Which Microsoft security software is right for me?

Choosing the right Microsoft security software depends on how you're using your PC.

Most of our security software uses the same technology and offers the same level of protection.

However, enterprise software has features that are useful in a work environment, such as managing multiple computers and remote deployment.

You don’t usually need these features at home or in a small business.

See the Microsoft security software page for a list of our software.

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  • Windows Defender is built into Windows 8. It helps protect and clean your PC from malware such as viruses, trojans, and worms. It also helps protect against potentially unwanted software, such as adware.

    If your computer is running Windows 7 or earlier, you can download and use Microsoft Security Essentials.

    You can’t use Microsoft Security Essentials and Windows Defender at the same time, but you don’t need to - they both protect your PC from malware and other threats in exactly the same way.

    Before the release of Windows 8, Windows Defender referred to a separate tool that focused only on antispyware. This tool is no longer supported, as it is now fully integrated into Microsoft Security Essentials and Windows Defender.

  • Windows Phone

    Windows Phone has a number of built-in security features to help keep you safe from malware and potentially unwanted software.

    You can read more about these security features on the Windows Phone website.

    Surface and Windows RT tablets

    Windows Defender is built into Windows RT to help protect you from malware and potentially unwanted software.

    You should keep Windows Defender up to date to make sure you have the latest real-time protection.

  • System Center 2012 Endpoint Protection provides a single, integrated platform that reduces your IT management and operating costs. It uses the same technology to detect and remove malware as Microsoft Security Essentials and Windows Defender on Windows 8.

    Windows Intune combines both cloud and on-premises capabilities to fit your PC and mobile device management needs. It also uses the same technology to detect and remove malware as Microsoft Security Essentials and Windows Defender on Windows8.

  • Windows Defender Offline can help remove hard-to-find and hard-to-remove malicious software like rootkits. You’ll need a CD, DVD, or USB flash drive to install and run Windows Defender Offline.

    The Microsoft Safety Scanner is a free security tool that can provide an on-demand scan to help remove viruses, spyware, and other malicious software. It can work alongside other security software on your computer. It expires after 10 days, but you can download and run it again with the latest updates.

    The Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT) can find and remove specific, prevalent malware. It is updated every month. Because the MSRT targets specific malware, we recommend you also use up-to-date antivirus or antimalware software to help protect your computer.

    The Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset (DaRT) helps troubleshoot and repair Windows desktops. It lets you diagnose and repair a computer that can’t be started or has problems starting as expected. You can also restore lost files and detect and remove malware - even when your computer is not online.