Long time users of AVG, Avast, Microsoft Security Essentials, or — dare I say it — Norton should take note. Windows 8 comes pre-packaged with virus protection that runs in the background and without interaction from the user — it’s called Windows Defender. This isn’t your parents’ Windows Defender, though. Defender was built-in to previous versions of Windows as an anti-spyware tool, with other forms of virus and malware defense coming in the form of a free, separate application called Security Essentials.
Depending on previous configuration, you may have noticed that your Windows 8 upgrade made you uninstall Microsoft Security Essentials. That’s because Windows 8 takes what was Security Essentials and combines that with what was defender to create the new, bundled version of Microsoft anti virus, Windows Defender. The program runs in the background at all times and shouldn’t require any interaction from you to keep you protected. And with Security Essentials’ reputation of being one of the best free anti-virus programs, I’d say you’ll be fine without any additional third party software.