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Out of habit I just downloaded Avira to my new WIn7 computer and during install it told me Windows Defender was present and running the two together may lead to problems.

Which reminded me about Windows Defender (had forgotten about it).

Given that I use a non-admin account for 99% of operations, is WinDef good enough? Or should I still make use of a third-party AV solution?

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up vote 9 down vote accepted

I'd recommend using Microsoft Security Essentials if you want something basic. It is very easy to configure, and labeled as a replacement for Windows Live OneCare as well as Windows Defender. It is also free.

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Does this slow the machine down at all? Even slightly? I don't bother with AV software, as I just never get viruses (last bit of malware I got was some weird IE toolbar back around 2002). I just do the occasional online scan. I might run this for a little bit of extra security if there is no penalty. – paradroid Sep 29 '10 at 23:56
@jason404: I use it and have noticed no performance loss since installing. Lightest AV product I've ever used. – Sasha Chedygov Sep 30 '10 at 0:03
@musicfreak: Thanks, I just installed it. At first glance it seems as lightweight as Defender, so I might as well use this instead. – paradroid Sep 30 '10 at 0:18

I use Microsoft Security Essentials because its "good enough" and it's much lighter on resources than the previous commercial products I was using.

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Taking a slightly cynical view - it wouldn't be in Microsoft's best interests to have an anti-virus product that didn't detect as many viruses as possible.

Given that it is produced by Microsoft it might have better hooks into the operating system that some of the others, but on balance I'd say that it is probably "good enough" for everyday use.

My personal view is that most anti-virus software is pretty much interchangeable and you find the one that offers you the features you want - minimal footprint, customised scans etc. BTW, I use Avast.

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