Microsoft Security Essentials

Do I need to pay for antivirus software?

Windows 10 Start Menu

Episode 1556

Kevin from Moreno Valley, CA

Kevin has an old laptop and wants to know if he needs Webroot antivirus. Leo says that back in the day, Webroot was very good. But lately, If he's able to update to Windows 10, Windows has its own antivirus called Windows Defender which is very good. Before Windows 10, Microsoft had Windows Security Essentials. Both are essentially the same, and they're free.

Should I get Windows Defender or Microsoft Security Essentials?

Microsoft Windows Defender

Episode 1395

Gloria from North Hollywood, CA

Gloria uses Windows 7 and she's confused whether she uses Windows Defender or Microsoft Security Essentials. Leo says that for Windows 7, she'll need Security Essentials. But it was renamed to Windows Defender for Windows 10. She can get Microsoft Security Essentials at support.microsoft.com to download it.

How can I protect a Windows XP computer?

Episode 1368

Bernie from Claremont, CA

Bernie has a laptop running Windows XP and use it to run software needed for his shop. He is worried because Microsoft has stopped supporting Windows XP and its respecting software. Leo says that XP isn't being updated either and if you have to be online, not having Windows Defender and Security Essentials is the least of your problems. There currently no new malware for Windows XP but the safest course of action would be to stay off line on that machine completely. The best option is to run Windows XP in Virtual Machine on a more recent laptop running newer versions of Windows.

Should I renew Norton AntiVirus?

Episode 1315

Al from California

Al's Norton Anti Virus is up for renewal. Is there an alternative? Leo says absolutely. Norton is actually making systems less secure, according to many security analysts. Windows' own antivirus, Windows Defender works just fine. Leo doesn't even recommend antivirus software anymore because all too often they cause more trouble than they're worth. The best defense is ultimately the user's behavior. Windows Defender is perfectly adequate, and it comes for free with Windows.

Why doesn't my antivirus work with Windows 10?

Episode 1262

Steve from Yucaipa, CA

Steve got a copy of Sophos antivirus, but it suddenly stopped working after installing Windows 10. Leo says that's because sometimes security software can cause problems with upgrading, and that sounds like what happened. Leo also says that the version of antivirus may also be the issue here. But Leo says that times have changed and he doesn't really recommend antivirus software anymore. Most security experts don't use them. Here are some tips for staying secure online:

Do I need antivirus software for Windows 8?

Episode 1182

James from Fullerton, CA

James has a Sony Vaio with Windows 8 and wants to know if he needs antivirus software. Leo says no. Windows 8 has its own security and antivirus, called Microsoft Defender (or Security Essentials for older Windows programs) that works really well. He can turn up the security in Internet Explorer, but Leo recommends using Google Chrome which is far more secure. Leo also recommends turning on automatic updates. James should also be using a router rather than directly connecting to the modem. But all the security in the world cannot protect the user from their own behavior.

How can I keep my new computer secure online?

Episode 1133

James from Newberry Park, CA

James just bought a new computer and he's concerned that Microsoft Security Essentials won't be good enough. Leo says that Microsoft Security Essentials works just fine, but he will have to keep it updated and constantly patch Windows. If he's not patching Windows with updates, even Essentials won't be able to protect him completely. Other things he can do is:

What's the best free antivirus software?

Episode 1114

Greg from Camarillo, CA

Greg has been using AVG and he's ready to move to another option. Leo says he's not much of a fan of AVG, and instead recommends Microsoft's Security Essentials. Windows 8 doesn't need it since it comes built in as Windows Defender. But for Windows 7, Security Essentials is best. Leo also recommends not running in administrative mode, and he should demote his account to "standard user."