safe Web detected almost 99% of web-based threats, while Microsoft’s own browser, Edge, failed to block most of the test sites I tried to access.

Screenshot of Norton 360's Safe Web feature blocking access to a suspicious website.
Norton adds an extra layer of security to your browser

Norton also features an easy-to-use firewall, a minimum of 2GB of cloud storage, PC SafeCam, LifeLock Identity Theft protection, a password manager, and a VPN. I thought such comprehensive security and privacy suite would cause a significant slowdown for my Windows PC, but Norton runs quietly in the background. I didn’t even notice an impact when running a full system scan.

I was especially impressed by Norton’s VPN and Password Manager features. With the VPN, I could stream on Netflix in HD quality, even though my speeds were a little slower than usual.

Screenshot of Norton Secure VPN connected to a US server and streaming on Netflix US.
Norton’s VPN provides reliable access to Netflix US

Norton’s Password Manager has a unique Autochange feature that chooses a stronger password for you, changes it, and stores it to improve your security. Microsoft Defender doesn’t include any kind of VPN, proxy, or password management.

While Norton isn’t free, it has a range of plans that are suitable for all budgets. The best value package is the Deluxe plan, which covers 5 devices, has 50GB of cloud storage, and parental controls. It does cost money, but Norton’s regular updates guarantee your security from real-time online threats.

You can take advantage of Norton’s 60-day money-back guarantee to try the service risk-free. If you find it’s not right for you, you can get a refund by contacting the 24/7 live chat. It took less than 5 minutes for me to get my request approved and I had my money back in just 5 days!

Try Norton on Windows risk-free!

2. McAfee — Easy-to-Customize Firewall Blocks Windows-Specific Threats

Key Features:

  • Advanced AI predicts strains of new malware before its even released
  • Includes customizable firewall, web protection tools, optimization tools, and more
  • Supports Windows 10 and 11
  • 24/7 customer support by online chat or phone
  • 60-day money-back guarantee

McAfee’s customizable firewall and intuitive interface are much more user-friendly than Microsoft Defender. Even for a first-time antivirus user, McAfee makes adjusting important settings very easy — every option is clearly labeled so you won’t accidentally switch off or change any important settings.

Screenshot of McAfee's firewall with customizable settings highlighted.
You can configure McAfee or leave its settings in the default state

With McAfee’s firewall, I particularly like its 2-way threat detection. Not only does the firewall secure your PC from incoming malware, it also stops unwanted traffic from leaving your PC — protecting your entire network from threats. I used the firewall alongside McAfee’s vulnerability scanner and home network monitor, both of which constantly scan apps and external devices for weak spots or hackers. These features aren’t included with Microsoft Defender.

I also like McAfee’s WebAdvisor browser extension, which automatically blocks phishing scams, crypto-jacking, and dangerous websites while you’re browsing online. This extension is available on Firefox, Edge, and Chrome and will secure your preferred browser.

McAfee provides even more features that improve your Windows security, and that Microsoft Defender is missing. These include a VPN, password manager, comprehensive parental controls, and a file shredder. In tests, McAfee achieved 100% detection rates for real-time malware attacks. McAfee also includes ransomware protection (which Microsoft Defender is lacking) but doesn’t provide cloud storage as a backup in case of a ransomware attack.

While it isn’t free, McAfee is an affordable option with a range of plans to suit your budget. The Family Plan is the best value, protecting up to 10 devices across multiple platforms and providing Safe Family parental control features. You can try McAfee with your Windows PC risk-free by using its 30-day money-back guarantee.

Try McAfee on Windows risk-free!

3. TotalAV — Variety of Useful Performance-Enhancing Tools for Your Windows PC

Key Features:

  • Easily defends Windows from ransomware, adware, spyware, viruses, and rootkits
  • Includes PC optimization tools as well as a password vault and a VPN
  • Compatible with Windows 10 and 11
  • 24/7 customer support by live chat, email, or phone
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

TotalAV’s impressive optimization tools make it a great alternative to Microsoft Defender. During my Smart Scan, TotalAV suggested multiple ways to optimize my PC. It checked for junk and duplicate files, uncleared browser cookies, unnecessary start-up programs, and even has an App Uninstaller that completely removes apps. I could resolve any issues from the Smart Scan screen in minutes and found it made a noticeable difference to my overall system performance.

