It has been almost two years now that Microsoft’s latest version of Windows, that is Windows 11, is present in the market with a fairly good market share. This time, with new features, which I will not get deep into, Microsoft also promises better security with Windows 11. Talking about security, Microsoft revamped its Windows Defender with a new branding, i.e. Windows Security, and it can technically double up as an antivirus software.
So, if you have Windows 11, is it the time to bid adieu to paid and recurring antivirus subscriptions or those free ones with irritating ads?
Well as you might have already understood, the answer to the question is not as simple as a simple yes or no, and hence I will discuss, does Windows 11 need an antivirus, if Windows Security is up and running on your system.
Without any further delay, let’s get into whether you need antivirus software for your Windows 11 computer.
Windows Security features at a glance
But before getting started, let’s first have a look at the key features of Windows Security. That way it will be easier to understand whether it is enough and can compete with a full-fledged antivirus software.
Ability to detect malware
One of the most basic abilities of an antivirus or anti-malware program is to successfully detect any potentially harmful malware like ransomware, spyware, viruses, trojans, etc., and quarantine it, or at least block its activities on your operating system. Windows Security can detect any harmful malware within your file system, apps, emails, on the internet or cloud and quarantine it, or let the user review or delete the infected file later.
Research-based protection onboard
Malware keeps getting stronger every day, and hence, Windows Security comes with protection against the latest and greatest threats. Microsoft uses in-depth research, machine learning, data analysis, and the power of AI to detect and track malware behavior, which in the long run strengthens the overall malware-detection algorithm and can detect malware based on behavior or existing threats.
Protection from blackhat guys with real-time protection
There are numerous instances when hackers get total control over a system through guesswork, or by running some codes to get remote access to a system. Windows Security comes with real-time protection that can detect such activities, and hence isolate your device from the network to safeguard your data against any potential attack.
Parents have more control
With children requiring access to the internet for online classes, and other reasons, parents should know what their kids are up to, and thus, Windows Security comes with a parental control suite. This helps the parents see what their children are doing. Parents can also be sure that their system is not getting infected by any sort of malware when their kids are using the system, and all the digital records are easily accessible to the family members in the dashboard for easy and effective supervision.
Compatible with other antivirus programs too
While this is the topic of our discussion today, you always have the freedom to install and use any antivirus program of your choice, and then Windows Security will be available in passive mode. Windows Security will neither stop third-party antivirus programs from functioning, nor the third-party antivirus programs will act up if Windows Security is active. So, Windows Security is compatible with other antivirus programs, as well.
The shortcomings, where other antivirus programs shine
Now that you have an idea of the features that Windows Security has to offer, it is evident that in terms of features, Windows Security has almost all the features a premium antivirus program has to offer, except a few additional benefits, which I will discuss shortly. Let’s now get into whether or not you need an antivirus program for your Windows 11 computer, with Windows Security onboard.
Peeping deep into malware detection
Well, Windows Security can be great if you are looking for basic protection for your Windows computer. Say, for example, you use your computer only to visit some of the popular websites, or use your computer for work, and hence visit only a handful of websites, Windows Security is enough for you. I will explain why, in the upcoming points.
It can detect most malware, and in the tests carried out by security researchers has found Windows Security to be a great antivirus program in terms of detecting malware. However, there were some cases of false positives, which means some risk-free websites were blocked, and some programs that weren’t infected were detected as malware.
But despite all that, the detection rate still can’t compete with other popular antivirus programs in the market.
Limitations with online protection
To get the best of Windows Security, you must use Microsoft products. When it comes to online protection, you must use Microsoft Edge to get full protection. In the case you use other popular web browsers like Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, protection will be limited. Most users aren’t informed of this fact, and when they come to know it, it is already too late.
Phishing sites are infamous for capturing personal information from users, and Windows Security isn’t holding a good track record to detect such sites either. Other browsers like Chrome and Firefox are better in terms of detecting phishing sites and hence can be considered more secure than Microsoft Edge backed by Windows Security.
The same goes for parental controls. If your child is using any other web browser, the parental control settings won’t cater to you.
Limited DNS filtering
DNS filtering is an effective tool to block malicious websites, and this feature is available in Windows Security with a serious catch. Yes, you got it. DNS filtering is only available if you use Microsoft Edge as your regular browser. If you use Google Chrome or any other Chromium-based web browser, Microsoft Defender Browser Protection can be useful, but it is not a full-fledged solution.
If you want to get DNS filtering on other browsers beyond the Chromium products, you have to upgrade to a business version of Windows 11, which is not the go-to solution for retail users.
No automatic scan for external USB devices
USB thumb drives are getting redundant, no doubt about that, but if you use them, you have to manually scan those USB drives, which is something most other antivirus programs do automatically. While there are different scanning options like Quick scan, Full scan, Customized scan to scan specific items, and an offline scan, the ability to automatically scan USB drives is a serious limitation for users who use these devices regularly.
No VPN, Password Manager
It is not that a VPN and a password manager is a mandatory add-on with any antivirus software. But most antivirus software these days has made it mainstream these days by offering either of the two, or both. While most VPN services that come bundled with antivirus software are not extraordinary in terms of speeds, they can at least encrypt your traffic on the go, or while you use an open Wi-Fi.
Cleans up system cleaner but
Well, if you often use your antivirus program to clean up junk on your system, that option is not available on Windows Security, however, PC Manager is available for Windows 11, and thus there’s hardly anything to complain about. You have to download PC Manager as a separate software, but even if you use antivirus software on your Windows computer, you have to download the installer, as well, and hence, you can combine Windows Security and PC Manager to clean your system and get a boost.
So, those were some serious limitations of counting on Windows Security for complete protection of your system. However, that doesn’t mean it is a worthless product.
Who is it for
Requirements vary, and as I said in the beginning, if you use your computer to visit only a few websites, and you mostly rely on Microsoft products like Microsoft Edge for surfing the web, Windows Security is a great option as most users won’t go a step ahead and download Google Chrome or any other web browser. For such users, it doesn’t matter whether they are getting a free VPN and Password Manager.
Who is it not for
However, if you are a power user, use the internet extensively, and try out new programs, web browsers, etc., you should get a paid antivirus program. Even if it is not paid, a free antivirus can also do, provided it is offering the protection that you need, and it is not just limited to protecting you while you are sticking to a handful of web browsers and software out there. Moreover, due to the user interface, things might not be available on Windows Security the way they are available on other antivirus programs, which again is a drawback for power users.
Hope you now have a clear idea of whether you need antivirus software for Windows 11 when Windows Security is already there. Do you have any questions? Feel free to comment on the same below.