Edge & Defender – Ready for Prime Time?

Do we still need third party browsers and free third-party antivirus software or are Edge and Windows Defender now good enough? It seems the consensus among a growing number of good judges is that Windows Defender and Edge Browser have improved so much over the past few years that third-party browsers and free antivirus software are fast losing their appeal. I happen to agree.

Microsoft Edge Browser – Now Chromium-Based

  • New Chromium-based Edge due to be rolled out via a Windows 10 update this month (January)

When Edge was first introduced to the public as part of the new Windows 10 operating system, I absolutely lambasted Microsoft for including a browser that was clearly underdeveloped and far from ready for mass use. It was clunky/awkward, no extensions, and had next to zero chance of competing with the likes of Chrome and Firefox. However, that situation has changed quite dramatically over the past few years as ongoing development has seen Edge finally catch up to somewhere near what it should be in the first place.

According to the well respected NetMarketShare, Edge still only commands a mere 5.65% of total market share…

… and therein lies the aforementioned problem. When, through a lack of proper development, a company rushes out a product that is simply not ready, that first impression tends to stick. I imagine many users would not have revisited the Edge browser following that early experience. Have you tried Edge lately?

If you haven’t, I urge you to do so. Edge has changed a lot. It is very fast and there are now a decent number of useful extensions available. Furthermore, with the rebuilt Chromium-based model being rolled out as part of a Windows 10 update this month, the built-in browser is only set to get even better. I am a long-time Firefox user but, when my Windows 10 is updated to include the new Chromium-based Edge, I am seriously considering switching over.

NOTE: Browser choices are, arguably, the most subjective among all software. A familiarity grows between the user and a particular browser and they are consequently reluctant to change. This is possibly the biggest challenge facing Microsoft and Edge right now.

Windows Defender – Good Enough?

You’ll probably remember Microsoft’s initial foray into the realm of antivirus software, known back then as Microsoft Security Essentials. MSE was not a good antivirus program, period. However, in much the same manner as Edge, the following years of further development has seen the current iteration (Windows Defender) evolve into a pretty decent antivirus program. In fact, the most recent official AV-Test results have shown that Windows Defender is at least as effective as the third-party alternatives and, in some cases, more effective.

Personally, I have no time for the previous big three free antivirus programs — Avast, Avira, and AVG — which are, in my opinion, merely bloated inducements for users to purchase the commercial editions.

There are still a couple of decent free antivirus programs available, of which I happen to favor Panda Free, mainly because of its cloud-based definitions, which makes it eminently suitable for the casual or not-so-experienced user. Overall though, I would say it’s difficult to go past Windows Defender these days.

What do you think– are Edge and Windows Defender ready for prime time?

18 thoughts on “Edge & Defender – Ready for Prime Time?”

  1. Interesting article as always Jim, especially now with one computer running Windows 10. Will definitely give Edge a try after the update. As I still use Windows 8.1 on other computers, Firefox preforms to my expectations. Had to ditch Waterfox as several sites would not recognise it.

    Now, Windows Defender for security, well, my preference has remained with KIS (Kaspersky Internet Suite) for many years now. I also incorporate other software to form multi-layered protection, and paid versions typically offer installation on 3 or more computers.

    It goes against my nature to trust just one company for everything, Mindblower!

    1. Hey MB,

      I was talking FREE antivirus mate. I believe there is still a place for commercial antivirus products, which do provide a higher level of security/protection. What I am saying is; if people are using one of the free AVs, they’d be just as well off going with the built-in Windows Defender, if not better off.

  2. Windows Defender or whatever it is called,
    works for me. You know it has to be good
    with all the “Security Intelligence Updates”
    I get. I use Edge, and it has improved,
    but my Brave browser, is what I use the most.
    I run Firefox on Linux, but I am
    Firefox free when it comes to Windows.

    1. I’m coming across more and more webpages that don’t render properly in Firefox, yet render fine in both Edge and Chrome.

      I’ve read a bit about the Brave browser, interesting concept. I might take a closer look, with a view to maybe covering it in an article.

