Read this in-depth review and comparison between Windows Defender Vs Avast to decide which antivirus solution is better for you:
Whenever Windows OS is installed on a laptop or a computer, we also need to make an important choice regarding the antivirus solution that needs to be installed.
This antivirus can either be downloaded for free or paid versions can be chosen. Most of the users are aware that Windows has a pre-loaded antivirus called Windows Defender. But in spite of this, most users feel the need for additional security against malware and thereby they begin to search for other anti-virus solutions.
What You Will Learn:
Windows Defender Vs Avast – A Comparison
Does it mean that Windows defender is not enough to protect our sensitive data from malware attacks? Do we really need additional security apart from Windows Defender? Are there better solutions available?
In this tutorial, we will find the answers to these questions. We will understand more about Windows Defender and also discuss Avast- which is another antivirus solution that is popular with Windows users. In the end, we will make a neck to neck comparison between these two anti-virus solutions.
Let’s get started by understanding the primary features of Windows Defender and Avast.
Windows Defender is a comprehensive anti-virus solution introduced by Microsoft for the Windows Operating System. At first, it was offered with Windows 7 but it is offered as an inbuilt feature with the latest versions of Windows like Windows 10.
It provides real-time security against malware and virus attacks. It runs in the background and provides users with a basic level of security against viruses. It cannot be removed or uninstalled unless in case an external antivirus product is installed. Let’s look at some of the interesting features of Windows Defender.
Below is a screenshot of Windows Defender Security Center showing the health of the device.
- Firewall: This feature plays an important role in keeping the malware attacks at bay. It keeps a check on all the connections of the network and restricts unapproved entry.
- Updates are automated: Windows Defender has a centralized control and the process of the update does not need the machine to be restarted. Microsoft also has a cloud-based database for malware and therefore the parameters of the software are auto-updated periodically and it is always ready to counter any malware attack.
- Automated scrutiny of files: Windows Defender is quick at detecting all the files for potential malware attacks. This entire process is automated. In case of any potential malware attack, the software or file is deleted and an alert lets the user know that the potential threat has been removed.
- Parental Control: Windows Defender also has a great feature of parental control. It allows keeping a check on the screen time of the child by ensuring a close check on the content which is inappropriate for them. The screen time can also be limited with the help of a timer which is automatic.
- Find My Device: This is a fantastic feature of Windows Defender as it allows users to build a connection with the device in case the machine is lost. It also lets users to either lock access to sensitive data or delete it in the event of the laptop being stolen.
- User-friendly interface: Windows defender is popular for its simplicity. The entire setup process is simple and easy to follow for the users. It is an absolute ‘no hassle’ program as the users do not need to give too many inputs to ensure smooth functioning. Most other anti-virus solutions need some set up initially, but Windows Defender is absolutely ready to use as soon as Windows is installed.
- Resource consumption: The resource consumption for Windows Defender in comparison to many other anti-virus solutions is much lesser. The fact that it is also developed by Microsoft and is an inbuilt feature of Microsoft’s most popular OS – Windows ensures that there is not a lot of burden on the resources of the computer thereby maintaining efficiency.
Much as we would like to agree that the plethora of interesting features and benefits offered by Windows Defender is enough to counter malware and virus attacks. However, there is another side of the coin that we must not ignore.
- Scope of malware detection: It is a fact that Windows Defender has surely been upgraded and improved to detect malware and virus attacks, but its scope is still narrow when compared to the third-party antivirus software. It has proven to be successful against malicious attacks and also provides safety to email and web browser. But, it is not a strong shield against many other attacks like ransomware. Users still have chances of falling prey to many other types of attacks. It is not a comprehensive solution for security against attacks but can be used for first-level security.
- Unavailability of unified alerts: This is a major drawback of Windows Defender. Users do not have an option to refer to any details or results of any previous scans. The absence of details of scans done in the past can leave users unaware of threats that they are protected against or even vulnerable to new threats.
