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Windows Defender vs Norton: What is the Better Antivirus Program?

We all live in the digital world and, therefore, it’s almost impossible to eradicate the use of digital devices like smartphones, laptops, etc.

While the utilization of these smart devices plays a big role, you cannot make sure that everything that you do online won’t put your data or personal information at risk, unless you invest in an out-of-this-world best antivirus i.e. an antivirus program that offers one-of-its-kind enhancing features to protect your device and data living in it.

In this article we’d be taking a look at the major points that come packed with the online security software so that you could eventually make an informed decision without hurting yourself financially – i.e. without breaking the bank.

Yes, you can possibly control anything through the Internet as, in this digital era, everything has been digitalized. But there could also be a disadvantage to it like there could be a situation of data breaching and other digital attacks.

Our recommendation: McAfee

With so many antivirus products in the market, there is none that’s like McAfee. With over 18.9 billion devices protected on a consistent basis, McAfee’s ability to deal with malware attacks come unmatched! McAfee has a dedicated database that is adept to deal with all sorts of virus attacks whether they may be online or offline. To browse their programs, check out their programs here!

The Risk of the Internet

According to the most recent research done by the cybersecurity labs, there’s a hacker attack every 29 seconds on average. 

chart of estimated damages from randomware

Hackers today use highly sophisticated algorithms to inject the websites and spread malware, and other digital threats in the systems of the people.

It’s easy to understand that your system (or device) that you’re currently using is highly vulnerable.

Another study shows that almost half of the computers around the world have been victims of cybercrimes. So, it’s possible that you could be the next victim, unless, of course, you save yourself by taking some intelligent steps towards the ultimate safety and antivirus protection from these cyberattacks by purchasing the license of the best-fit anti-malware as recommended antivirus software by the experts (see the final outcome below on this page).

We’ve used the IT-security independent labs tests so as to give you the crystal-clear results for easy decision-making. In these tests, scoring has been done and antivirus programs have been reviewed category wise – i.e. taking the features, ransomware protection, good malware protection, usability, customer satisfaction into consideration, etc., into account. We’ve done a number of other in-depth comparison articles – for more on Microsoft Defender antivirus take a look at these:

Different types of cyberattacks, namely virus, ransomware, spyware, Trojan, worm, rootkit, etc., are being spread by the cyberpunks into the digital devices of the people and those who don’t have much knowledge are being targeted by them. The hackers also tend to attack those who are using hand-held devices like smartphones, tablets, palmtop, etc.

Windows Defender vs Norton: A Brief Evaluation

It’s not easy to choose between anti-virus software, especially if one is free and the other third party antivirus isn’t. Ultimately, it should be about identity theft protection with the help of the antivirus engine since hacking and identity theft are HUGE inconveniences that can be expensive to fix. Keep this in mind as you choose which program might be better to ward off cyberattacks, such as malware, spyware, ransomware, or Trojans.

For those who are short of time, we’ve designed this short comparison battle so that you could make a well-versed decision. We’d compared both of the software category wise underneath, please take a look at the below-mentioned article to figure out which one is the perfect-fit antivirus to have your needs met.

1. Features

The features are what make the software unique as compared to other software that is participating in the battle. An ideal antivirus always brings unmatched security features to the table so that you could always be stay protected as long as your device is running (and even if it’s turned off).

In this comparison, Norton gets ahead of Windows Defender and offers more security-related features, most notably with its ability to provide network security that Windows Defender lacks.

Winner: Norton

Norton Anti Virus Logo

2. Malware Protection

With “Features” in mind, you cannot take “Malware Protection” too lightly because cybercrime is happening around the world every 39 seconds. Now, you can easily estimate how many attacks are happening in a year.

Again, in this quick battle, Norton has been the front-runner.

Winner: Norton

Norton Anti Virus Logo

3. System Performance

While defense from threats and functionality matters a lot, you cannot put too small a price on the system performance. That means you’d in need of picking up an antivirus that delivers the optimal system performance. In other words, you will need to invest in an antivirus that is not making your system (or other applications) lag when you open it or while it is running in the background.

