The Best Windows 10 Antivirus Software for Total Virus Protection

The Best Windows 10 Antivirus Software for Total Virus Protection

Windows Security Features and Capabilities

Windows Security Overview

Windows 10 and 11 come with built-in Windows Security, providing users with the latest antivirus protection. As soon as you start your device, Windows Security actively scans for malware, viruses, and other security threats. It also automatically downloads updates to ensure your device is constantly protected and secure. If you are a Microsoft 365 Family or Personal subscriber, you also have access to Microsoft Defender, an advanced security software for multiple operating systems. Windows 10 or 11 in S mode offers streamlined security, automatically preventing viruses and other threats from running on your device.
However, it is important to note that the Virus & threat protection area in S mode has fewer options available.

Real-time Protection and Updates

Windows Security provides real-time protection, continuously monitoring your device for any threats. It scans files, downloads, and programs in real-time, preventing any malicious content from causing harm. The software checks for the latest security updates through Windows Update to keep your device safe from evolving threats. It is important to have real-time protection enabled to ensure constant safeguarding against viruses and malware.

Understand and Customize Windows Security Features

Windows Security offers several features to manage the security of your device and data. These features include:

Virus & threat protection

This feature allows you to monitor threats to your device, run scans, and receive updates to detect the latest threats. It provides options for quick scans, full scans, and custom scans. In Windows 10 or 11 in S mode, some of these options may be unavailable due to streamlined security.

Account protection

Access sign-in options and account settings, including Windows Hello and dynamic lock. These features help enhance the security of your user account and protect your data.

Firewall & network protection

Manage firewall settings and monitor network activity to protect your device from unauthorized access and potential threats.

App & browser control

This feature allows you to update settings for Microsoft Defender SmartScreen, which protects your device against potentially dangerous apps, files, sites, and downloads. It also provides exploit protection and allows you to customize protection settings for your devices.

Device security

Review built-in security options to protect your device from attacks by malicious software. This feature ensures that your device is equipped with the necessary defenses to prevent and mitigate security threats.

Device performance & health

View status information about your device’s performance and health. This includes information about system updates, device storage, and battery health. It also allows you to take necessary actions to optimize your device’s performance.

Family options

If you have a family setup, this feature allows you to keep track of your kids’ online activity and manage the devices in your household for better security.

To customize and manage these Windows Security features, navigate to Start > Settings > Update & Security > Windows Security.
Alternatively, you can open the Windows Security settings directly by clicking here.

Manual Malware Scans and Advanced Options

Run a malware scan manually

If you suspect a specific file or folder on your local device, you can right-click on it in File Explorer and select “Scan with Microsoft Defender.” This action triggers an immediate scan of the selected file or folder to check for malware.

To run a quick scan in Windows Security:

  1. Select Start > Settings > Update & Security > Windows Security.
  2. Navigate to Virus & threat protection.
  3. Under Current threats, select Quick scan (or Scan now in early versions of Windows 10).

If the scan detects no issues but you remain concerned, you can perform a more thorough scan.

Run an advanced scan in Windows Security

To perform an advanced scan in Windows Security:

  1. Select Start > Settings > Update & Security > Windows Security.
  2. Go to Virus & threat protection.
  3. Under Current threats, select Scan options (or Run a new advanced scan in early versions of Windows 10).
  4. Choose one of the following scan options:
    • Full scan: This option checks all files and programs currently on your device.
    • Custom scan: Allows you to scan specific files or folders of your choice.
    • Microsoft Defender Offline scan: This option restarts your computer and performs a deep scan before Windows loads. It is particularly effective against sneaky malware.

Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the scan.

Schedule and Customize Scanning

Schedule a scan

Windows Security allows you to schedule automatic scans to ensure regular protection. To schedule a scan:

  1. Select the Start button and type “schedule tasks” in the Search box.
  2. In the list of results, select Task Scheduler.
  3. Expand Task Scheduler Library, Microsoft, Windows Defender folders.
  4. Select Windows Defender Scheduled Scan from the list of tasks.
  5. In the Actions pane on the right, select Properties.
  6. In the window that opens, go to the Triggers tab and select New.
  7. Set your preferred time and frequency and select OK.
  8. Review the schedule and select OK to save your changes.

This scheduling feature allows you to customize when and how often the scans occur, ensuring consistent protection for your device.