TotalAV offers multiple tune-up tools that are easy to use

These performance tune-up tools are lacking from Microsoft Defender, which only includes a general PC health report. TotalAV also includes a password vault, a VPN, an ad blocker, and Web Shield, which is a browser extension that blocks malicious websites. Like Norton, it also comes with identity theft protection and a data breach test that scans the web for leaks of your information.

I was pleased to find TotalAV had almost no impact on my PC during tests, even when running high-intensity virus scans. TotalAV also updates its software regularly, allowing it to easily detect and block newly-released malware — it scored 99% in real-time threat tests.

I found TotalAV is much easier to use than Microsoft Defender. The interface is simple to navigate even if you’re a first-time antivirus user. Unlike Microsoft Defender, TotalAV’s app doesn’t have any hidden features or unnecessary dropdown menus that make it difficult to configure the settings.

You can try TotalAV risk-free for 30 days with its money-back guarantee, to see if the service is a good fit for your needs. Getting a refund is easy too — you can call the support line for billing services or send an email requesting your money back. I had my refund only 2 days after confirmation.

Try TotalAV on Windows risk-free!

4. iolo — Top-Tier Optimization Software With Robust Malware Protection

Key Features:

  • Real-time protection blocks malware without falsely flagging items
  • Features optimization tools, privacy tools, password manager, and more
  • Available on Windows 10 and 11
  • 24/7 live chat, limited phone support, and knowledge base
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

iolo is capable of boosting your Windows PC’s performance and protecting it from malware. It has a range of tools to make your PC run faster, smoother, and more efficiently — and most of these tools only take seconds to optimize your device. They include a startup optimizer, PC cleanup, privacy features, a device scrubber, and more.

It took 10 minutes in total to run all of iolo’s optimization tools, and I freed up almost 2GB of space. This shows how easily junk and duplicate files hide, and removing these made a noticeable difference to the speed of my PC. My boot time was cut in half, from 30 to 15 seconds, and this kind of tool isn’t available with Microsoft Defender.

Screenshot of managing apps with iolo's startup optimizer
Customize your boot programs with iolo to improve your startup time

iolo is exclusive to Windows, so the system and setup are optimized for Windows users. This makes the app easy to navigate, as I can hover over menus and icons to find out which settings they control. While it’s not as intuitive as other antiviruses, iolo is certainly easier to figure out than Microsoft Defender.

In terms of security, iolo successfully detected and quarantined every malware test file I hid on my PC. I was especially impressed by iolo’s spyware and adware detection, as Microsoft Defender often ignores these kinds of files as they’re not necessarily malicious, just annoying. iolo’s detection of these files reassures me of its overall ability to secure my PC.

For the most comprehensive protection and optimization, I recommend you try iolo’s System Mechanic Ultimate Defense package. This gives you full access to iolo’s features, and unlimited installations. If you’re not fully satisfied, you have 30 days to request a refund.

Try iolo on Windows risk-free!

5. Bitdefender — Hands-Off Antivirus Ideal for First-Time Users

Key Features:

  • Scans thoroughly for malware and has a perfect detection rate
  • Includes game mode, secure browser, password manager, VPN, and more
  • Supports Windows 10 and 11
  • 24/7 support by live chat, email, or phone
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Bitdefender is a top choice for hands-off antivirus security and upgrading from Microsoft Defender without hassle. Bitdefender has a unique Autopilot feature that analyzes the way your device performs and automatically configures itself for you. You don’t need to touch a single setting to get the best overall protection, which is vastly different from Microsoft Defender’s complex configuration.

I also found Bitdefender’s interface is much easier to navigate than Microsoft’s. All features are clearly labeled, with short but detailed descriptions. This made it simple to customize features without accidentally clicking on the wrong setting.

Screenshot of Bitdefender's Windows interface.
Clear explanations make it easy to navigate Bitdefender’s Windows app

As Bitdefender is a cloud-based antivirus, this makes it a lightweight option that won’t impact the overall performance of your PC. During tests, Bitdefender detected 100% of both new and known malware and I didn’t notice any system slowdown despite high-intensity scans. This is a marked improvement from Microsoft Defender, which made my PC run noticeably slower during scans.

Bitdefender has several plans exclusive to Windows PCs, all including a firewall, password manager, file shredder, webcam protection, VPN, parental controls, and a secure browser. It also has a vulnerability assessment scan to check for missing updates, configurable work profiles to mute notifications, and battery life optimization.