Although it was a close call by Windows Defender in terms of putting less impact on the system, Norton could not just back up and become the Winner in this category as well.

Winner: Norton

Norton Anti Virus Logo

4. User-friendliness

An antivirus, especially a user-friendly one, can make your day. That’s because you would be able to easily understand. If an anti-virus program takes several steps for you to reach the destination, it’s not worth buying because a user-friendly program only requires minimal steps for the action.

In this area, Norton edges out with a slightly cleaner and modern look. Not by much though.

Winner: Norton

Norton Anti Virus Logo

5. Cost

Does the anti-virus program make you break the bank? Put differently, you have to make sure that the antivirus you’re about to invest in is not too costly or expensive because that could ruin you financially.

The general rule says that always think of both features and pricing models and then decide which suite would be the perfect-fit choice for your needs.

It’s easy to see which wins out in pricing since Windows Defender is a free antivirus program, and Norton, on the other hand, is a premium (paid) antivirus.

Winner: Windows Defender

Windows Defender logo

Short Conclusion!

Norton is a premium software and Windows Defender is a freemium one. So, it’s not hard to draw the final outcome in this head-to-head battle as its crystal clear that Norton brings more security-enhancing features to the table. Windows Defender is a good way to be acquainted with basic understanding but it cannot surpass Norton in terms of features, system performance, and malware protection. It’s easy to say the additional features and benefits of Norton is worth paying for.

Overall Winner: Norton

Norton Anti Virus Logo

Windows Defender vs Norton: A Thorough Comparison

So far we have taken the short comparison into consideration, we believe that now is the moment to consider a wide-ranging antivirus battle. We’d shed light on the same characteristics that we considered in the brief comparison.

Which Antivirus Software Offers More Features?

Let’s see which antivirus brings more and better features to the table:

Windows Defender Suites

windows defender packages

Is Windows Defender good enough?

Since Windows Defender (WD) is a freeware, you won’t be getting many suites when you make use of it on your device (Windows-specific machine). 

Still, WD makes a huge impact when it comes to getting virus protection from different digital threats (cybercrimes). So, if your intention is only to get advanced protection from malware, ransomware, rootkits, worms, botnets, etc., you can think of it for the final purchase.

With the newly-added features, you could also keep an eye on the online activity of your children so as to be aware of what they’re doing on the Internet. This will give you the information about the website your child is visiting or the application that has been installed on your child’s phone. However, all of the best windows 10 antivirus security software has these features.

WD is proactive in monitoring your network traffic and blocks off the malicious activity from happening. There are amazing features that come packed with the software like “Find my device” through which you could possibly find your lost device, erase its data, etc. However, you won’t be getting advanced features like “Password Manager”, a secure VPN, and other powerful features that Norton comes with.

Norton’s Antivirus Packages

norton all packages

Now, let’s see what features we have in the antivirus packages of Norton:

Norton Antivirus Basic:

This plan can only be taken advantage of if you’re having a Windows-specific device whether it is a computer or a hand-held device like a smartphone.

Apparently, it is an entry-level suite that offers amazing features like detection and removal of all online threats, such as malware, ransomware, spyware, and others. In addition to that, it also has the ability to safeguard you from zero-day (unknown) attacks.

As long as you have it on your Windows operating system, you’ll have little trouble with identity theft and online fraud. However, the advanced features as still missing from this suite.

Find out More | Buy Now

Norton Security Standard:

Another antivirus suite from Norton is the “Standard” edition which houses the compatibility for all Operating Systems whether it is Windows, Android, iOS, or even macOS.  Everything that you came across (in the basic plan above) has already been included in this suite.

In this suite, Norton guarantees that no virus or digital threat can touch your device (i.e. you can’t become the victim of the cybercrimes happening around the world as long as you Norton’s Security plan activated) whatsoever.

