What is the difference between Windows Defender and Microsoft Security Essentials?

Windows Defender and Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) are two anti-malware products developed by Microsoft. Both are designed to provide protection from malicious software such as viruses, trojans, malware, and spyware. Each product is intended to be used in conjunction with other software such as antivirus scanners and firewall systems.

So, what’s the difference between Windows Defender and Microsoft Security Essentials?

The main difference between the two products is their scope of protection. Windows Defender is a “baseline” security system which is built into the Windows operating system and is available to all Windows users. It includes protection from malware, spyware, rootkits, as well as protection from phishing schemes, malicious websites and more. It provides basic protection, which is sufficient for most home users. However, for those needing more robust security, Microsoft Security Essentials provides an enhanced level of protection beyond what is offered by Windows Defender.

Microsoft Security Essentials is a full-fledged anti-malware suite, providing protection against viruses, worms, Trojans, and other malicious programs. It also scans for rootkits, and blocks malicious websites, phishing schemes, and other potentially dangerous online activities. MSE additionally offers real-time protection, which means it will scan any files that are accessed or downloaded, ensuring that they are free from malicious software. In addition, MSE also offers cloud-based protection to help protect against security threats that might be difficult for traditional anti-virus scanners to detect.

Another significant difference is the way in which the two programs interact with the user. Windows Defender is designed to run largely in the background, providing basic protection without user intervention. Microsoft Security Essentials, on the other hand, is designed to be much more user-friendly, providing clear and simple settings that allow users to configure the level of protection they need.

The final major difference between Windows Defender and Microsoft Security Essentials is the price. Windows Defender is a free program, while Microsoft Security Essentials requires a one-time purchase of $39.99 and an annual subscription fee.

In conclusion, the primary difference between Windows Defender and Microsoft Security Essentials is the scope of protection they offer. Windows Defender provides basic protection against malware, while Microsoft Security Essentials serves as a comprehensive anti-malware suite. Additionally, MSE is easier to configure and provides real-time scanning capabilities, but requires a one-time purchase and annual subscription fee. Ultimately, it is up to the user to decide which product is best for their particular needs.