- Manual updates required for new definitions: This is yet another limitation of Windows Defender where the latest definitions of the virus have to be manually downloaded from Windows update as against the case with other anti-virus solutions where the process of update runs in the background and happens on its own. Sometimes, this process of update takes place multiple times in a day thereby ensuring protection against new threats.
- Simplicity at the cost of variety: While it is agreed that Windows Defender is a simple to set up and use the program, it lacks the customization option which is preferred by many users to ensure all-round protection.
- Speed of Scanning: The speed of scanning for Windows Defender on a computer is average but it loses a mark when compared with other anti-virus solutions. In comparison to other anti-virus programs, it is slow in scanning for malware.
Official Website: Microsoft
Now that we have looked at some of the advantages and disadvantages of Windows Defender, we must look at another anti-virus solution that gives close competition to Windows Defender. The product is none other than Avast.
Avast is an anti-virus solution that is available for Operating systems like Windows, Android, and Mac. It is developed by Avast Software and is available for free for users who want to use it for personal use.
It is a myth that anti-virus solutions that are available for free do not provide end-to-end protection and can only be used as a stop-gap arrangement.
Avast is one solution that bursts this myth. It is capable of giving neck to neck competition to many of its paid competitors with a wide range of features that it is loaded with.
Apart from Avast free antivirus, available as a free anti-virus solution, Avast offers a plethora of other versions (which are paid of course) that are loaded with features offering comprehensive protection against malware. Let’s look at some of these products and their pricing.
#1) Avast Internet Security
This package provides complete security against malware along with offering protection against all external threats. Along with this, it also has an email filter that defends against phishing attacks by securing mails from spam, junk, and other emails sent by unknown sources.
One important feature of this package is Sandbox. This feature provides a secure environment for running those apps and files which can be a potential threat to the safety of the system.
Price: $47.99 per year.
#2) Avast Premier
This product includes all the features of advanced security which Avast Internet Security along with a great feature of file shredder lets the users permanently trash any such files that are sensitive and can be at risk of getting hacked.
This premier package also includes webcam protection software that prevents any act of spying through a webcam.
Price: Can range from $69.99 per year (for one device) to $89.99 per year (for multiple devices).
#3) Avast Ultimate
This is the most premium offering from Avast. This product is an all-inclusive product that provides the utmost level of security with all the features included in Avast Internet Security and Avast Premier.
Some of the high-end features of this product include a password manager where the users can save passwords and a VPN utility that lets users get access to content that is not permissible in certain geographical regions.
Apart from this, in case the system slows down, it also has Avast cleanup which is capable of deleting junk and spam files.
Price: $99.99 per year.
These products and their features are summarized in the below table.
- Price: Avast security solution is available for free for regular users, however, the premium packages are paid versions of the software.
- Multifunction Security: Avast provides all-round security against malware, virus, and a lot of threats which are possible on the internet and this is not all! It also detects potential threats much before its entry into the devices.
- User friendly: Avast is very simple in terms of usage and navigation and can be used on many types of devices.
- Resource consumption: Avast software promises low consumption of resources of the device.
- Levels of scanning: Avast is particularly popular for its multiple levels of scanners that ensure scanning of viruses and malware.
The below image shows the level or shields of the Avast anti-virus solution.
While we agree that Avast has some great promising benefits, it also comes with a few limitations. Let’s look at some of its limitations.
- Low Virus Detection Rate: This is one of the major limitations of Avast antivirus software. The detection rate for Avast has never been more than 60%. This leaves the users vulnerable to 40% of the threats that have not been noticed. In the case of rootkits (which are damaging parts impacting the computer’s operating system) and zero-day exploits (fast-spreading damaging computer virus infection), its low detection rate poses a serious limitation.
- Upgrade Requests: Avast users face issues with repeated pop-ups for an upgrade. The speed of scanning for Avast is also slower when compared to many other anti-virus solutions.
