My primary recommendation for home users (friends, family, etc.) for a first-line Windows anti-virus/anti-malware protection remains Microsoft Security Essentials from Microsoft.
It is resource light - especially important on older Windows OS systems - and does an acceptable level of protection for average home users. It gets pretty consistent high marks in most AV testing. Not the highest, but not the lowest.
And it isn’t scary with it’s presentation of threat findings.
So it goes on our own Windows 7 systems.
When Lavie upgraded to a Windows 8 system, Microsoft Security Essentials couldn’t be installed as in it’s wisdom, Microsoft bundles a MSSE version of Windows Defender on the system instead. That’s just the way it is. While essentially the same product, it doesn’t have some of the more granular control in setting scheduled scans, DAT updates, or on-demand scans.
So if you have Windows 8, and are using the stock Windows Defender as your AV/AM solution, then you might find the following “power tips” to using/tweaking Windows Defender helpful.
- Configure Windows Defender in Windows 8 - Marqus Saluste - WinHelp - Particularly helpful was the section “Advanced Tweaking - Scheduling Windows Defender Scans and Updates in Windows 8”
- Windows Defender on-demand scan in Windows 8 - Marqus Saluste - WinHelp - Particularly helpful was the section “Advanced Tweaking - Scheduling Windows Defender Scans and Updates in Windows 8”
- Add Scan With Windows Defender To Context Menu In Windows 8 - The Windows Club
If you are looking for some extra sauce for your Windows 8 system, you might consider checking out Bitdefender Antivirus Free.
I am using it on my virtualized Windows 8 system and finding it just as simple to use and run as Microsoft Security Essentials…with the added benefit of a "web-based” console view to manage the AV system. If you install it on more than one system, then you can manage each system in the same console. Handy.