Windows Defender in Windows 8 Includes MSE

If you want to install Microsoft Security Essentials on Windows 8 — you can’t. It’s already included in the OS and Microsoft renamed it Windows Defender. Here’s a look at what you can expect.

Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) on its own is going away in Windows 8. Windows Defender, which supplies spyware protection, will be integrated with MSE – Virus protection. Here’s  look at what it all means and how to use the new Windows Defender in Windows 8.

The new Windows Defender will be  included in Windows 8 Consumer Preview. Finally, Malware and virus protection included in the OS.


If you try to install Microsoft Security Essentials on Windows 8 you get the following message. It won’t install since it has Windows Defender.


Launch Windows Defender from the Metro Start screen by typing Windows Defender.

Metro Windows Defender

The user interface looks like MSE. Here are a few settings that I use with Windows Defender. First, definitely enable Real-Time Protection. It’s enabled by default, just verify the box is checked.


Under Settings I select the following. Depending on your system setup and environment, you can use different selections.

  • Scan Archive Files – just to be sure something isn’t infected.
  • Scan removable Drives (virus lurk everywhere),
  • Create a System Restore Point – This will create Restore Point before removing detected and quarantined files.
  • Allow All Users to View the Full History Results – Because it’s a home system. If you’re in an office or corporate environment, you might want to leave this unchecked.
  • Remove Quarantined Files After two Days. This lets you make certain the file isn’t a false positive, then gets rid of it easier if you forget. Don’t forget to save your settings.


Before running a scan, make sure your definitions are up to date.


The click the Home Tab and run your scan. You can do a Quick, Full or custom scan. If you know your system is infected, I definitely recommend a Full system scan.


The amount of time it takes will vary between system and the scan type you set up.

scanning active

With typical Microsoft naming conventions, it made it confusing my adding MSE to Windows Defender. But at least it does have complete security protection in the OS out of the box. You don’t need to download a stand alone app.

This is how it stands now in the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, and Microsoft could make a last minute change when the final version comes out. If they do, we’ll let you know. Also, when the final version is released, we’ll show you more about Windows Defender such as options that may be added and how to schedule the scan so you can set it and forget it.

If you’re running Windows 7, make sure you’re updated to the latest version of MSE 4.0.

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