By Andy Rathbone

Like several Windows versions before it, Windows 10 includes the Windows Defender antivirus program. Windows Defender runs quickly, updates automatically, and catches the most common malware before it invades your computer.

But is it better than third‐party antivirus programs, including the ones that charge subscription fees? The answer depends on several things.

For example, most third‐party antivirus programs will catch more viruses than Windows Defender. However, doing that extra work can slow down your PC. Some powerful security suites throw up false alarms, as well, leaving you the work of sorting out the problem. Many seem complicated and cumbersome.

Windows Defender works best for people who can spot a potential virus as it arrives in the mail, and avoid clicking on suspicious email attachments. People who feel more comfortable with a larger safety net will prefer a paid program. There’s no right or wrong answer.

Instead, your answer depends on your personal comfort level. If you find a reasonably priced third‐party antivirus program that doesn’t slow down your computer too much, then stick with it. But if you feel confident in your ability to weed out most potential attackers before you click on them, Windows Defender might be all you need.