And, if the situation comes about, the threat will be removed by the experts within a short span of time or you will get your 100% refund. Using this suite, you get superior protection, but only on one device.

Find out More | Buy Now

Norton Security Deluxe:

Taking the security to the next level, Norton presents the “Deluxe” suite that sheds light on the forward-looking features with the intention to offer you the antivirus solution to even highly sophisticated security concerns. Unlike aforesaid suites, this suite will give you the freedom to enjoy the service on up to 5 devices at the same time.

Another satisfying thing is that it’s available for other platforms – iOS, Android, Windows, and macOS – all you need is a single subscription.

Find out More | Buy Now

Norton Security Premium:

This is the full-fledged offering by Norton that is equipped with the top-of-the-line feature that you would have never seen before. Everything that you’d get (if you would have purchased Deluxe) has been included in this premium.

There’s a never-seen-before feature called “Auto backup” and what it does is that it automatically backs up your data so that you could restore it, just in case. With that in mind, online storage of 25GB has been provided to you, which is actually a TON of data. It’s ideal for small businesses or those working from home.

It provides comprehensive protection for up to 10 devices, and there are tools designed to help your children stay safe all the time making it a no brainer for families. Keep all of the antivirus definitions up-to-date all the time and say no to the malware attack being sent by the hacker to your device.

Various price points come into play if you consider buying via the premium antivirus suites as a total number of devices for which you want to purchase the software changes the game.

Find out More | Buy Now

If you don’t want to compromise on any feature (not even those available in high-end suites), then you would certainly look forward to subscribing to the “Ultimate Pack”.

To be familiar with other bundles, please jump to the “Products” segment of the website.

Windows Defender or Norton: Which Antivirus Provides Better Malware Protection?

Can it be possible that that antivirus software doesn’t have the functionality of detecting and removing the malware? Well, it can be, however, it doesn’t happen in 90% cases.

Basically, there’re three types levels of malware detection: a conventional scanner that matches the malware threats from the database, another level is an experiential scanner that scans and monitors behavioral activities of files, and at the end of the day, there is an online scanner where the files are sent for the thorough analysis.

Taking all three levels into consideration, we will look at the scores that each antivirus has scored in the tests conducted by AV-test and AV-comparatives – two professional IT-security labs that evaluate the performance of the antivirus and other products.

Let’s first take a glimpse at the AV-test results and we will go over AV comparatives scorecard:

Windows Defender Malware Protection:


Windows Defender Protection against malware infections results


av comparatives chart

Norton Protection Malware Protection:


Norton Protection against malware infections results


AV comparatives chart Sept 2020

Winner: Norton

Norton Anti Virus Logo

Windows Defender or Symantec Norton: Who Puts Less Impact on System?

Another vital aspect is the device performance of your system i.e. whether it gets affected by the antivirus running in the background, and if so, then how much?

The less impact an antivirus puts on your device, the better performance your system will deliver which is a great thing so that you can continue work, watching Netflix, or playing games without interruption.

To assess the performance of the system using both software individually, we did some activities like we visited some websites, downloaded some files, applied some cases, and installed some applications on the devices.

The statistics state the Windows Defender vs Norton 2020 turned out to be a more resource-hungry antivirus.

Here’re the results:

Windows Defender Performance:


Windows Defender performance score update

Norton Performance:


Norton performance score update

Winner: Norton

Norton Anti Virus Logo

Windows or Symantec: Who Brings Better UI to the Table?

The experience that the PC users get while using the software matters a lot – it’s a huge deal. While it’s highly significant to make sure that you get the next-level security-related features packed with the antivirus, you cannot take UI too lightly.

This is because you will only be able to make the most out of the software if you understand its navigation without having to strain your eyes or brain.

