Does Windows Defender replace antivirus software?

No, Windows Defender does not replace antivirus software. Windows Defender is an antimalware program built into Microsoft Windows 8 and later versions of the operating system. It is designed to help protect users from malicious threats on the internet, including spyware, viruses, rootkits, and other malware.

Windows Defender is intended to supplement traditional antivirus software, not replace it. The program is better suited to providing basic protection against threats that have already been identified by the security industry, rather than those that are new and unknown. It has a much smaller database of threats than most antivirus programs, and is generally considered to be less comprehensive in its coverage.

When Windows Defender is enabled, it will scan for viruses, spyware, and other malware, and alert the user if any threats are found. It can also periodically scan the system for malicious code, and provide real-time protection against new threats as they emerge.

Despite its limitations, Windows Defender can still offer some degree of protection, and can be a useful tool in certain situations. For example, if a computer is running Windows XP, the operating system’s end of life is approaching and new security updates are no longer available, it may be beneficial to run Windows Defender alongside a more comprehensive third-party solution. Additionally, it can be used as a backup to traditional antivirus software, to provide additional layers of defense.

In short, Windows Defender does not offer full protection against all threats. It should not be relied upon as a sole source of security, but instead used as an additional layer of protection when combined with other security tools and practices. Traditional antivirus software should still be installed, updated, and regularly used to ensure the best protection possible.