Ramblings from another nerd on the grid
Windows Defender (formerly known as Microsoft AntiSpyware) is a feature of Windows Vista that helps customers protect their computer against pop-ups, slow performance, and security threats caused by spyware.
Windows Defender lets you make conscious choices about software installed on your PC by providing always-on protection that monitors key system locations, watching for changes that signal the presence of spyware. Superior scanning and removal technologies use up-to-date spyware definitions created by Microsoft, with help from Windows Defender users who submit reports of potential new spyware.
From installation to maintenance and updates, Windows Defender is simple to use and comes with preconfigured settings and guidance to help you become more secure. An improved user interface gives you more control over your software. Common tasks such as scanning, blocking, and removing unwanted software are easier than ever, and a Software Explorer helps you understand which software and services are running on your computer and stops or disables “rogue” software. Windows Defender automatically handles many common tasks and interrupts or alerts you only in the case of issues that require immediate action.
Windows Defender takes advantage of many of the platform enhancements in Windows Vista, including improved caching technology that allows scans to run faster and User Account Control, which enables the software to run without requiring the user to elevate privileges to scan or remove spyware from the system.
Integration with Microsoft Internet Explorer allows downloaded files to be scanned before they are saved or executed, reducing the chance that spyware might be installed by accident. “Scan on execute” functionality provides an added layer of protection, and integration with Windows Security Center helps you keep track of spyware protection alongside other security and safety features.
Windows Defender is available for Windows XP Service Pack (SP) 2, Windows Server 2003 SP1, and Windows Vista.
Only genuine Windows customers can receive product downloads, Windows updates, and special offers. Windows Defender will validate that your copy of Windows is genuine before installation on Windows XP SP2 and Windows Server 2003 SP1. Furthermore, Windows Defender will only remove severe threats for machines that are not genuine. Low, medium, and high threats will be detected, but not removed unless your copy of Windows is genuine.