What can I do to keep Windows Defender up-to-date?

Windows Defender is a powerful tool from Microsoft that provides protection from viruses, spyware and other malware. Keeping your Windows Defender up-to-date is an important part of your overall security program. Here are a few tips to help keep your Windows Defender installation up-to-date:

1. Set Windows Update to Automatically Install Updates

Ensure that Windows Update is set to automatically download and install updates. This will ensure that all critical security and bug fix updates will be automatically downloaded and installed by Windows in the background. To check that Windows Update is set to install updates automatically, go to Start > Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update. Make sure that the “Give me updates for other Microsoft products when I update Windows” option is checked.

2. Install the Latest Windows Defender Definition Files

The Windows Defender definitions are files that allow Windows Defender to recognize and remove computer viruses, spyware, rootkits, and other malicious software. Microsoft regularly releases new definition files that contain the latest information about known threats and how to detect and remove them. It’s important to make sure you regularly install the latest Windows Defender definition files to protect against the latest threats.

To install the latest Windows Defender definition files:

• Run Windows Defender
• Click the ‘Update’ tab
• Select ‘Check for updates’
• When prompted, choose the ‘Download updates’ option
• The latest definition files will now be downloaded

3. Scan Your System

Once you’ve ensured that Windows Defender is up-to-date with the latest definitions, it’s also important to scan your system to detect and remove any existing malware or viruses. To scan your system with Windows Defender:

• Run Windows Defender
• Click the ‘Scan’ tab
• Select ‘Full scan’
• Depending on the size of your hard disk, this scan may take a while

4. Monitor Your Network Connection

Using a firewall or intrusion prevention system to monitor and detect unauthorized network connections can also help keep your Windows Defender up-to-date. These security systems can alert you if someone attempts to gain access to your computer via the internet or a local network.

Additionally, using two-factor authentication for remote access to your computer and home network can help prevent unauthorized access, even if someone does manage to get past your firewall.

5. Disable Third-Party Software

Third-party software can often add unnecessary complexity to your system, which can interfere with the ability of Windows Defender to update itself and detect and remove malware. This includes antivirus software, Internet browsers, and other applications. To ensure that Windows Defender can work properly, it’s strongly recommended that you uninstall any third-party software that you no longer need.

If you do need to use an additional security program, make sure that it is compatible with Windows Defender and is regularly updated with the latest definitions.

6. Check for Malware

Periodically checking your computer for malware can help prevent infections and other security threats. Regularly performing a full system scan with Windows Defender is a good way to ensure that your system is free of malware. Additionally, you can use other antimalware tools such as MalwareBytes to regularly scan your system and remove any malicious software.

7. Be Careful With Your Online Activity

Staying safe online is an important part of keeping your Windows Defender up-to-date. Avoid downloading files from unknown sources, clicking on links from untrustworthy websites, or opening email attachments from strangers. These activities can expose your system to malware and compromise the security of your computer.


Keeping Windows Defender up-to-date is an essential part of maintaining a secure system. By following the tips above, you can ensure that your Windows Defender installation is current and able to detect and remove the latest threats.