Windows Firewall and Microsoft Security Essentials

By | August 9, 2013
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Leslie asks about Windows Firewall after removing MSE
I have a question about Firewalls and Windows Defender. I have purchased Emsisoft and am running my first scan as I type. HOWEVER, I uninstalled Security Essentials as I read I should uninstall my current anti-virus program (also Malwarebytes) and I guess I’m now running without Firewall? I know that’s not safe after reading you all these many years.

And what’s this Windows Defender? Another name for the MS Security Essentials program or a part of it? I don’t want to run unprotected and would appreciate your telling me what to do so I’m safe.

Our answer
Thanks, Leslie. First, Microsoft Security Essentials is an antivirus program; it does not contain a firewall component. Windows Firewall is part of Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1. It doesn’t matter what antivirus you’re using, Windows firewall is there. Most antivirus suites include a firewall and those suites normally shut Windows Firewall off. Stand-alone antivirus programs, like MSE, don’t include a firewall because Windows already has a firewall. And despite the all the things you read about how awful the Windows Firewall is, it’s actually pretty good and does what it’s supposed to do. And those of you who have wireless routers (most of you, anyway) also have a hardware firewall, and you probably didn’t know it.

Windows Defender on Windows 7 is totally useless. Windows Defender on Windows 8 is Microsoft Security Essentials. Windows Defender on anything other than Windows 8 is not very good and you should never trust your computer to it. Why Microsoft plays these kinds of name games we don’t know. But prior to Windows 8, Windows Defender was a pretty poor security program. On Windows 8 and 8.1 Microsoft Security Essentials is called Windows Defender, but it’s by no means the same program as the Windows Defender installed on previous versions of Windows.

Windows Defender doesn’t have anything to do with MSE. It does not need to be running. On Windows 8 and 8.1, Windows Defender is MSE. It’s sort of like playing Who’s On First. And even on Windows 8, Windows Defender is separate from Windows 8’s Firewall.

4 thoughts on “Windows Firewall and Microsoft Security Essentials

  1. YvonneInBetween

    I use Windows 7 and have been downloading the Windows Defender downloads for a few years. Now that it has been established that it is useless; is there any way to stop Microsoft from sending the updates to download? They come every week; sometimes more often.


  2. Charlene

    I just got win/7 and it shows windows defender but I can’t figure out how to uninstall it . Is there away to get rid of it ? Have put MSE on there as I trust it more than defender .

    1. infoave Post author

      You can’t remove Defender from Windows; it is part of Windows. You can open a run command, (Windows Key + R), type in Services.MSC, press Enter and find Windows Defender and set it to disabled. Honestly, though, it’s not going to interfere with anything if you leave it running.

    2. John Collins

      When MSE is installed it (turns off)(diables) Windows Defender automatically. The program is still there but it is turned off.


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