For the second month in a row, Microsoft can point to the newest data from an independent testing lab as validation that Windows Defender provides sufficient protection against malware.
AV-Comparatives published its malware protection test results for September 2019. The data is kind of all over the place, but the gist of the report is Windows Defender provides a high level of protection, albeit at the expense of flagging a higher number of legitimate files as malicious than several other AV programs—looking strictly at false positives, Windows Defender fell around the middle of the pack.
Our list of the best antivirus for PC gaming highlights Avira in the freebie category, and these test results reinforce our selection. However, there's no shame in sticking with Windows Defender, if that's your preference, based on what independent labs are seeing.
Out of "10,556 recent/prevalent [malware] samples" from the last few weeks, Windows Defender blocked 99.96 percent of them, with 13 false positives. Those false positives were the difference between Windows Defender earning an "Advanced+" award and the "Advanced" award it received (AV-Comparatives also has a "Standard" award).
In addition to this latest round of testing, Windows Defender scored high marks in AV-Test's most recent analysis—it received a perfect score in all three categories AV-Test uses, those being protection, performance, and usability.
"Currently, our antivirus capabilities on Windows 10 are repeatedly earning top scores on independent tests, often outperforming the competition. This performance is the result of a complete redesign of our security solution," Microsoft stated (opens in new tab) at the time.
Microsoft says its efforts to bolster Windows Defender started paying off in 2015, which is when independent testing results "began to improve dramatically."