For Windows-only coverage, I recommend Bitdefender’s Internet Security plan. It covers up to 10 devices and has all the necessary security features, including real-time and ransomware protection. You can try Bitdefender with your Windows device risk-free for 30 days as the service is backed by a money-back guarantee.

Try Bitdefender on Windows risk-free!

6. Panda — Packed With Extra Features Missing from Microsoft Defender

Key Features:

  • Successfully identifies and removes the newest malware strains
  • Includes a VPN, PC rescue kit, process monitor, password manager, and more
  • Available on Windows 10 and 11
  • 24/7 tech support available by email and phone
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Panda offers a lot of extra features that Microsoft Defender doesn’t have. It comes with its own process monitor, application control, password manager, VPN, anti-theft tools, gaming mode, and optimization tools. Given that Panda is cloud-based, it’s a lightweight antivirus option that I found had a small impact on my Windows PC’s performance.

I especially like the PC Rescue Kit, a version of Panda that can be booted to an infected PC from a USB drive. This is a unique feature to Panda and a great choice if you have a malware-infected PC that won’t start up — it successfully removed malware from my infected test PC.

Panda has an excellent malware scanner for Windows. The software detected 100% of all malware in tests, including the newest cyber threats. Panda also had fewer falsely flagged items than other antiviruses, making it less time-consuming to sort through quarantined files.

Panda has plans and flexible payment options to suit your budget. There’s even a free plan, although it’s missing crucial ransomware protection. I recommend either combining the free plan with Microsoft Defender or downloading the premium version. You can test Panda’s premium antivirus risk-free with its 30-day money-back guarantee.

Try Panda on Windows risk-free!

7. Avira — Top Free Antivirus for Windows

Key Features:

  • Detects malware threats as soon as they are downloaded onto your device
  • Includes device optimization tools, VPN, password manager, and more
  • Supports Windows 10 and 11
  • Contact customer support via phone and email
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Despite being a free antivirus, Avira’s Free Security Suite easily outperforms Microsoft Defender. Avira’s virus scanner successfully flags and isolates malware in real-time during testing — blocking 99.96% of zero-day threats as the top free antivirus for Windows. It comes with free optimization tools, browser extension, VPN, password manager, and file shredder.

This is an impressive amount of features for a free service, plus I found Avira is easy to use and has a well-organized interface. The only catch is Avira’s free antivirus doesn’t offer ransomware protection.

If you’re looking for premium protection, you can upgrade to Avira’s Prime plan. It includes ransomware protection, a VPN with unlimited bandwidth, web and email protection, automatic software and driver updater, optimization tools, a network traffic manager, and a process manager. However, it’s slightly more expensive than Norton, which gives you better security and privacy overall.

You can try Avira’s Prime plan with the 30-day money-back guarantee, or download the free version. Either way, you’ve got plenty of time to test Avira and decide if it’s the right antivirus for you.

Try Avira on Windows risk-free!

8. Intego — Streamlined Windows Antivirus With Minimal Extra Features

Key Features:

  • Protects against all kinds of malware, including trojans, viruses, and ransomware
  • Features Web Shield to secure your browser
  • Supports Windows 10
  • Customer support available through online ticketing and knowledge base
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Intego’s fuss-free antivirus app for Windows is ideal if you don’t need (or want) the host of extra features most software comes with. It’s lacking a VPN, password manager, optimization tools, parental controls, and more — instead, Intego’s antivirus focuses exclusively on blocking malicious items from attacking your PC.

The only feature it offers is Web Shield, designed to block phishing scams and harmful links. During my tests, Web Shield worked well to stop me from visiting malicious test sites. It did cause a few functionality issues with sites like Amazon, preventing them from loading properly. However, I added these sites to Intego’s Whitelist and this fixed the issue.

Intego’s real-time malware protection is effective at detecting and quarantining threats — it caught every hidden test file and didn’t flag any safe items as potentially dangerous (even Norton had a few false flags). Its cloud-based scans are fast and have a very low impact on my PC’s performance.

To see if it’s a good choice for you, I suggest you try Intego’s Family plan for Windows, which covers 3 devices and has a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Try Intego on Windows risk-free!

9. Vipre — Solid Windows Antivirus With Added Privacy Tools

Key Features:

  • Machine learning and cloud-based for up-to-date malware detection
  • Includes firewall, web protection, VPN, and more
  • Available on Windows 10 and 11
  • Contact customer support through online ticketing, phone, or email
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Vipre’s robust malware security makes it a good choice to work alongside Microsoft Defender. Some of Vipre’s functionality is directly linked with Windows — accessing Vipre’s secure vault requires your Windows password, and Vipre’s email filtering only works with Outlook.

