The Malicious Safety OneCare Essential Defender: Straightening out Microsoft's confusing security tools

Microsoft has released a confusing selection of security programs over the years. Deborah Armstrong asked me to make sense of them.

By Lincoln Spector, PC World |  Security, Microsoft

Malware Prevention Diagnostic Tool: An entirely different kind of scanner. Instead of looking for malware, it checks how you've configured Windows and offers to fix settings that can be exploited by the bad guys.

Windows Defender: The renamed Microsoft AntiSpyware. It comes with Vista and Windows 7, but is usually turned off.

Windows Defender Offline:  Another bootable scanner. Microsoft Standalone System Sweeper's replacement.

Microsoft Security Essentials: Microsoft's free antivirus program. As these programs go, Essentials is one of the easiest to use. But it's not the best at catching malware.

Windows Defender--the Windows 8 version: Like the two Windows before it, version 8 comes with Windows Defender. But this time, it uses the same antimalware engine as Security Essentials. In other words, it's a real antivirus program, but probably not one of the most effective.


Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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