Windows Defender

Windows Defender is an application designed to detect and remove known spyware from your computer. It is based on a solution initially developed by GIANT Company Software, a company which was acquired by Microsoft in December 2004. Before Windows Vista’s launch, Microsoft has changed both the application and its name several times. Now it is included by default in all versions of Windows Vista in order to enhance the security of the operating system.

Even though Windows Defender has been criticized for its shortcomings in detecting and blocking spyware applications, many users might choose to use it for several reasons: it is free, easy to use, light on system resources and it offers a basic set of protection features.

For those of you who would like to give Windows Defender a try, we created this quick overview of the application interface and its main functions. Also, in the upcoming weeks we will publish a few articles about some of Windows Defender’s most useful features.

As you will see in the following screenshots, the interface is very easy to understand and use. You have the Back and Forward buttons which you can use to navigate through the different application screens. Then you have five main buttons: Home, Scan, History, Tools and Help.

The Home button loads the Windows Defender status screen where you can see details such as the date of the last system scan, the definition version and different status application messages. For example, in the screenshot below you can see a warning saying that the program can’t check for definition updates and the appropriate error code which you can use to find troubleshooting tips on the internet.

Windows Defender

If you press on the Scan button, Windows Defender will perform a quick scan to detect the spyware that might be present on your system.

Windows Defender

If you want Windows Defender to perform a full scan, you should click on the small arrow near the Scan button. Clicking the arrow gives you access to the following options: quick scan, full scan and custom scan.

Windows Defender

The History button loads a screen where you can see a list with all previous Windows Defender activities. Here you can review the items that were permitted to run or prevented from running on your computer.

Windows Defender

When you click on the Tools button, it will load the Tools and Settings screen. In the Settings section you can click on Options and then configure the way you want Windows Defender to run. Also you can join the Microsoft SpyNet community and help identify spyware infections.

Windows Defender

From the Tools section you can access all the Quarantined items, view the Allowed items list, monitor the software running on your computer and access the Windows Defender website.

The Help button loads the Windows Defender help files. If you click on the small arrow near this button, you can also check for Windows Defender updates, view information about the application or the privacy statement.

Windows Defender

Related articles:
Windows Defender’s best feature – Software Explorer
How to disable Windows Defender
What is Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool (mrt.exe) and how to use it
How to use the Task Manager

Recommended articles:
Windows Defender – Support and Training

12 thoughts on “Windows Defender”

  1. Win Defender dosent release User Profile Service on Shutdown
    I noticed after updating WD to its latest engine, it will lock the User Profile Service durring shutdown and/or logoff. Thus the UPS cant write changes to the registry for the user session. This results is lost and discarded chages made to the registry.

    In the event viewer it shows an error for USER PROFILE SERVICE could not write/access the registry due to another process that has not released/terminated.

    Soon as I disabled WD, the error no longer appeared in the event viewer on shutdown/logoff and all registry changes were saved. It has to do with the new kernel protection that was updated in WD.

    Has anyone else experienced this problem running the latest engine update (aug 2007) under Vista?

  2. Windows Defender
    I get an error message when I start my computer.
    I can’t uninstall windows defender becasue it is NOT listed in my programs. Since windows can’t do a scan I for some reason can’t watch movies on my laptop.
    any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    • I have the same problem with
      I have the same problem with defender. I get an error message every time i switch my computer on and the same message shows every time I even try to open defender. please help

  3. unable to open WD
    I am trying to disable WD as explained here, but when I try to launch Windows Defender it will not open. I also have McAfree and see that the two may be creating my problem at startup. Thanks for any help

    • Unable to OPEN or UPDATE Defender
      I am in the same boat, ie, unable to update and Defender keeps closing, when I close the computer. It does NOT run every day as I requested either.

      To run a scan took a few hours but 5 & 12 seems excessive, probably the programmes you have running.

      I’d love to be able to keep Defender running all the time and be able to update. Perhaps a Microsoft can tell us why we can’t do these things!

  4. Widows defender not able to update
    Dear Sir,

    I am a licensed user of Vista Home Premium and I was using the Windows Defender besides the McAfee antivirus. Since two weeks the windows defender is not updating its spyware and other malware protection. it reports error code 0x80240016. Would you please advice me. Thank you

  5. WD soooo slow
    Sure am glad I have a good antivirus/antispyware/firewall. If I trusted my resources to your programs, any virus would fry my computer before WD finished scanning !!!

  6. windows defender
    when I do a scan with windows defender, there are entries, which say this may cause unwanted behavior. But on the list, it says it is allowed. How do i disallow this, or remove these items? Most of them say HKEY blah ablah blah. Is this malware?

  7. Windows Defender
    Windows Defender is on my computer; I know because it comes with Windows 7. But recently I reinstalled the operating system (I usually do this twice a year at the end of each school semester), and while I used to be able to open up Windows defender to schedule a scan or other things (I even had a WD icon in my system notification icons area), I no longer can since reinstalling. What’s the deal?

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