Where Microsoft Defender falls short, Vipre has a 99.7% real-time malware detection test result and provides ransomware protection. During my tests, I also found Vipre had flagged no safe files as malicious.

Vipre has a variety of extra features that aren’t offered by Microsoft Defender, including a Privacy Shield, a dark web scanner, a built-in VPN, a document vault, and a secure file eraser. These privacy tools protect your data — even if a hacker manages to take over your PC, they can’t access your sensitive information.

The downside to Vipre is its price point — you only get full access to its features with its most expensive plan, which is similar in price to Norton with fewer benefits. The only way to see if it’s right for you is to try Vipre with your Windows PC. If you change your mind, you can get a full refund within 30 days.

Try Vipre on Windows risk-free!

Comparison Table: 2022’s Best AV Alternatives

Here is a quick overview of the top antivirus alternatives to Microsoft Defender, showing the key features for each service:

Malware Detection Test Results Free Version Extra Features Supported Platforms Money-Back Guarantee
Norton 100% Password manager, VPN, firewall, cloud backup, parental controls, web protection, and more Windows, Mac, Android, iOS 60 days
McAfee 100% Password manager, VPN, web protection firewall, optimization tools, and more Windows, Mac, Android, iOS 30 days
TotalAV 99% VPN, web protection, and more Windows, Mac, Android, iOS 30 days
iolo Optimization tools, password manager, privacy features Windows 30 days
Bitdefender 100% VPN, firewall, web protection, parental controls, and more Windows, Mac, Android, iOS 30 days
Microsoft Defender 98% Windows

After extensive testing, Norton emerges as the best alternative to Microsoft Defender. Norton has 100% new and known malware-detection results, plus a range of security and privacy features that provide comprehensive protection for your Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android devices.

Try Norton on Windows risk-free!

How To Choose the Best Microsoft Defender Alternatives

When choosing your antivirus software, it’s worth considering the following criteria — these are the areas I looked at when testing and ranking the top alternatives to Microsoft Defender:

  • Better malware protection — Every recommended antivirus has better malware protection than Microsoft Defender, including the free options. They are updated frequently to secure your PC against the latest threats.
  • Security features — Microsoft Defender lacks many of the top-tier features included in other antivirus software like Norton, such as a password manager, VPN, cloud storage, and performance optimization tools.
  • Ease-of-use — The antivirus you choose should be hassle-free to install and use, as well as have a simple interface that makes configuration easy. Norton’s Windows interface is particularly intuitive, even for first-time antivirus users.
  • OS support — Microsoft Defender is only optimized for Windows and cannot be used on other operating systems. An antivirus like Norton is compatible with multiple platforms including iOS, Mac, Android, and more, so it can secure all of your devices.
  • Value for money — While Microsoft Defender is free, it’s not a comprehensive solution for your PC. You can opt for a different free antivirus like Avira, which provides better but still limited coverage. Otherwise, services like Norton, McAfee, and TotalAV have affordable subscriptions to protect your device.

Overall, the best alternative to Microsoft Defender is Norton. Its powerful malware engine and comprehensive software package make it worth the cost of a subscription, and you can try Norton risk-free for 60 days to make sure it’s right for you.

Try Norton on Windows risk-free!

Warning: Avoid these AVs for Windows 10 & 11

Avast and AVG

Millions of users will download Avast and AVG to replace Microsoft Defender, as both are popular free antivirus programs. Unfortunately, what most people don’t know is that Avast has been caught selling private user data to make a profit (Avast is the parent company of AVG). The information sold includes browsing activity and some personally identifiable data. This is a huge breach of privacy, and so I can’t recommend either Avast or AVG as a reputable antivirus for keeping your personal files safe.

PC Matic

PC Matic was originally developed exclusively for Windows, so I was surprised by the average performance of its antivirus engine. The software also mistakenly flagged a large number of safe files as dangerous, which I found time-consuming to sort through.

FAQ: Microsoft Defender and AVs

Is Microsoft Defender good enough for Windows 10 and 11?

While Microsoft Defender has improved over the years, it’s not enough to fully secure your Windows PC. It does have some good features, like parental controls, phishing protection, and hardware security, but these features aren’t as comprehensive as those offered by a premium antivirus service.

