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?

About the Author

Jim Hillier

Jim is the resident freeware aficionado at DCT. A computer veteran with 30+ years experience who first started writing about computers and tech back in the days when freeware was actually free. His first computer was a TRS-80 in the 1980s, he progressed through the Commodore series of computers before moving to PCs in the 1990s. Now retired (aka an old geezer), Jim retains his passion for all things tech and still enjoys building and repairing computers for a select clientele... as well as writing for DCT, of course.


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