Subscriber and reader Harold wrote about his experiences with the newly renamed Windows Defender (beta 2, the program formerly known as Microsoft Antispyware):
I recently downloaded WD and tried using it. It said that my
definitions were 22 days old. I tried several things but could never
get it to update the definition file. I also wasn’t real pleased with
what you were told or shown by the software. I gave up after going to
Microsoft and trying different things to get it to update. I deleted
it and am using counterspy.
Thanks for the comments, Harold. I’m not surprised to hear that others are having irritations (difficulties, in your case) with Windows Defender and turning to CounterSpy.
I imagine that I will continue to recommend Windows Defender for those people who are unwilling to pay for an anti-spyware/anti-adware program, but my choice and my recommendation continues to be CounterSpy.
Subscriber, reader and friend Sam Boggs wrote me that he, also, was having problems with Windows Defender:
I have two security issues. But I think I will send them as two separate e-mails since they are quite different. One issue relates to downloading Windows Defender; the other to dealing with Symantec antivirus renewal, which I’ll send in a separate e-mail.
I’ll start with the new Microsoft Windows Defender (Beta 2), which you had mentioned in your newsletter. The installation is a bit tricky. In fact, it hasn’t worked for me. Unlike most downloads which are one .exe file to download and then launch, this requires several steps. First is the Verification to assure MS I have an official version of Windows. That went ok.
Next is a small program I downloaded and launched; I don’t remember the name. I assume it went well; there was no feedback about installation success or failure.
Next I had to choose between two version to download – windowsdefender.msi or windowsdefenderx64.msi, so I downloaded both. The x64 version balked (64 bit?), so I assume that meant the other one is what I needed. I launched windowsdefender.msi and checked the “Install definitions update only” selection.
I chose Complete download. Next, the “Installing Windows Defender” status box appeared, but the status bar never started. I tried three times. The first time I bailed out after one hour with no sign of activity. Then I let it run 25 hours, again with no appearance in the status bar. Then I bailed.
Next I tried deleting the .exe files and ran a new download. This time it appeared to remember the previous Verification and the installation of the small program. I launched the windowsdefender.msi executable file. Again, the status bar showed no progress after several hours.
Although I accomplished nothing productive, at least it didn’t remove the original Microsoft AntiSpyware (Giant) program.
Any suggestions? Is this software worth the hassle? Thanks.
Sam had a couple of problems here. First, it appears he forgot what he was trying to do. He wanted to upgrade to Windows Defender, the new version of Microsoft Antispyware. But, he got an option to “install definitions update only” and he selected that.
Based upon his experience, it appears that Microsoft Defender beta2 does not bother to check to make sure that it was actually installed — and, of course, it wasn’t installed yet — so it just “sat there.”
The “small program” that downloaded and ran was, I think, part of the Windows validation process that makes sure that you have a legitimate copy of Windows. I know that downloading and running a validator program is a step in the Windows validation process.
If you are running a 64-bit processor and the new 64-bit version of Windows XP Professional for 64-bit processors, you should be well aware of that. If you are not, don’t bother with the x64 version of anything. Either it won’t install (which is a good thing) or it will (which may cause you grief).
I suggested to Sam that he use Add/Remove Programs to delete Microsoft Antispyware, reboot, and then install Windows Defender if he wants to use it.
Since his last question opened the door with “Is this software worth the hassle?”, my answer was:
Get Counterspy. Free 30 day trial. As you know, I recommend it over Microsoft AntiSpyware / Windows Defender. But, I recommend Windows Defender over not having any always-running antispyware/antiadware.