It’s historic. It’s amazing. After all these decades, Microsoft has finally built free antivirus software right into Windows. Thanks to Defender, you have no more excuse not to protect your PC. The X on the system-tray nag flag (), complaining that your PC is unprotected, will go away.
Most new PCs come with aggressive, in-your-face trial versions of commercial antivirus programs like Norton and McAfee—programs that require an annual fee forever. Those companies may not like it, but you don’t need them. Windows Defender does a perfectly good job, and you already have it.
But to pacify the Nortons and McAfees of the world, Microsoft agreed to let PC companies ship new PCs with Defender turned off. So if you want Defender to defend you, you should (a) uninstall the Norton or McAfee trial version so it’ll quit bugging you, and then promptly (b) turn Defender on. To do that, open Windows Defender as described in Figure 14-1; you’ll see the big, red “Turn on” button staring you in the face on the Home tab.
The antivirus portion of this program used to be called Microsoft Security Essentials, and you had to download it separately. (Security Essentials no longer works in Windows 8, but of course you don’t need it now.) There was something called Windows Defender in Windows 7, but it protected you only from spyware, not from viruses. In Windows 8, Defender protects ...