Windows 7 MSE vs 3rd Party Antivirus Solutions


New Member
Hello all,

The following is just my opinion and preference based on my personal experience and available independent test lab data. I prefer a 3rd party solution to the inherent Microsoft Security Essentials solution (embedded in Windows 8) for the following reasons:

MSE is a "reactionary" antivirus solution and scores very poorly in the "prevention" category but scores well in the "removal" category. So, what does this mean in simple terms? Basically, it will do a great job of detecting and removing malware "after" it has become resident on your PC; however, the malware may have time to "do its damage" before those MSE routine scans find it.

Conversely, a good 3rd party antivirus may not score as well as MSE in the "removal" category but it certainly will score much higher in the "prevention" category. Specifically, a good 3rd party AV will flag/warn you if a website attempts to download malware to your PC and give you a chance to "exit" the site before being infected; whereas, MSE (alone) would not provide such a warning and it would deal with the malware after it has infected you PC.

In summary, you can either deal with malware before its deposited on your PC or you can deal with it after it has become resident; your choice! The following link will open/download a PDF document confirming that MSE ranks "dead last" in prevention (see page 4). Good luck!


Essential Member
Up until recently I was a fan and promoter of MSE. That changed when I found an article from November that it had lost its AV certification rating, and again in January. This is an independent rating from AV labs but offers a good perspective on how effective AV suites are. Its detection rates have dropped below 65%.

Unfortunately until Microsoft improves the client and detection rates, I won't be using it anymore nor installing it on clients computers. Of course antivirus prevention goes beyond the suite to a network and even ISP level, but still. I find it interesting that BitDefender scores best overall, as that was previously a suite I'd never have looked twice at. Nit that it matters as I'm using Windows RT which means for the time being I'm stuck with MSE.

Microsoft Security Essentials fails AV-Test certification... again - TechSpot
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U.S.Navy D.A.V.
I find it interesting that BitDefender scores best overall, as that was previously a suite I'd never have looked twice at.

I still use MSE/Windows Defender. I have always used Threatfire as extra real-time protection. I also use and have used since it became available to Firefox, Bitdefender and Bitdefender Traffic Light, great at detecting threats and malicious sites before hand.
For in-depth scanning I use Vipre.

Use whatever is best and comfortable to you.



New Member
I'd cast my vote for Windows Defender. Especially if you wan't the least intrusive option. If you're really concerned about not having anything get through I'd suggest Kaspersky, but in all likeliness you'll be fine with WD.


New Member
I would like to enable windows defender on my laptop but unable to do so. Do I need to uninstall ccleaner and spybot as well as AVG antivirus?


Windows Forum Admin
Staff member
Premium Supporter
Microsoft Security Essentials is a lightweight anti-virus for basic use. It is a response to complaints that Microsoft did not provide enough anti-malware and anti-virus security to its consumers. Its level of effectiveness is not comparable to industry grade security suites like Kaspersky, ESET Smart Security, or dare I say, even Symantec's solutions. You'll need to judge the pro's and con's of using MSE.

Think about this: If you are are trying to fix your guitar, do you go to a music store, that fixes guitars all day long, or do you go to a general hardware store and ask them to fix it for you? When you are having a problem with your brain, do you go to a neurologist, or do you go to a general practitioner that does not always deal neurological problems? The same can be said with anti-virus and security. There are companies that specialize in it and are recognized as world class, and then there are general companies that offer a baseline solution.

If you regularly perform data retention and back up your essential software, files, or do disk imaging, you don't necessarily need a great security suite. This also depends on how critical your data is or what would happen if it fell into the wrong hands.

If the system goes down, 9 times out of 10 you can just restore from backup. How you allocate these resources is up to you, but you should not leave yourself unprotected. Use MSE as a baseline and consider future improvements as the need presents itself. I agree that it is a case of reactionary vs. preventative maintenance and always has been.

I would like to enable windows defender on my laptop but unable to do so. Do I need to uninstall ccleaner and spybot as well as AVG antivirus?

In Windows 8, MSE is part of Windows Defender. It can still operate with most anti-virus solutions installed. I do not know why you would need to uninstall all of these programs.

Spybot is not that great compared to Malwarebytes and I would consider using Malwarebytes instead.

I would consider continuing to use AVG or migrate to Kaspersky or ESET Smart Security.