Difference Between McAfee and Windows Defender

Everything is connected to the internet now, which has made our life very easy. But due to this, our computer devices are open to many threats like viruses, malware, spyware, etc.

And to safeguard ourselves from these threats, we need to use Antiviruses. McAfee and Windows defender are two different antiviruses that we can use on our computer devices.

McAfee vs Windows Defender

The main difference between McAfee and Windows Defender is that McAfee is a paid computer protection software for all kinds of devices like windows, macOS, etc. On the other hand, Windows Defender is only for the Windows operating system, and it comes pre-installed in the system.

McAfee vs Windows Defender

McAfee, a computer antivirus software, is named after its founder John McAfee. It is available for Windows, Mac Os, Linux, etc., as a paid software monthly or yearly.

It was founded in the late ’90s, and now it is part of the Intel security division after Intel bought it in 2011.

Windows Defender now changed into Microsoft Defender after may 2020 update. It was launched in October 2006.

It was launched as spyware for Windows Vista and Windows 7 but later converted into antivirus software for windows 8 and above. It is also available for free to download for other versions of windows.

Comparison Table Between McAfee and Windows Defender

Parameters of ComparisonMcAfeeWindows Defender
Supporting OSIt supports almost all computers, like windows, Mac OS, Linux.It is only for Microsoft windows.
Availability It is available under a paid subscription.It is completely free.
Extra ServicesIt provides phone support, e-mail support, live help, etc.It does not have such support.
FunctionProtection against viruses, malware, and many other malicious programs.It provides firewall protection.
Effect on SystemMcAfee uses less memory of the system.Windows Defender is inbuilt software and has more impact on system software.

What is McAfee?

McAfee is an antivirus program created by John McAfee in 1987. At present, it is owned by Intel since 2011.

This security software is supported in most computers, whether Windows, Mac OS, or Linux. It protects the system from various threats like viruses, malware, spyware, and other malicious programs.

McAfee has powerful tools that protect our computer devices from many hazards. It has two types of services for the user:

‘ McAfee Total Protection and the other one is ‘McAfee LiveSafe‘. The user has to option to choose one of the paid options for their device.

McAfee Total Protection is an antivirus. It has all the features that any user can think of.

It has a network protection system that can protect your wifi, a file shredding utility to delete sensitive files, a quick clean utility to clean junk files, a password manager to safely save your passwords for different websites, and many other features.

McAfee LiveSafe is another sibling of McAfee Total Protection. It has all features of the first one, and it also includes 1 GB of secure cloud storage.

Overall, with these features and options, McAfee is the best premium antivirus for both Windows and Mac OS.

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What is Windows Defender?

Windows Defender is a computer protection software developed by Microsoft Windows. It was released in 2006.

It is an inbuilt software in windows computers that protect malware and acts as an antivirus. It is available for free for windows computers.

It is pre-installed in a windows computer and gets activated automatically if there isn’t any other antivirus software on the computer.

The user does not have to do anything or not even have to pay for it, and it does work which makes it a good alternative to premium paid antiviruses.

It has many handy features as a free antivirus. It has timely scans for malware. Its live firewall protects you from hackers trying to access your network.

It has many other features like blocking malicious websites and keeping an eye on downloads for malware, and a parental control feature. However, these browser-based features are only available for its Edge browser, which makes these features useless.

It is now known as Microsoft Defender. It has very good features as the free software but it doesn’t have any upgrade options if a user is ready to pay, which leaves the user with only one option that is to go for other options.

Main Differences Between McAfee and Windows Defender

  1. McAfee is owned by Intel as Intel bought it in 2011. On the other hand, Windows Defender is developed and owned by Microsoft Windows.
  2. McAfee is a subscription-based premium antivirus software for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux, whereas Windows Defender is free antivirus software for Windows computers.
  3. As McAfee is a paid software, it has a load of features for its users, but Windows Defender has some basic important features as antivirus software.
  4. McAfee has less impact on the computer system as it uses less memory, less resource usage, etc. In contrast to that, Windows Defender uses more memory and resources that impact the system.
  5. McAfee is good for malware protection, network protection, password protection, etc., whereas Windows Defender is best known for its firewall protection.


With the emerging threat of malware, virus, etc., an antivirus works great for protecting computer devices. McAfee and Windows Defender being completely different from each other, have many things to offer their users.

The first one is loaded with many tools, whereas the latter is a free basic antivirus.

McAfee is complete antivirus. If a user has a serious threat and ready to pay to use premium features, in this case, McAfee is a good option.

On the other hand, Windows Defender is a basic antivirus. If a user uses a windows computer and is satisfied with some basic protection, then Windows Defender is the best option as free antivirus.


  1. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/6030154/
  2. https://www.diva-portal.org/smash/record.jsf?pid=diva2:1211982

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