Does Windows 11 need antivirus?

Windows 11 comes with an in-built antivirus engine of Microsoft. Coupled with the Windows Defender firewall, protection against external threats is a hallmark of the modern operating system of Windows 11. These in-built antivirus engine and the Windows defender firewall solutions are appropriate to offer you a decent level of protection against virus, malware and remote attacks.

So, technically speaking, you may not need to buy another antivirus solution for your Windows 11 computer. The in-built Microsoft antivirus is continuously updated by Microsoft in terms of virus definitions, and external threats. You could configure the antivirus engine of Microsoft to perform quick scans or the full system scans as well.

However, in our experience, many people still like to enroll for a subscription to a pro version antivirus engine. You could choose to deploy a specialist antivirus solution or a total security solution that would offer protection against viruses, malware, and network attacks. Microsoft’s inbuilt antivirus engine and the Microsoft Defender firewall do a pretty decent job in handling threats. But, having a pro version of the antivirus engine ensures that your product is always updated and covers the most recent threats. The turnaround time between the detection of new threat and its resolution patch is what matters.

Specialist antivirus solutions work in ensuring quicker updates against newest threats that could arise from virus, malware or remotely hosted trojans. Plus, the cost of antivirus and firewall editions of most products is significantly low. It makes sense to go in for specialized software for antivirus on a Windows 11 based computer. It may be pertinent to mention that Microsoft is according utmost significance to the security bouquet. It is significantly more focused on the antivirus and firewall solutions to improve a user’s system level security.

How can I manage Microsoft’s antivirus on Windows 11?

Microsoft’s in-built antivirus for the Windows 11 computer can be managed through the control panel.

Click on the Control Panel app. You could search for the ‘Control Panel’ app in the search box. In the control panel, click on ‘System’.

From the ‘System’ applet, click on the ‘Privacy & Security’. This will bring up a host of options to manage security and privacy on your Windows 11 computer.

We need to click on the first option under ‘Privacy & Security’. This option is for the ‘Window Security’. Upon clicking ‘Windows Security’, you will see a screen similar to the one posted below. Choose ‘Virus & threat protection’ to bring up the protection options for antivirus and firewall.

Clicking on the ‘Virus & threat protection’ gets you to the screen posted below. It lays out a couple of options for you. First, you can see the status of threats found by the Microsoft antivirus and the Microsoft Defender firewall. The ‘Current threats’ block gives you a brief summary.

However, we are more interested in bringing up the scan options of the Windows 11 antivirus option. So, we click on the ‘Scan options’. Clicking on the scan options will take you to the screen posted below:

Do pay close attention to the default option. It is for the ‘Quick Scan’. We are, however, keen on running periodic scans. Especially, the ‘full scans’ and the Microsoft defender offline scan. The ‘Quick Scan’ does perform decently in offering basic protection. The ‘Full Scan’ needs to be performed at a pre-determined schedule. I do it once a month.

The Microsoft Defender Offline scan will download an offline tool to scan the computer against known virus, malware and other external threats including the trojans. This is a more robust method to scan and clean any computer against the known external threats. Please do allow yourself time to perform a Microsoft Defender full offline scan once in a month or once in a couple of months.

At any point of time, if you believe or have reasons to believe that your Windows 11 computer may have been compromised by an external threat, perform a Windows 11 Microsoft Defender offline scan. That should give you a clean pointer in terms of your system’s vulnerability and any external threat on the computer.

How can I deploy a third party antivirus on a Windows 11 computer?

You may choose to install a third party developed antivirus or ‘Total internal security’ products to improve security on your Windows 11 computer. Managing the antivirus solution is straightforward. In normal situations, you will get an installation media that contains the antivirus software of the third party software provider like Symantec, Avast or Bitdefender.

Inserting the installation media through the DVD drive or the USB drive should help you setup the antivirus for the Microsoft Windows 11. You may need to customize the options of quick scan, complete scan or periodic scans at a pre-determined interval of time.


Windows 11 comes with a decent and robust antivirus and firewall solution. For most users, the protection offered by the Microsoft antivirus engine and the Microsoft Defender firewall are adequate. You may still choose to buy a speailized antivirus engine. This may also be on account of specific compliance requirements for your business. That is perfectly fine because you will have access to the latest threat mitigation software.

However, your system’s protection would depend upon how well you scan your computer against the known threats. We strongly suggest performing full scans once in a while to ensure that your computer is protected at all times. Offline scans through the Microsoft Defender offline scan tool should be performed periodically.

You may also like to read the related Windows 11 content here:

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Rajesh Dhawan

Rajesh Dhawan is a technology professional who loves to blog about smart wearables, Cloud computing and Microsoft technologies. He loves to break complex problems into manageable chunks of meaningful information.