- Level of Security Offered: Avast is a free anti-virus solution, it offers a primary level of shielding from malware and virus threats. This, when coupled with a lower rate of detection of malware proves to be a major limitation of Avast.
Official Website: Avast
With the advantages and disadvantages of the two most popular names in the world of computer security i.e. Windows Defender and Avast, it may be a difficult choice for users to make if one of them is to be chosen.
To make things easier, for our readers given below is a comprehensive comparison table between Windows Defender and Avast free.
Avast Free Vs Windows Defender
|Point of Comparison||Windows Defender||Avast|
|Price||Available with Windows Operating System. No additional cost for any upgrade is applicable. No paid versions are available.||Free for personal use. Premium package is paid version. $47.99 per year for Avast Internet Security. Offers both free and paid versions|
|Resource Consumption||Low in comparison to many other anti- virus solutions||Has low consumption of resources|
|Features||Includes basic features of protection||Loaded with advanced features for protection|
|System Performance||System performance is impacted more as compared to other anti- virus solutions.||Does not influence the performance of the system or make it slow.|
|User interface||Can be improved. Not very simple. Software needs to be launched before Windows Defender Security Center can be accessed.||Extremely simple navigation even for users with no computer proficiency|
|Compatibility and Availability||Available on Windows only.||Most versions are available for Windows only. For Mac users, Mac Avast Security Pro. It is compatible with Windows, Android and Mac.|
|Malware detection score||Scored 6 on 6 in protection test conducted by AV -comparatives||Scored 5.5 on 6 in protection test conducted by AV -comparatives|
|Advertisement||No Ad pop-ups while using||Repeated Ad and pop-up to upgrade to premium version|
|User suitability||Advisable for users spending less time on online browsing and with not very important data on the computer||Advisable for users spending more time on internet and browsing and with more important data on the computer|
|Support||Support available is limited||Premium support is available|
|Wi Fi Protection||Not available||Available. Sends immediate notifications if connected to a unguarded network|
|Email client protection||Available but will work only on Microsoft’s product like Outlook||Available without restrictions for all browsers and email clients|
|Password Manager||Not Available||Available|
|Installation||No process of Installation. Ready to use as soon as Windows is installed||Process of Installation needs to be followed.|
Let’s also look at some of the frequently asked questions about Windows Defender vs Avast.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q #1) Is Windows Defender better than Avast?
Answer: AV- comparatives conducted tests and the results showed that while the detection rate for Windows Defender was 99.5%, Avast anti-virus led by detecting 100% of malware.
Avast also has a lot of advanced features that are not available on Windows Defender. These are the reasons that clearly give Avast an edge over Windows Defender.
Q #2) Can Avast slow down PC?
Answer: Yes, most antivirus solutions use the power of the CPU to perform and this can make the system slow.
Q #3) Is Windows Defender enough to protect systems?
Answer: Windows Defender is popular for providing the basic level of protection against malware and viruses. For users who spend more time on internet browsing and with more important data on the computer, it is advisable to opt for anti-virus solutions like Avast that are loaded with advanced features.
Q #4) Is Windows Defender free?
Answer: Yes, Windows Defender is a free anti-virus solution integrated with the Windows Operating System.
Q #5) Is Avast safe to use?
Answer: Avast is a popular anti-virus software available for Operating systems like Windows, Android, and Mac. Even its free version is loaded with a lot of advanced features that are similar to those available on many other paid anti-virus solutions. So, yes, Avast is a safe option to combat malware.
In this tutorial, we discussed two major players in the world of computer security i.e. Avast vs Windows Defender. We explained the benefits and limitations of both – Windows Defender and Avast and also made a comparison for both these anti-virus solutions under the heading – Avast free Vs Windows Defender.
While making a smart choice for anti-virus solutions, it is advisable that the users understand their requirements well. Both Windows Defender and Avast are close competitors and therefore a thorough understanding of their respective features and limitations will surely help to make a wise choice.