Windows Defender is Microsoft’s free antivirus and anti-malware program for Windows, which has been included in the operating system since Windows 8.1 and, with some additional features, since Windows 10. It is designed to protect a PC from wrongful and malicious behavior by malicious programs, such as viruses, spyware, ransomware, and other threats.
Windows Defender needs to be updated regularly in order to keep your system secure and to ensure that it can detect and remove any new threats that appear on the internet. Windows Defender will usually update itself automatically as long as it’s connected to the internet, but there are also some manual ways to update it.
In order to understand how often you should update Windows Defender, it’s important to understand how the automatic updates work. Windows Defender can update itself periodically and will download the latest definitions for the different types of threats it looks for when scanning for malware. This process is known as the Automatic Maintenance feature. Automatic Maintenance is set to run once per day at 2am by default, although you can configure this time if needed. It will check for new virus and threat definitions and, if available, will download and install them.
Since the Automatic Maintenance feature only runs once a day, it’s important to manually update Windows Defender more frequently than that. Microsoft recommends that you manually update Windows Defender at least once a week. This will ensure that your system is up to date with the latest definitions and can help defend against newly discovered threats.
There are a few easy ways to manually update Windows Defender. The simplest way is to open Windows Defender Security Center by typing “Windows Defender” into the search box. Once the interface opens, click on the “Virus and Threat Protection” tab and then click on “Check for Updates”. This will immediately start a scan and download any available updates. Alternatively, you can also manually update Windows Defender using the Command Prompt. Simply open Command Prompt as an administrator and type “wuauclt /detectnow”. This will also begin a scan and download any available updates.
In short, Windows Defender should be updated regularly in order to remain secure and effective. Microsoft recommends that you update it manually at least once a week, though if you’re connected to the internet Windows Defender will check for updates at least once a day. If you have time, it’s also recommended that you manually trigger Windows Defender to check for updates more often so that you can protect yourself from newly discovered threats.