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AV-TEST: Microsoft Defender is a serious system hog vs Avast/AVG, Kaspersky, Malwarebytes

The Microsoft Defender logo with the Microsoft HQ logo on the background

Anti-malware assessment firm AV-TEST released its new report a few days ago. The company analyses the performance of several anti-malware solutions in mainly three categories, Protection, Performance, and Usability. Protection measures the ability to detect malicious samples, Performance measures the system resource usage, and Usability tests for false alarms. In each category, the contenders are gauged out of 6 points.

Microsoft Defender did well in Protection and Usability but was the worst of the bunch when it came to Performance. It received 6 points in the two former categories but only 5 points in Performance.

AV-TEST says:

Among the products requiring hardly any system resources to operate are Avast, Avira, Bitdefender, G DATA, K7 Computing, Kaspersky, Malwarebytes, PC Matic, Protected.net and Trend Micro. They all racked up 6 points.

A slight, yet measurable, system load was created in the test by the packages from AhnLab, AVG, ESET, F-Secure, McAfee, Microworld and Norton. They sustained a slight point deduction, ending up with what was still a good result of 5.5 out of 6 points.

The highest system load in the test was generated by Windows Defender Antivirus for consumers. As the system load is considerably higher than that of the other products, Defender lost an entire point, thus ending up at 5 out of 6 points.

The images below show the full breakdown of the scores alongside the certificates they obtained based on the numbers:

AV-TEST February 2023 rankings

AV-TEST February 2023 rankings

Another product which performed quite abysmally in one category is PC Matic. The antivirus received just 3 points out of 6 in Usability as AV-TEST says there were "well over two dozen false positives and blocked applications".

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