What is the difference between Windows Defender and antivirus software?

Windows Defender and antivirus software are both tools used to protect computers from malicious software, such as viruses, worms, and other forms of malware. However, there are key differences between the two that must be considered in order to determine which is the best choice for a particular system or user.

Windows Defender is an in-built security feature included with Microsoft Windows, and is designed to protect a computer from malicious software such as viruses and spyware. It can provide real-time protection by scanning incoming files and emails for any malicious code, and it also offers the ability to scan a system on a regular basis or on demand.

In terms of features and functionality, Windows Defender is significantly more limited than most antivirus programs. For example, it does not include parental control features, which are available in many antivirus programs, or the ability to back up your files or perform web protection or data encryption. Furthermore, Windows Defender is not able to detect some of the newer forms of malicious software, such as ransomware.

Antivirus software, on the other hand, is a type of computer software that is specifically designed to detect and remove malicious software. Most antivirus programs provide much more comprehensive protection than Windows Defender, including the ability to detect and remove new forms of malware such as ransomware. In addition, many of these programs also provide additional features such as parental controls, web protection, file backup, and data encryption.

In terms of cost, Windows Defender is completely free, since it is included with Microsoft Windows. Antivirus software, however, can range from being completely free to costing several hundred dollars depending on the chosen product.

Overall, Windows Defender provides a basic level of protection against malicious software, but its features and capabilities are often limited compared to those found in most antivirus programs. If you are looking for comprehensive protection, then it is recommended to use an antivirus program; however, if you are looking for a free solution or a very basic level of protection, then Windows Defender should be sufficient.