Microsoft’s antivirus tools for Windows have changed a lot over the years. The “Defender” branding has been used for a number of things—now it’s even available for Android, and iPhone. But what the heck does it do?
In June 2022, Microsoft Defender became a cross-platform app. This is not the same antivirus tool you may have known as “Windows Defender,” though. The scope of what Microsoft Defender does has changed quite a bit. Let’s take a look.
A Brief History of Microsoft Defender
As far as Microsoft services go, Defender has one of the more convoluted histories. It was originally a rebranded version of a tool called “Microsoft AntiSpyware,” which was first available on Windows XP in 2005.
Later in 2005, Microsoft AntiSpyware became Windows Defender. This was technically the second beta of the tool, but the first one with the Defender name. It was a pretty basic antispyware suite of tools, though Microsoft removed some of the tools from the first beta.
In 2006, Windows Defender left beta. It came pre-installed on Windows Vista and Windows 7 as the default antispyware tool. In Windows 8, Defender gained antivirus components, replacing Microsoft Security Essentials for Windows. It’s now the default antispyware and antivirus tool in Windows.
Nowadays, many of the tools previously associated with Windows Defender are found under the “Windows Security” settings. The “Defender” moniker doesn’t show up as much.
What Is Microsoft Defender for Android and iPhone?
Microsoft Defender is now a two-pronged suite of tools. There’s the antispyware and antivirus components, which are baked into Windows. Then there’s the cross-platform component, which is available…