      1. I also had issues with Firefox and Windows, works just fine with Linux. I am using Brave in Mint 19.3 for this post. I know it is all about the $$$$ but going online with Brave in Linux is almost ad free. With Edge I have to use ad blockers but Brave does the blocking in the background and will display all that has been blocked on their start page. Even blocks the “Google Get Chrome Pop Up”. If you want I can post a few Brave screenshots over in the forum. You should have heard my wife complaining when I trashed FF and put Brave on her PC. She loves it now though. LOL.

  3. 17jan20
    Dear Mr Hillier, I use the Epic browser and Win 10 Pro on a HP machine which I bought 3-4 years ago. Works fined–I don’t have time to dicky-donk around looking for something better. (I too am an Old Geezer, but nobody pays me to experiment–I stick with what works.)
    I’ve used Windows since 3.0, Hewlett-Packard since the Vectra
    days–always worked fine. Sure, there was a learning curve, but if I worked by the book, my work got done in good order. (I’m a journalist, so there always is work to do.)

  4. I’ve been using Firebox because of its Facebook container, but I am continually annoyed about the webpages that don’t play well in that box. I seldom use Facebook these days, but not ready to close it out. What about that? Does Facebook have open hunting in Edge?

      1. That’s a real shame, that other browsers are not isolating Facebook, one of the worst privacy pirates around. Ghostery? Maybe. At a glance it looks pricey! Maybe I’ll just stick with Firefox the few times a week I check Facebook and use Edge for the rest, at least until Facebook’s nose is pryed out of the rest of the web. Anyway, thanks for the tip about Ghostery.

        I’m also eager to hear your assessment of Brave. I have it installed, but haven’t taken time to learn it.

        Glad you enjoy my handle. I plunged into desktop computing in 1982, almost forty years ago, on a souped up Apple 2+, and felt like I’d just sprouted wings. We bought the computer for our son to teach himself programming languages, and I had the word processor I’d dreamed of, which could do so much more. Nothing since, not even smart phones have been as exciting.

        1. Hi GC. Ghostery for Firefox as an addon is FREE. Yes they may want you to upgrade, but I’ve been using the free version and loving it for many years. Might also consider Malwarebytes Browser Guard addon. This little gem does wonders. Suggest reading the information first to truly appreciate what it does, Mindblower!

  5. I have one problem with Windows Defender. Recently my anti-virus was changed to Windows Defender, and shortly thereafter there was a very noticeable slowdown in file copy speeds. For example, copying a large folder on an SSD would take tens of seconds. Upon pausing Windows Defender and performing the same copy, the time dropped to a few milliseconds, literally a blink of the eye. I now use Kaspersky Security Cloud Free with its option to suspend scanning during a simple copying operation with TeraCopy.

    1. Hey Bill,

      Have never experienced nor heard of that issue before. Perhaps there were remnants of a previous AV left over after uninstillation which were causing a conflict.

  6. I use Google Chrome and I think Edge is the worst browser on the internet.Their start page has National Enquirer type stories on them and I have picked up viruses from clicking on them which is why I use Bit Defender as my virus protection. After about 100 updates and still counting they manage to STILL screw up something on my PC in my folders or something else. Sorry. Windows Edge will never be my browser. 🙂

    1. Hey Stan

      As with most browsers, Edge’s Start page can easily be changed to any page of the user’s choosing. As can the default search engine. In fact, Edge is highly customizable. I guess you just have to know how. Maybe a good topic for a future article. 🙂

      1. Hey, You’r right there, Jim. I guess I never bothered to try that as my first impression was a total turnoff. If I knew how to do that I still don’t know if I would though. I do love Google Chrome even though they have tried to get me to use Edge. But in all fairness it’s Windows 10 that screws up my computer all the time with their updates. I wish they would leave the damn thing alone sometimes, ya know? They never seem to make anything better but the opposite, really. I have found myself saying, no wonder I got Windows 10 for free more than once. 🙂

        1. I’m hearing you Stan. MS did away with its own pre-release checking department and decided to rely on feedback from the “Insider” program instead. Has turned out to be not such a good idea.

    1. Ah, thanks to both you and Mindblower for the clarification. The Ghostery website is sadly lacking in product description and rationale. As I clicked around, “only $14 per month” caught my eye. No way! So, I’ve now installed it in both Firefox and Edge. I’m surprised it hasn’t come across my radar sooner.

      I have noticed an increasing number of sites insisting on unplugging adblockers before they display. I get that. I don’t mind ads, just trackers. We’ll see how this works.

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