Sidebar Geek

My experience with Windows Vista. Windows Sidebar and Microsoft Gadgets.

Feature Preview: Windows Defender

Late this year, Microsoft announced a name change for Windows Antispyware - now called Windows Defender. Windows Defender will become available to users of Windows XP SP2 and will be built into the next version of Windows - Windows Vista. Users got their first peak at Windows Defender with the December CTP of Windows Vista, Build 5270.

Screenshot: Introducing Windows Defender

As you can see in the above screenshot, Windows Defender comes with a complete redone user interface. The user interface is very similar to Microsoft's Windows OneCare Live software with the blue gradients surrounding the white middle section used to disaply alerts and information regarding your PC's security. Its almost as if the two Windows applications were meant to be paired, although Microsoft has said OneCare won't be available on Windows Vista.

The same functionality that existed previously in Windows Antispyware is included in Windows Defender and, according to my experience so far, there hasn't been much new features or functionality added yet to Windows Defender that's different aside from the new interface. I've heard that Microsoft wants to include root kit detection in Windows Defender, unfortunately I haven't bought any Sony Music CD's recently to give it a test.

Screenshot: Windows Defender Scan History
Screenshot: Windows Defender Scan Options
Screenshot: Windows Defender Scanning in Progress
Screenshot: Windows Defender Tools
Screenshot: Joining SpyNet in Windows Defender
Screenshot: Windows Defender Quarantined Items

Windows Defender does do a great job controlling what processes/applications load and run in the background on your PC. It asks for approval for virtually everything, something which many users might find annoying.

Screenshot: Software Explorers in Windows Defender
Screenshot: Approval requested for Software change

You can configure Windows Defender to scan at certain times, just as Windows Antispyware did. In Build 5270, when a scheduled scan attempts to run, Windows Defender pops up an error. Unfortunately for me, scheduled scans don't seem to be working in this build.

Screenshot: Windows Defender General Settings
Screenshot: Error Pop-up for Windows Defender while attempting scheduled scan

To be perfectly honest, Windows Antispyware (feature-wise) did a great job at protecting and detecting malware on user's PC's from my own experiences. Windows Defender takes the best of what was already did and presents it in a entirely new user interface which is nice to see Microsoft do seeing as all they had done with Windows Antispyware was just slap the Microsoft name on Giant's already existing user interface. I strongly believe Windows Defender is a great addition to Windows Vista (and for Windows XP as well) in protecting users from malware that might find its way while browsing the internet. In combination with new security features from Internet Explorer 7, its looking like Windows Vista is going keep users more protected than ever before in any previous Windows version right out of the box.

Resource: Microsoft's Anti-Malware Team Blog
Resource: Windows Antispyware Beta 1 (for Windows XP)



  • Sidebar Geek said:
    This evening I was able to get online my next Feature Preview on Windows Defender. There's plenty of...
    January 15, 2006 12:18 AM

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