If I have Microsoft Security Essentials do I still need Windows Defender?

Microsoft Security Essentials is a free download for home computers running on the Windows operating system. This software helps protect your computer from viruses, spyware, and other malware.

Windows Defender is built into Windows Vista and Windows 7 and it’s available as a free download for Windows XP. Windows Defender helps protect your computer from spyware and some other potentially unwanted software, but it will not protect against viruses.

In other words, Windows Defender only protects against a subset of known malicious software but Microsoft Security Essentials protects against ALL known malicious software.

If you have Windows Vista or Windows 7 and you install Microsoft Security Essentials, the installation process will automatically disable (but not uninstall) Windows Defender. If you are using Windows XP and you download and install Windows Defender and in addition you want to install Microsoft Security Essentials, you will see a warning to uninstall Windows Defender before completing the installation for Microsoft Security Essentials.

About the Author
Eve Blakemore

Group Manager, Trustworthy Computing

Eve Blakemore is a Group Manager for Trustworthy Computing who delivers consumer guidance around the latest trends in security and privacy. Eve joined Microsoft in 1998 and has worked in corporate and field roles with Microsoft Learning, US Public Sector, Read more »

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1 comments
  1. Anonymous

    I have MSE on my laptop (Vista) and on my desktop (XP). I liked the features in Defender re processes etc. Is there another way of accessing those features?

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