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How to effectively remove Malware using Windows Defender – Part 1 Overview, Download and Install

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Windows Defender Tutorial – Overview, download and Install
Windows Defender Tutorial – Update, Settings, Scan & Cure

Windows Defender Logo

Part 1 Overview, Download and Install


Windows Defender is the new name of the Microsoft Windows AntiSpyware which was made available earlier by Microsoft as a beta version. The final version of Windows Defender was released on Oct 24′ 2006 and available at no additional charge for currently licensed Windows customers. In Microsoft’s own words

Windows Defender is a security technology that helps protect you from spyware and other potentially unwanted software. Known spyware on your computer can be detected and removed. This helps reduce negative effects caused by spyware, including slow computer performance, annoying pop-up ads, unwanted changes to Internet settings, and unauthorized use of your private information. This enhanced protection improves Internet browsing safety by helping to guard the places where spyware can enter your computer.

Windows Defender runs as a System service unlike its earlier versions where it ran as an application. If you are upgrading from Microsoft Antispyware, you will be surprised by the lack of the default icon in your system tray. It is by design and it is believed that Microsoft has made it like that to make antispyware protection less bothersome. Windows Defender alerts will be in the form of the familiar yellow balloon unlike in the earlier versions where the alerts are shown as a pop-up window.

Like its earlier versions Windows Defender does not check for tracking cookies. Microsoft has stated that

Many cookies are used for legitimate purposes and Microsoft believes that the appropriate place to manage cookies through your Web browser.

On the whole Windows Defender provides an additional layer of basic antispyware protection in the increasingly dangerous world wide web.

For more information about the improvements made in Windows Defender and benefits of using it are available here.

Windows Vista Version of Defender offers additional protection

The Windows Defender that comes with Windows Vista offers additional performance and security enhancements:

  • Includes the ability to scan only files that have changed.
  • It can run under a security enhanced account.
  • Ability to scan files when you run them.
  • It will also allow you to scan files if downloaded with Internet Explorer 7.


Before you download, please take a few seconds to check the minimum System requirements and the Known issues. Windows Defender will not run on anything earlier than Windows XP SP2.

The current version of Windows Defender can be downloaded from the official Microsoft Download Center. Please be aware that downloading and installing Windows Defender requires verification of the authenticity of your Windows by participating in the Windows Genuine Advantage program (WGA). The download is also available from, Softpedia, SnapFiles, Softwarepatch etc,.


Double click the downloaded setup file – WindowsDefender.msi – to start the installation.

Windows Installation screen 1

You need to validate your copy of Windows to proceed with the installation. To see what information is collected about your system and how it is used, make sure that you are connected to the Internet and Click Privacy Statement otherwise Click Validate to start the validation process.

Windows Installation screen 2

Once the validation is complete, you will be presented with the Windows Defender License Agreement. Read the license and then select I accept the terms in the license agreement. Click Next.

Windows Installation screen 3

Before we tackle the next screen of the Windows Defender Installation, we need to know about Microsoft SpyNet.

What is Microsoft SpyNet

Microsoft SpyNet is an online community of users essentially providing an rating mechanism for spyware and other unwanted software found on your system. The data collected from this community is one way Microsoft builds its database of spyware. All Windows Defender users have the option to join as a basic or an advanced member. If you opt to join Microsoft SpyNet as a basic member, Windows Defender sends basic information on what software it finds and the action you chose to take. If you opt to join as an advanced member, Windows Defender sends more detailed data on the unwanted software it finds, including file names and locations.

By joining the online Microsoft SpyNet community, you can see how other people have responded to alerts about software that has not yet been analyzed. Seeing how other people have responded can help you decide what to do. If you choose to participate, the actions that you take for these alerts are added to the community ratings to help other people.

Privacy Risk

While the cause is noble, Microsoft is not forthcoming with the information about the data it collects. During the installation and also if you choose to join the Spynet from the Tools menu, Microsoft states something to the effect,

In some instances, personal information might unintentionally be sent to Microsoft; however Microsoft will not use this information to identify you or contact you.

What are those “some instances” and tt is not made clear what personal information is collected. In my personla opinion, if you have any privacy concerns, as you should, it is better to avoid joining the Microsoft Spynet.

In the following installation screen after avoiding Microsoft Spynet, you have the option to automatically install the definition updates and another option Ask me later. Choose the Ask me later and then Click Next.

Windows Installation screen 4

Now choose the Complete option and then click Next.

Windows Installation screen 5

Click Install to begin the installation.

Windows Installation screen 6

Windows Defender is being installed

Windows Installation screen 7

Now the installation is complete. Check the option Check for updated definitions and run a quick scan now and then click Finish.

Windows Installation screen 8

Windows Defender is now checking for updates and if there are any definition updates available, it will be automatically downloaded and installed.

Windows Installation screen 9

This concludes Windows Defender Tutorial Part 1

Windows Defender Tutorial – Overview, download and Install
Windows Defender Tutorial – Update, Settings, Scan & Cure

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