When I saw the news that Microsoft Security Essentials (4.0) had recently been released (see Paul Thurrott’s Microsoft Security Essentials 4.0 blog post for more information and a download link), I quite naturally found myself wondering if MSE and Windows 8 might finally collide. When I first installed the customer preview in late February of 2012, I tried to install MSE 2.0 shortly thereafter, only to have the installer inform me that the program was incompatible with my version of Windows. Thinking that now that MSE developers must surely take cognizance of Windows 8 with the Customer Preview already out, and more releases in the offing for July and October, I tried to install it on my Windows 8 desktop, only to be greeted with this very interesting results window:
You’ll notice that the preceding message include language indicates that Windows 8 essentially includes the same capabilities as MSE 4.0, built into the Defender module whose name is familiar since the days of Windows Vista. Although the Building Windows 8 blog addressed the OSes anti-malware capabilities in a post dated September 15, 2011, it hadn’t dawned on me that Windows 8 includes comprehensive, built-in anti-malware protection right out of the box. But when I saw this message from the MSE 4.0 installer, I started doing my homework, and learned that there’s a lot more to Defender in Windows 8 than there was in either Windows 7 or Vista.
The blog post says it best: “The improvements to Windows 8 Defender will help protect you from all types of malware, including viruses, worms, bots, and rootkits by using the complete set of malware signatures from the Microsoft Malware Protection Center, which Windows Update will deliver regularly with the latest Microsoft antimalware engine.” Also: “…Windows Defender will no provide you with real-time detection and protection from malware threats using a file system filter, and will interface with Windows secured boot, another new Windows 8 protection feature.”
This blog post (“Protecting you from malware“) is worth a (re)-read because it covers Windows 8 anti-malware features and protections pretty comprehensively. I certainly perused it with more interest and attention than I did last year, now that I’m running several systems with the Windows 8 Customer Preview. Maybe I didn’t really need the Norton Internet Security 2012 I installed on my Windows 8 desktop, after all?