Turn Microsoft Defender Antivirus real-time protection on or off

There may be instances where you may temporarily need to turn off real-time protection.
However, it is essential to note that while real-time protection is off, files you open or download will not be scanned for threats. Follow these steps to turn off real-time protection:

  1. Select Start > Settings > Update & Security > Windows Security.
  2. Navigate to Virus & threat protection > Manage settings.
  3. Switch the Real-time protection setting to Off and select Yes to verify.

Remember that real-time protection will automatically turn back on after a short period of time to ensure continuous protection for your device.

Status icons and their meaning

In Windows Security, status icons provide valuable information about the safety of your device. These icons indicate your level of safety as follows:
Green: No recommended actions are required at the moment.

  • Yellow: Safety recommendations are available for you to consider.
  • Red: A warning that necessitates immediate attention.

Keep an eye on these icons to stay informed about the security status of your device.

Best Antivirus Software Options for Windows 10

Top antivirus software for Windows 10

When it comes to selecting antivirus software for Windows 10, several options provide effective protection against malware and other threats. Here are some top recommendations:

  1. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus: This software offers excellent malware protection, a password manager, VPN, and ransomware rollback.
  2. Kaspersky Anti-Virus: Known for its top-notch malware protection, limited VPN, and ransomware rollback.
  3. Norton AntiVirus Plus: Features excellent malware protection, backup software, and an unlimited password manager.
  4. ESET NOD32 Antivirus: Offers very good protection with minimal impact on system performance.
  5. McAfee AntiVirus Plus: Provides good malware protection for multiple devices at an affordable rate.
  6. Trend Micro Antivirus+ Security: Offers good malware protection at a budget-friendly price.

These antivirus software options cater to different user needs and budgets.

Considerations for choosing antivirus software

When selecting antivirus software for Windows 10, it is essential to keep several factors in mind:
Effectiveness: Look for software that offers excellent malware protection and can identify both known and unknown threats without generating false positives.

  • System resources: Ensure that the software does not overly tax your PC’s resources, causing performance issues.
  • Cost and discounts: Consider the pricing structure of the antivirus software and look for discounts or subscription options that suit your budget.
  • Privacy: Review the privacy policies of the antivirus software to understand how they handle and protect your personal information.
  • Multi-platform protection: If you use multiple devices, consider antivirus software that provides protection across various operating systems.

These considerations will help you make an informed decision when choosing the best antivirus software for Windows 10.

Pricing, discounts, and privacy considerations

While pricing for antivirus software can vary, it is important to be aware of any introductory pricing offers. Some providers may offer lower prices initially but increase the subscription fees substantially after the initial period. Always review the terms of the subscription plan before purchasing to avoid any surprises when your subscription renews.
Additionally, check for any discounts available on the company’s website or other platforms. Privacy is also a crucial consideration, so read the privacy policies of the antivirus software to ensure your personal information is adequately protected.


How does Microsoft Defender protect my computer?

Microsoft Defender provides real-time protection against malware, viruses, and security threats. It continuously scans your device, files, and downloads to prevent any malicious content from causing harm. Microsoft Defender also receives regular updates to stay up-to-date with the latest threats, ensuring your computer is protected.

Is Microsoft Defender free to use for Windows 10?

Yes, Microsoft Defender is a free antivirus software included with Windows 10. It offers essential protection against malware and security threats, and it is continuously updated through Windows Update.

What are the advantages of using Microsoft Defender?

Some advantages of using Microsoft Defender include real-time protection, automatic updates, and seamless integration with Windows 10. As a built-in antivirus software, it provides excellent protection against malware without the need for third-party software. Microsoft Defender also offers a user-friendly interface and customization options to meet individual security needs.

How does Microsoft Defender receive updates?

Microsoft Defender receives updates through Windows Update. These updates include the latest security intelligence to detect and protect against evolving threats. Regular updates ensure that your device remains safeguarded against new and emerging malware and viruses.

Remember to regularly check for updates by going to Virus & threat protection in Windows Security and selecting Check for updates to maintain the highest level of protection.

Please note that the information provided in this article is a summary based on the sources provided and may not cover all aspects of Windows 10 virus protection and antivirus software. It is always recommended to refer to official sources and conduct additional research to make informed decisions about your device’s security.

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