My main concern is that Microsoft Defender struggles to identify and block the latest viruses and malware. This is due to a lack of regular updates, which means Microsoft Defender can’t consistently identify and quarantine zero-day threats. If you store personal information on your PC (like photos, work documents, or financial information) you cannot rely on Microsoft Defender as your only line of cyberdefense.

To fully secure your PC, I recommend you choose a premium antivirus service like Norton. Norton continuously updates to ensure you have the latest protection, plus it has top-tier security features like a VPN, password manager, a firewall, and cloud storage. While it’s not a free service, you can try Norton on your Windows PC risk-free as the software is backed by a 60-day money-back guarantee.

Can Microsoft Defender detect and remove malware?

Yes, Microsoft Defender can detect and remove malware, but it isn’t a reliable choice for protection against zero-day threats. Microsoft Defender isn’t updated regularly, meaning it isn’t capable of detecting the newest malware and viruses.

During my tests, Microsoft Defender detected 98% of real-time threats. While this may seem outstanding, it pales in comparison to Norton’s 100% zero-day malware detection. Missing 1% of threats is all it takes to infect your PC, and the risk only grows the longer Microsoft Defender goes without updating. It’s also worth noting that Microsoft Defender falsely flagged 5 safe files as malicious, while Norton only flagged genuinely malicious items.

To remain secure at all times, you need to invest in a top-tier antivirus service like Norton. Its constant software updates protect your PC against the newest attacks, automatically quarantining malicious files to keep your data and devices secure.

Does Microsoft Defender have phishing protection?

Yes, Microsoft Defender offers phishing protection for the Microsoft Edge browser. Called SmartScreen, it’s designed to secure your device against phishing scams, blocking you from accessing malicious websites.

Microsoft Defender’s SmartScreen doesn’t protect other browsers automatically. If you use Chrome or Firefox, you can install a browser extension, but this doesn’t work as well as Google or Mozilla’s in-built phishing protection.

For comprehensive coverage against phishing scams, malicious websites, and real-time threats, I recommend you opt for a premium antivirus instead. A service like Norton provides phishing protection for all browsers so you can browse securely however you like.

Is Microsoft Defender better than a free AV?

Microsoft Defender is better than some free antivirus services, but not all. It includes several features that many free AVs don’t provide, like real-time malware protection, a firewall, and parental controls. For a pre-installed free service, Microsoft Defender does an adequate job of securing your Windows PC.

However, there are multiple free antivirus software for Windows that provides better protection than Microsoft Defender. A service like Avira has higher malware detection rates, plus a password manager, browser extension, and file shredder for securely deleting documents. It’s not as comprehensive as a security suite like Norton, but installing Avira will give you much better protection than using Microsoft Defender alone.

Can I use Microsoft Defender with another AV?

Yes, you can use Microsoft Defender with another AV, including all of the premium antivirus software on this list. Using another AV provides extra security, as a comprehensive antivirus will fill the gaps in your protection left by Microsoft Defender. However, some antiviruses aren’t compatible with Microsoft Defender, and this can cause software conflicts that compromise your security.

Overall, it’s better to use a separate antivirus service that covers your entire PC. You can choose a free option like Avira, which has an impressive range of security features (but doesn’t include ransomware protection). Alternatively, my tests have shown Norton is the best antivirus service for Windows with 100% new and known malware detection and comprehensive security and privacy features.

Try Norton on Windows risk-free!

Combine Microsoft Defender With a Quality Windows Antivirus

For a free antivirus service, Microsoft Defender has improved considerably since its last update. Unfortunately, it’s still not good enough to protect your Windows device by itself. As such, I recommend you either use a premium antivirus service alongside Microsoft Defender, or replace it altogether.

Norton takes the top spot as the best antivirus for Windows in 2022. Not only does it block all types of Windows-specific malware, but it comes with a range of security features for your PC. Best of all, you can try Norton risk-free for 60 days with its money-back guarantee! When I tested the refund policy, it only took me a couple of minutes over 24/7 live chat and I got the money back in less than a week.


Summary — Best AV Alternatives to Microsoft Defender

Top Choice
Norton
$39.99 / month Save 27%
McAfee
$49.99 / month Save 41%
TotalAV
$29.00 / month Save 41%
iolo
$23.99 / month Save 57%
Bitdefender
$19.99 / month Save 44%
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Kate Hawkins
Kate Hawkins is a tech-focused writer and web expert with a keen interest in online security and privacy. She enjoys getting stuck into new technology and researching the latest cybersecurity trends to keep readers informed and safe online.