Windows Defender’s UI:

The user interface (UI), on the behalf of Windows Defender vs Norton 2020, is simple and comes in light blue, grey, and white shades. As far as the menu location is concerned, you will see it sit on the left-hand side of the window which is a good thing. Therefore, it’s super easy for the user to get his/her hand to whatever he/she is trying to do.

windows defender user interface screen

Once you open the software, you will be welcomed with the comforting message – “Your device is being protected”. You can also view health report, and make sure if smart firewall protection is up to the mark or not. To enjoy more of it, jump to the “Family option” located at the bottom of the welcoming page.

Symantec Norton’s UI:

The UI of Norton is also simple, attractive, and intuitive. It’s done a major transformation in the design of the UI previously. Just like WD shows a comforting message on the welcoming screen, by the same token, Norton does the same. It displays “You Are Protected” when you open it.

norton user interface against windows desktop

Upon opening it, you will notice four tabs – “Security”, “Identity”, “Performance”, and “More Norton”. You will also be able to see the current status below each tab, “Protected”, for example.

Winner: Norton

Norton Anti Virus Logo

Windows Defender versus Norton: Which Software is Less Expensive?

An expensive antivirus could hurt you financially or become a cause of your loss in your income. With that in mind, your purpose should also be looking for an inexpensive antivirus suite while making up your mind.

Let’s reveal antivirus packages available by Norton:

Norton’s Pricing Model:

Norton Antivirus BasicLatest Price
Norton 360 StandardLatest Price
Norton 360 DeluxeLatest Price
Norton 360 with LifeLock SelectLatest Price

Unfortunately, we cannot spell out Windows Defender in this category as it’s a freeware and, therefore, doesn’t have any suite offering.

Winner: Can’t be declared

Windows Defender vs Norton: Final Conclusion

Norton, incontrovertibly, is way better than Windows Defender (formerly windows security) antivirus when it comes to unmatched features, real time protection from all online threats or cybercrimes, minimal impact on system performance, and intuitive and elegant user interface for Windows Defender vs Norton 2020.

Our recommendation: McAfee

From phishing scams to malware attacks, security threats grow increasingly by the day. Although the products we mentioned are very good, it cannot beat the likes of McAfee. With McAfee it has protection on all sorts of devices ranging from phones to even cars! It’s extensive product line-up has protected over 18.9 billion devices to this day. We are sure that you will come across a package that is perfect for you, to check out their line-up, click here!


1. Is Norton better than Windows Defender?

Yes, Norton is better than Windows Defender. Norton has been around for a long time and has a large user base. It also has a much better track record than Windows Defender. Windows Defender is not as reliable and often misses viruses that Norton catches. Additionally, Norton offers more features than Windows Defender, such as protection against online scams and phishing attempts. Overall, Norton is the better choice for protecting your computer.

2. Can Windows Defender remove malware?

Yes. If Microsoft's Windows Defender detects malware on your computer, it will automatically remove it. However, because Microsoft does not regularly update Defender's virus definitions, the most recent malware will be missed.

3. Do you still need antivirus for Windows 10?

Yes and no. The no refers to the fact that you are no longer required to seek out antivirus software. If you're running Windows 10 and keeping everything up to date, you already have a solid, free antivirus software tool built in that won't hog your system resources and will monitor things in the background.

4. Does Norton work well with Windows 10?

Norton will continue to work on Windows 10 as long as the most recent version is installed. To ensure that you are running the most recent version of Norton, visit the Norton Update Center. If your service provider provided you with Norton, see How to Install Norton from your service provider.

5. Can Norton and Windows Defender run together?

Yes, you can install Norton and Windows Defender on the same computer. However, we don't recommend running them both at the same time. Windows Defender is a good, basic antivirus program, but it doesn't offer the same level of protection as Norton. We recommend uninstalling Windows Defender and using Norton for full protection.

About Dusan Stanar

I'm the founder of VSS Monitoring. I have been both writing and working in technology in a number of roles for dozens of years and wanted to bring my experience online to make it publicly available. Visit https://www.vssmonitoring.com/about-us/ to read more about myself and the rest of the team.

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