It's probably fair to say that Microsoft's Defender hasn't had the best of times recently. A couple of days ago there were reports of Defender for Endpoint causing various issues on client Windows 10 systems. And now, there is bit more bad news as Microsoft's in-house anti-malware product can really hit lower end Windows systems bad according to the latest Performance Impact testing by AV-Comparatives.
In the final Awards rating, Defender was barely able to secure the "Standard" rating as it came in second-last in the evaluation alongside Total Defense Anti-Virus. In all, the following anti-malware products were tested:
- Avast Free Antivirus 22.3
- AVG Free Antivirus 22.3
- Avira Prime 1.1
- Bitdefender Internet Security 26.0
- ESET Internet Security 15.1
- G Data Total Security 25.5
- K7 Total Security 16.0
- Kaspersky Internet Security 21.3
- Malwarebytes Premium 4.5
- McAfee Total Protection 25.5
- Microsoft Defender 4.18
- NortonLifeLock Norton 360 Deluxe 22.22
- Panda Free Antivirus 21.01
- TotalAV Antivirus Pro 5.16
- Total Defense Essential Antivirus 13.0
- Trend Micro Internet Security 17.7
- VIPRE Advanced Security 11.0
The following real-world tests were done using an up-to-date Windows 10 21H2 64-bit system with Intel Core-i3, 4GB of RAM, and SSD. The i3 and 4GB RAM was used to simulate typical lower-end PCs which generally are impacted most by anti-virus programs.
- File copying
- Archiving / unarchiving
- Installing / uninstalling applications - using silent install mode
- Launching applications - Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) and Adobe Acrobat Reader
- Downloading files
- Browsing Websites - using Google Chrome
The total score received in the above tests is being referred to as "AV-C Score". Other than the real world tests listed above, the PC Mark 10 Professional Testing Suite synthetic benchmark was also run.
Here is how all the products have performed in the tests. The image on the left shows the AV-C performances while the image on the right shows the total scores which also includes the PC Mark scores:
If you are wondering what the "Impact Score" is, the column basically represents how far off the total obtained score is from the full marks of 190. Therefore, bigger the Impact Score, the greater performance impact an anti-malware program had on the tested system. For example, if we take Microsoft Defender, it has an Impact Score of 24.6, which implies it has scored 24.6 points less than the full score of 190, ie, 165.4. You can read the original report on AV-Comparatives' site here.
If you are wondering how Defender and the other products has done in case of general protection, you can read this article here.