Windows OS

How to Turn On Windows Defender

Right until Windows 10 version 1703, Windows Defender was a separate entity. However, since then, it has been clubbed into the Windows Security app.

Having that stated, if all you’re looking for is to review your current state of affairs as it relates to what’s turned on, and what’s turned off, opening Windows Security is your best bet. To do so, click on the Windows Shield Icon from your System Tray. (Windows security should be on by default if no other Anti-Virus Software is installed; more below in FAQ).

opening windows security through windows 10 systems tray
Look for the shield icon.

Alternatively, you can simply search for it in the start menu, and then open it.

opening windows security from start menu
All you have to do, is search for it.

In any case, once you’re into the app, you can evaluate your existing security and protection settings.

In fact, if you’re used to using the old Windows Defender app, Microsoft has done a tremendous job of demonstrating the old vs. the new, so that you can get a 1:1 idea of where exactly things from the previous app are transferred over. For reference, see images below (which are directly pulled from Microsoft).

old windows defender app
Image Source & Credit:
where windows defender functionalites are in windows security
Image Source & Credit:

Visualize numbers 1-5 to understand the location differences of the same settings between the old & the new.

In essence, to turn on Windows Defender, you’d have to leverage & use Windows Security. If you haven’t touched or changed or played around with any advanced settings, I believe it should be automatically active. Although, things may slightly vary if you’re using a 3rd party protection software.

What About Windows Defender Firewall?

As a matter of fact, this is still a separate operation where you can make more advanced decisions, and individually tweak various settings.

To get to this application, search for “windows defender firewall with advanced security.”

how to open windows defender firewall
Search for the application, and ensure you’re running it as an administrator.

Once the applications runs, on an encompassing level, you can make adjustments to the following:

  1. Inbound Rules: Here, you can configure incoming traffic and port numbers, and allow/disallow individual connections.
  2. Outbound Rules: On the contrary, outbound rules will enable you to set standards for the traffic going out.

At this juncture, I’d like to point out that is is a highly advanced feature. And by all means, feel free to play around, but also jot down any and all changes you’ve made. Doing so will equip you to roll back the modifications in case your internet doesn’t end up working correctly.

A Few Other FAQs

How Do I Know if Windows Defender Is On?

To check the status, press ctrl + alt + delete to open up the task manager. Then, from there, navigate to the services tab, and look for “WinDefend.” Once you find it, review the status. If it shows as running, you’d know it’s doing its job. If you cannot detect this service for some reason, the chances are that it’s going by some other similar name. Also, note that it could potentially have more than one service. verifying that windows defender is running

Can Windows Defender Detect Trojans?

Yes; that seems to be the case. For future context, though, I’d recommend that you start digesting the fact that Windows Defender is part of the overall Windows Security package. Luckily, I haven’t run into any issues due to the systems I have in place, but again, yes. In fact, I’ve rooted for not even using a separate anti-virus software in my post here. With the combination of Windows Security (with Windows Defender) and Malwarebytes, all my security hacks and worries are negligible.

Can Windows Defender and McAfee Run Together?

According to Microsoft, you likely won’t be able to. If any 3rd party anti-virus software is installed — with its proprietary firewall, it can cause a conflict with Windows’ own firewall. Therefore, Windows Defender will be disabled as long as you’re up to date & running the latest version of your other favorite anti-virus software, or in this question, McAfee.

Is Windows 10 Defender Enough Virus Protection?

I am going to assume that you mean Windows Security. The answer is yes. You can find tons and tons of online reviews and opinions around this. The consensus is that it’s pretty amazing! It used to be the case where previous versions of Windows (a couple of years ago) had lackluster security measures, but with Windows 10, 1703, Microsoft has incredibly stepped-up their game. If it makes you feel better, I do not have a 3rd party anti-virus software. But, you do not have to trust me. I’d encourage you to perform your research, and if in doubt, I’d say go ahead and install a 3rd party protection tool of your choice. Why? Because it’s never wrong to put in extra backups and cyber-security methods in place.

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By now, you may have realized that Windows Defender does not enjoy a segregated existence anymore. For better or worse, it’s integrated into Windows Security, starting with Windows 10 version 1703.

Be that as it may, you can be rest assured that Windows Defender is still part of the operating system, and the normal status quo is that it runs in the background — unless you override the standard options.