Does Windows 10 Need Antivirus Protection?

Going without antivirus protection could put you at risk

For many years, Windows users had to immediately install antivirus software or else it wouldn't be long before the computer would be infected with malicious software. So does Windows 10 need antivirus protection? The short answer is, yes.

Why Isn't Windows Defender Good Enough?

Windows 10 now provides built-in security in the form of Windows Defender, which includes both an antivirus and a firewall component.

Windows Defender main screen

Many people opt out of installing third-party firewall software and only use Windows Defender. But is that really the best option?

According to a study conducted by AV Comparatives, Windows Defender antivirus for Windows 10 performed well overall but fell short in a few important areas.

  • It fell behind the industry average in preventing zero-day attacks.
  • It caused more false positives (identifying valid software as malicious).
  • It slows down legitimate software more than other apps.
  • It has no password manager.
  • It has limited customization compared to other antivirus software.

Overcoming Windows 10 Security Issues

Many times, the companies that sell antivirus software are faster at issuing patches for zero-day vulnerabilities than Microsoft itself is.

They also include file and app scanning features that protect you when you accidentally download infected files or applications from the internet.

An antivirus warning alert
Rawf8 / Getty Images

In addition to installing antivirus software on your Windows 10 PC, the following actions can further help protect you against malicious software and hacking attacks.

Install Disk Encryption Software

There are many excellent full disk encryption apps for Windows 10. Choose one and use it on your system for full privacy in case your computer gets stolen.

Enable Windows Updates

Select the Start menu, type Windows Updates, and select Windows Update Settings. Select Advanced Options and Enable Automatically download updates. This setting ensures your system always receives the latest updates and patches.

Be Cautious With Downloads

Only download and install software from trusted companies. If you do need to install free software, make sure to do your research and read reviews.

These manual actions, as well as installing good antivirus software on top of using Windows Defender, will ensure that your Windows 10 system is as secure as possible against all threats.

The Best Antivirus for Windows 10

Windows Defender offers good, free protection against viruses and malware, but your Windows 10 computer has security needs where Windows Defender falls short.

For full protection from malicious software, you need antivirus software with all of the following features that are lacking in Windows Defender. This means that even if you use Windows Defender, you should install additional antivirus protection that has all of the following features.

  • Excellent protection against zero-day attacks
  • Scanning of file downloads
  • Automatic system scans
  • Customization options
  • Web browsing protection
  • Privacy features

There are a number of highly-rated free antivirus programs that provide most if not all of these features.

AVG is particularly useful because you can download a free version of AVG that offers excellent protection for your PC.

AVG Free Antivirus software screen

Once you install antivirus software on your computer system, you'll notice that Windows Defender recognizes it and incorporates it into the overall protection scheme for your system.

Windows Defender running alongside antivirus software

If you select Windows Defender Antivirus options, you can also enable periodic scanning to have Windows Defender continue scanning your computer for any threats that your antivirus software may have missed.

There are a lot of reasons antivirus for Windows 10 is necessary, but following all of the tips above will ensure that your system is well protected against any security threats.

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