Windows 8 – do you need anti-virus software

If you’ve been wondering if you need any anti-virus software on Windows 8 the simple answer is – it depends on how much you trust Microsoft.

Windows 8 comes complete with firewall capabilities as well as Windows Defender.

For many years Microsoft have provided a free anti-virus software called Microsoft Security Essentials, MSE has proven to be a light but affective anti-virus tool. Windows Defender works essentially the same as MSE, only it is provided by default and runs silently in the background – downloading updates and monitoring as required.

I would usually answer this question in two ways, depending on the user.

If you’re the type to download software from the internet willy-nilly – yes you should invest in a third-party anti-virus software.

If you’re a typical home user that just browses the Internet, perhaps downloading a few apps from the Windows store – I would then trust Windows defender to do its job.

So what anti-virus should you use?

These are the three anti-virus packages I recommend to people. A computer only needs one installed, and installing more than one is likely to cause problems.


  • Free
  • Lightweight
  • Includes a silent mode to hide alerts during gaming and other full-screen activities.


  • Free
  • lightweight anti-virus.


  • Free
  • Obtrusive behaviour – such as modifying Google search results with “protected” messages.